While an increasing number of students are now enrolling in colleges, not all of them complete their education. Student retention rates in multiple colleges across the United States are facing a serious decline, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which launched its sixth annual report on college completion rates in the US in 2017.
The report states that only an estimated 45% of college students enrolled in 2011 proceeded to complete their education at the same institution. Nearly 31% dropped out completely, while the remaining 24% either transferred to a different college or are still enrolled but not attending.
The importance of student retention strategies for colleges is highly evident in the light of these statistics. Here are some practices that college administrations can follow to boost student retention.
Implement an Attendance Policy
As the social and academic environment of college is much different than that of high school, college freshmen often struggle to adapt and develop a daily or weekly routine. Consequently, they start falling behind in classes and eventually give up. Colleges can combat freshmen absenteeism and minimize early drop-outs by implementing a mandatory attendance policy. The college’s retention team can reach out to students who miss multiple consecutive classes to resolve any issues that they may be facing.
Allow Easy Access to Advisors
According to a paper published by Pennsylvania’s Mansfield University on student retention and engagement, new students need to connect to their advisors as soon as possible.
Having quick and easy access to advisors helps freshmen understand the purpose of their academic program, and plan productively. Encourage advisors to hold semi-regular advisory sessions for students, either individually or in small groups, to keep a track of problems faced by them.
Conduct Student Engagement Activities
Whether it’s participating in a chess club or a sports program, on-campus student engagement activities add value to a student’s college experience and keep them motivated.
This is why colleges must hold interactive and meaningful programs for student retention. By participating in these activities and programs, students feel more connected to the community which lowers the chances of dropping out.
Identify Retention Patterns with Technological Tools
An increasingly large number of colleges are currently turning to predictive analytics and machine learning-based tools to identify patterns of student retention, which are then used to boost retention rates. Through these tools, enrollment managers can learn the key factors contributing to the decline in retention rates. This allows them to build better enrollment and retention strategies for students.
You can follow the same suit and boost student retention in your college by consulting Virtue Analytics.
We provide reliable and comprehensive enrollment management services to higher education institutions. Designed with the expertise of professionals from data science, data engineering, and management, our student recruitment solutions are capable of boosting the rate of retention in colleges and increasing revenue.