What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

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What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Joyce Vining MorganFounder and college counselorEducational Transitions

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rates tell you how may students came back to the college after a year there. Some may transfer, seeking a different environment or different opportunities; some may flunk out – because they were poorly prepared, or because they forgot that college is about academics; some will need to withdraw for financial reasons. The more students who have succeeded and want to stay in the same college, the stronger your reason for seeing the institution as serving its students well.

Joyce Vining MorganFounder and college counselorEducational Transitions

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rates tell you how may students came back to the college after a year there. Some may transfer, seeking a different environment or different opportunities; some may flunk out – because they were poorly prepared, or because they forgot that college is about academics; some will need to withdraw for financial reasons. The more students who have succeeded and want to stay in the same college, the stronger your reason for seeing the institution as serving its students well.

Zahir RobbCollege CounselorThe Right Fit College

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates refer to the number of returning students to the college/university after their freshman year. This number can tell you a few things: 1. How did first year students do during their first year? Did they struggle academically or socially and leave school., 2. What sort of support systems are in place for freshman students. Check out a school’s support system for incoming freshman. Do they provide academic counselors? Shared learning communities? Freshman seminars? All of these programs can support a student during the transition from high school to college.

Amanda Bate

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

A freshman retention rate indicates the number of students that remain at their college from freshman to sophomore year. If a school has a low retention rate, it could be an indicator of a number of factors from insufficient financial aid funds to academic issues. You need to investigate why a school may be having those concerns before you decide to commit.

Cindy NassiCollege Advisor and School Counselor

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates indicate the amount of freshmen that come back for sophomore year at any given college/university. These retention rates are important because if the rate is low it indicates that freshman are unsatisfied or not enjoying their time and they do not come back for their sophomore year. There are many different reasons why this may happen but it gives a student looking at various schools an idea how their freshmen feel. Some students may not come back for other reasons such as family, grades and or money.

Andrew BelascoCEOCollege Transitions LLC

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates indicate the percentage of freshman (at a particular college) who return to their original institution (presumably) as a sophomore in the following fall. Traditionally, freshman retention rates have been used as proxies for graduation rates and/or the level of student satisfaction at a particular institution. I encourage students to compare the freshman retention rates of similarly selective schools, but I caution them against interpreting retention as a strict measure of college performance. Often, retention rates have more to do with student characteristics than a college’s offerings. For example, a highly selective liberal arts college like Amherst will always have a higher retention rate than a large public university like Michigan State, simply because the latter is charged with serving a broader range of students with a wider range of abilities. Ultimately, it is important to realize that freshman retention rates, like any college measure, are a useful yet imperfect measure of institutional quality.

Scott WhiteDirector of GuidanceMontclair High School

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention and graduation rates are important, but should be taken in context. Public colleges always have lower rates due to their mission. They have more students who drop out for economic reasons. But among comparable schools, a higher retention and graduation rate is a good sign.

Betsy MorganFounderCollege Matters LLC

Come Back!

The retention rate is the number of students who return for their sophomore year. It can be a good indication of how happy students are, and how well the college supports students who are having trouble academically, and otherwise. Of course, grade inflation can falsely inflate this statistic. On the other hand, a college which enrolls many students who rely on financial aid and may need to take a break in order to earn additional funds may have a lower retention rate.

David HamiltonDirector of College AdvisingSt. Mary’s Ryken High School

THESE numbers tell a very good story

Retention rates are basically the percentage of freshmen students who return to the same institution for their sophomore year. I’ve seen the national average and it is around 77% which some may think as pretty solid. I look at it and see that 1 in 4 are not finding their current school to be their best fit and decide to move on. There are many reasons why students transfer or stop out, but the fact remains that the initial college search needs to be taken seriously. Retention rates correlate highly with the quality of the entering student body. Great academic numbers, great retention rates while lower grades and test scores may yield weaker than hoped for returns. In my eyes, what really matters is what a school does in terms of retention, persistence and graduation. Try to find an institution’s anticipated AND actual graduation rates (4, 5 or 6-year). I consider a college to be value-added when the actual rates are 10% points higher than the anticipated rate. Safe to say that those schools are doing something great to help their kids succeed and graduate.

