Practices to Boost Student Retention in Colleges.

Practices to Boost Student Retention in Colleges.


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 on the 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 from 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 that miss multiple consecutive classes and resolve any issues they may be facing.


Allow Easy Access to Advisors
According to a paper published by Pennsylvania’s Mansfield University on student retention and engagement, it’s important for new students 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 engagement activities add value to a student’s college experience and keep them motivated. This is why it’s crucial for colleges to hold interactive and meaningful programs for student retention. By participating in these activities and programs they 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.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of data science and analytics in student retention? Get in touch with us!

Virtue Analytics offers extensive college enrollment management & student retention solutions that systematically analyzes enrollment markers to optimize recruitments. Our team of highly qualified data scientists, engineers, academicians, and management consultants work together to deliver solutions tailored to the needs of each institution.

To request a demo of the system, contact us at 1 (612) 401-5431. For further information or inquiries, you can also send an email to