The Jed Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and The Jordan Porco Foundation released the results of a national “First-Year College Experience” survey, exploring the challenges associated with young adults’ transition from high school to college.

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The results reveal the importance of being prepared for the emotional challenges of transitioning out of high school, and the significant implications to parents, educators and students.

Among the most critical findings, the Harris Poll of 1,502 U.S. first-year college students uncovered that:

  • Emotional preparedness – defined by the organizations as the ability to take care of oneself, adapt to new environments, control negative emotions and/or behavior and build positive relationships – is a major factor to students’ success during their first year of college.

Students who said they felt less emotionally prepared for college than their peers were more likely to:

  • Have a lower grade point average (GPA) (on average, 3.1 vs 3.4)
  • Rate their overall college experience as “terrible/poor” (22% vs 5%)*

A majority of students (60%) wish they had gotten more help with emotional preparation for college. Certain groups of students were more likely to agree with this statement than their counterparts. Those:

  • With a lower GPA (66% vs 55% higher GPA)
  • Who regularly consumed drugs or alcohol (65% vs 58% who did not)
  • Who considered transferring or transferred to a different school (70% vs 56% who did not)
  • Who took a leave of absence after the first term (77% vs 58% who did not)**
  • Who rated their overall college experience as “terrible/poor” vs “fair” or “excellent/good” (85% vs 68% & 51%)

To learn more, you can

Download the full report here

Download the data tables

Download the infographic here

*compared to students who said they felt more emotionally prepared for college than their peers

**small base (n<100) – results should be interpreted as directional only


The Jed Foundation and the Steve Fund have released the results of a national “First-Year College Experience” survey, exploring the challenges associated with young adults’ transition from high school to college for students of color. This information includes newly analyzed demographics data from a 2015 national survey conducted by JED, Partnership for Drug Free Kids and The Jordan Porco Foundation.

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