Exploratory Studies

Exploratory Studies (formally “Undeclared”) students comprise roughly 20% of CSU’s new, main campus students every fall term. A May 2017 report offers an updated picture (from the 2011 report) on first-time, full-time (FTFT) undeclared students’ demographic characteristics, persistence rates, and graduation rates.

For cohorts FA08-FA15, the majority (56%) of undeclared students have no stated academic interest, though the relative proportion of Undeclared – Engineering Interest students steadily grew between the FA08 and FA15 cohorts. Undeclared students are more likely to be male, first generation, Pell, and racially minoritized compared to declared students. They also graduate at a rate that is 4 to 5 PP lower than declared students; however, undeclared students persist and graduate at rates that are like or slightly higher than declared students once demographic and academic attributes are held constant.

A September 2022 report offers an in depth look at how Exploratory Studies students who take the IU 172 seminar compare to their peers who do not participate. The report finds that participation in IU 172 is positively correlated with several student success outcomes including higher end-of-term (EOT) cumulative GPA, lower EOT probation rates, and higher 2nd fall persistence rates. However, these relationships are strongest among student populations traditionally underrepresented in higher education like racially minoritized, first generation, Pell, and students recommended for support (SRS).