James GoeckerVice President for Enrollment ManagementRose Hulman Institute of Technology

It depends…

Freshman retention rates can provide a window into a number of aspects of a university or college. A low retention rate could indicate a number of issues. Perhaps the recruitment and admission process creates a poor match between student and college. It could mean an environment that is not supportive of student success. It could even mean that the institution is in financial stress and cutting instructors, classes, equipment, etc. Regardless, look deeper than a statistic. Many schools have as their mission to reach out to non-traditional students or first generation students. Given their life challenges, these students find it more difficult to pursue higher education in a traditional manner. Stopping and starting numerous times may lead to a degree, but create a statistic that is not reflective of the institution’s success in fulfilling its mission.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

Coming Back for More

The freshman retention rate refers to the number of freshmen in a college or university who return for their sophomore year. This is an important number because it tells prospective students how many freshmen liked their experience enough to return to that same school as sophomores. Colleges with low freshman retention rates may be experiencing high rates of drop outs and transfer students, so it is very important to make sure you find out the freshmen retention rates of the colleges that interest you! An easy way to find out the freshmen retention rates (and 4, 5 and 6 year graduation rates) of any college, just go to www.collegeresults.org. They have that information for almost every school in the U.S.

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

Retention Rates Can Demonstrate Student Satisfaction

Last Saturday, a senior told me that he plans to ask about retention rate during his college interview. His reasoning was simple, “If people like it, they’ll go back the next year.” A college’s retention rate has long been used to quantify student satisfaction. But, what is a good retention rate? The national average freshman retention rate is 75%, about a “C” on a high school grading scale. Using the same scale, a freshman retention rate of 90% is in the “A” range. If retention rate is an important factor in your search, you have a lot of great options. Nearly 150 esteemed institutions boast an average three year retention rate over 90%. Visit collegeguidancecoach.com and check out a couple of my “Top 15” retention rate lists created using the publicly available data at IPEDS. If you’d like to view a complete copy of my Retention Rate Honor Roll (sortable spreadsheet of all colleges and universities with retention rate averages above 90%) email [email protected]

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

Freshman Retention Rates

The Freshman Retention Rate is the percentage of students that return to the college/university for the second/Sophomore year. I see a high retention rate as a sign that something is being done right – that students are satisfied, both academically and socially, and want to continue their studies in that environment. What could be more important?

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

Freshman Retention Rates

The Freshman Retention Rate is the percentage of students that return to the college/university for the Sophomore (second) year. I see a high retention rate as a sign that something is being done right – that students are satisfied, both academically and socially, and want to continue their studies in that environment. What could be more important?

Mollie ReznickAssociate DirectorThe College Connection

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates are, quite simply, the percentage of students who continue on to their sophomore year at the college at which they began. This figure can be useful when assessing schools because there is an undeniable correlation between this figure and the overall happiness of students on campus. If a school has a retention rate of higher than 90%, it’s likely that most freshman are pleased with their experience on campus. I would probably not recommend a school to my students that had a rate lower than 75%, because it would make me wonder why so many students are leaving.

Erin AveryCertified Educational PlannerAvery Educational Resources, LLC

Attrition

If a college is not retaining its students, this can reflect the failure of the student OR the failure of the institution. Much attrition in the first year can communicate a culture that shakes down or “hazes” its students. The “look to your left and look to your right…next year, two of you won’t be here” is not a culture to be glorified, as evidenced by the recent suicides at a Boston area university this fall. 

Lisa HatchIndependent College CounselorCollege Primers

Why A School’s Retention Rate is Worth Looking Into

As you continue to research and evaluate potential schools, one thing you may want to consider in addition to factors like cost and academic reputation is a school’s freshman retention rate. In short, the freshman retention rate is the percentage of first-time undergrads that return for their sophomore year. This percentage is often associated with the overall level of student satisfaction, although there are numerous additional factors at work below the surface. Studies indicate that if a college is going to lose students, this most likely occurs between freshman and sophomore year. Studies also suggest that, in general, the more selective an institution, the higher the freshman retention rate. Additional factors that influence retention rates include the affordability of the school, how well a student’s high school prepared them for the rigors of college, and how much the school lived up to the promises made in glossy brochures and through campus tours. Often, families underestimate the true costs of attending certain schools, and the bills for freshman year expenses offer a serious wake-up call. Another common scenario is that a student doesn’t realize how little their high school prepared them for college-level coursework until they find themselves struggling and pulling less-than-stellar first-year marks. Additionally, most schools have marketing departments whose sole purpose is to “glamorize” their establishments and paint them in the most favorable light possible. At times, students attend based on what they’ve seen and read, and then dip out when they determine that reality doesn’t always live up to expectation. Low freshman retention rates can also indicate a commuter school, or a school transitioning from commuter to residential. Of course, there are numerous other factors that affect the freshman retention rate, such as illness, injury, family crises, and so on, but the majority of students who don’t return make their decision based on financial constraints, a lack of preparedness, or the failure of an institution to live up to their expectations.

