So, what exactly is the definition of retention rate? Not that the average Rollins student would not know, but people seem to have various misconceptions of the term. Ultimately, and quite simply, college retention rates are the result of the overall student body’s interest in what is being offered by the college. The “attractiveness” of a college is described by the Online Education Database as “the administration’s competence, the quality of its teaching staff, the quality of the curriculum, the willingness of its students, and the perceived value of what is being taught.”
The numerical statistics defining a retention rate is the percentage of first-time bachelor’s or equivalent degree seeking undergraduates from their first fall who enroll in the same institution their following fall.
Recent statistics from greatcollegeadvice.com reveal that “College retention rates from first to second year stand at 65.7%. That means 34.3% of college freshmen do not return.” Shocking, I know.
So who is to blame for this negative numbers game? It has been talked about around town that it is the fault of the high school educational con sulters. Your guidance counselors are to be persecuted for the jaw-dropping statistics occurring since 2006 in the United States. Uninformed decisions in part made by unaware high school students, and counselors who do not have to the time to make their students aware, are continuing to contribute to the dropping retention rates nationally.
Asking more reflective questions to students about their interests, work ethic, and overall lifestyle choices can contribute to better college choices, less dropouts, and a rise in the retention rates. The following is a description of the different types of students out there likely to leave a particular college:
There is the student that simply drops out of the college experience due to the severity of college. This student often simply thought college would be a ride in the park, full of beer pong and dorm parties without the work contribution required. Students could feel this way for a number of reasons, including anything from the pressure of one hundred pages of reading comprehension each night to the reality that some first-year students just are not or do not feel prepared enough for college, be that socially or academically.
The next type of student to leave an educational institution would be the transfer. Often times these students come to the realization that their original college choice did not turn out as planned. They grow to become unhappy with aspects like the academics offered or the culture of the school, and therefore wish to continue their higher education elsewhere.
One type of students acts as a hybrid of the two types mentioned, whereby a student drops out for a while to earn money before re-entering the academic arena. Many current students balance the school life with a work life, but inevitably some students are forced by circumstance to put finances over classes, especially with the increasing expense of higher education.
While this issue is complex and the explanation for this drop in retention rates is creating some controversy among educators and statisticians, greatcollegeadvice.com realizes that “it does have a very concrete impact on individual students as they map out their educational trajectory.”
To the Class of 2014: we hope that you feel at home and welcome to Rollins! And, to the transfer students: we welcome you too and hope that you find a home here at Rollins.