Ellen [email protected]OwnerEllen Richards Admissions Consulting

College bound students: read this before you decide where to attend college

Before you send off your May 1 postmarked letter to the college of your choice, know this: schools have vastly different rates of success with students. For example, among the Ivies, Harvard actually graduates the most students. What does this mean for students? The highest overall retention rates rank over 95%, while some dip as low as under 10%. Many factors contribute to an individual’s decision to remain in college, including: economic, personal, academic, social and environmental. In fact, retention rates of groups the fall within the range of the overall retention rate shows the success rates of specifics groups of students – for example Native Americans. Therefore, not only should one examine the overall retention rates, but the groups within the schema. Emile Durkeheim – a French sociologist – found that alientation leads one to commit suicide. In other words, the more one feels integrated within a larger group – in this case a college campus – the more likely one is to remain there and achieve success. Therefore, the manner in which a student interacts with an institution and the degree to which she feels accepted causes her to develop a set of attitudes about herself and herself in relation to the college. The more validation a student feels, the more likely she will remain in college. Therefore, the more a college validates, supports and believes in student success, the more likely students will stay. And so I ask all college candidates and their families: isn’t it important that after all your painstaking work to get to this place (not to mention the past and future financial investment) you look at what colleges actually believe in the students rather than attend one that offers a (presumably) mediocre education and lack of financial resources or neglects minority groups? It’s time to look beyond the view books and the facade and examine the inner working of an institution. Where do you want to live and interact for the next four years?

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

Freshman Retention Rates

Retention rates refer to the number of students who return for a second year of school. If the rate is high, that is an indicator of satisfaction. If the rate is low, it represents the number of students who are not returning is large. Students may have chosen the school for it’s low tuition rate, to save $$ for future semesters elsewhere. Others may have realized they don’t connect with the other students. Some folks will discover that everyone leaves on the weekend and they don’t/can’t. Or maybe you’ve changed your major and this school no longer has the courses you need to pursue your degree. There can be any number of reasons for the freshman retention rate and it is definitely a number worth factoring in to your application equation.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

it is one of the key facts for parents to consider

community colleges normally showed the lowest rates of rentention and highly selective colleges normally produced the highest retention rates. when students decided not to return for the second year, it will directly linked to graduation rate which is also the key fact for consider as part of college selection process.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

If you want to go to a college where the students are happy with their school, then one good signal are these retention rates. The freshman retention rate is simply the percentage of freshman that return to campus sophomore year. The rate matters because it is an indication of the student satisfaction with the school. The higher the rate, the greater success the school has had with its students.

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

Retention rates

Freshman retention rate refers to the percentage of freshmen who return for their sophomore year. If 85% of freshman of X College return for their sophomore year, that is a good sign that the students were happy academically and socially. If a college has a 50% retention rate, you need to discover why that is. 50% is not an encouraging statistic. You usually find lower retention and graduation rates in huge public universities where some students may get lost in the crowd and some students may be marginal admits. “Flagship” state universities (like UT Austin in Texas or Ohio State University in Ohio) have higher retention rates because their students are very high achieving and therefore want to continue their education.

Jill KaratkewiczCounselorEast Hampton High School

Are Students Satisfied?

Freshman retention rates measure the percentage of freshman students who return to the university for their sophomore year. It is important to look for a college with a high retention rate, as it generally indicates that the students who attend that college are satisfied with their experience and choose to return instead of transferring to another university. If you are considering a college with a low retention rate, it would be wise to question WHY those students are leaving after their freshman year. Is the college taking any steps to improve their retention rate? How?

Jill KaratkewiczCounselorEast Hampton High School

Are Students Satisfied?

Freshman retention rates measure the percentage of freshman students who return to the university for their sophomore year. It is important to look for a college with a high retention rate, as it generally indicates that the students who attend that college are satisfied with their experience and choose to return instead of transferring to another university. If you are considering a college with a low retention rate, it would be wise to question WHY those students are leaving after their freshman year. Is the college taking any steps to improve their retention rate? How?

Helen Cella

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

It’s an indication of how happy students are and the ability of the school to transition students to college

Aviva Walls

Why some statistics matter

Freshman retention rates are the percentage of first-year students who choose to return for sophomore year and this static matters because it tells you several things. If the number is high, the admissions office has done a good job of predicting who will be a good fit for the school. They have presented an accurate depiction of their institution while recruiting new students and made wise decisions on who would be successful at that college. For the most part, colleges do this well and while the national average is less than 70%, many have freshman retention rates of 90% and above. However, if that number is lower, it means that students weren’t happy, couldn’t compete academically and/or generally didn’t feel supported to the point where they either dropped out of college or transferred to another institution. This is an important number to keep your eye on as you research schools. In some ways, I believe it’s more important that graduation rates and student to faculty ratio.

Erica WhiteCollege & Career CounselorMiddletown High School

Oh, they matter…

Freshman retention rates examine how many students start their freshman year and then return their sophomore year. A high retention rate shows that freshman students are happy with the school and wish to continue there. They also show that schools are providing the necessary services to keep students happy and successful while at school..strong professors, academic supports for struggling students, a wide array of majors, good academic advisement, mental health services, a good social life on campus etc.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Data Can Be Dangerous

Definition of Freshman Retention Rates: How many showed up again; how many didn’t. Why do they matter?: They don’t. The “Freshman Retention Rate” is the percentage of first-year students who continue to matriculate at an institution, from fall to spring of the first-year, and from spring to fall of the sophomore year. In other words, these figures reflect the numbers of students who showed up for the next semester and the number who didn’t. As with any statistic, there are many sides to the data and the way it is framed for use by the institution. For the very reason that it is so multi-sided and easily manipulated by institutional marketing folks, it is not particularly useful to prospective students. Any number of circumstances can play into why a student does not continue at the institution they started at, any of which may or may not pertain to you: 1) It’s too far from home; 2) it’s too close to home; 3) the student has been treated poorly by staff members who hold his/her matriculation hostage because of parking fees or unpaid library fines; 4) the family cannot manage the costs of tuition or travel; 5) the student can’t get the classes he/she needs; 6) it’s too cold; 7) it’s too hot; 8) the student can’t make friends; 9) it’s too big; 10) it’s too small; 11) there are no malls; 12) the athletic teams stink; 13) his girlfriend/her boyfriend transferred; 14) his girlfriend/her boyfriend dumped him/her; 15) family illnesses; 16) student illness; 17) family deaths; 18) addiction issues; 19) academic atmosphere is not rigorous enough; 20) academic atmosphere is too rigorous; 21) emotional trauma that will forever be held in secret; 22) and that’s just the first 21 reasons. I’ve heard them all. Anyone who bases their college comparisons on statistical data is “barking up the wrong tree.” All that data is manipulated for marketing purposes, and even when it is accurate, there is a great deal of background that informs the numbers that most people outside of the industry aren’t aware of. Want data as real as you can get it, with no spin? Visit IPEDS at http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/ Want more information on how colleges use data and why you should be wary of how much credence you give it? Google “Iona College Falsfied Data.”

Rana SlosbergOwnerSlosberg College Solutions LLC

Freshmen Retention Rates

Freshmen retention rates tell you what percent of first year students complete their first year of college and will remain in the same college for their sophomore year. High freshmen retention rates are a good indication that most freshmen have made a successful transition into the college community and are satisfied with the education they are receiving. Low freshmen retention rates are a warning sign that students are not making a successful transition into this college and/or that they are unsatisfied with the education they received.

Corey FischerPresidentCollegeClarity

Yes, they matter

The freshman retention rate tells you the percentage of students who return for their second year. This is important because the lower percentages of student returning usually indicates the college has many dissatisfied students. There can be many reasons students are not satisfied but it is a red flag to you as you are selecting your college. Ask the college why students leave. Ask students why students leave. Make an informed decision.

Patricia AviezerPresidentInside Track To College, Inc.

What You Should Know About Retention Rates?

Freshman retention rates statistics will give you some insight into how much the college or university values YOU! The transition to college requires adjustment, how much assistance does the college offer to help you succeed in this critical first year? There are several factors that make freshman retention rates matter: The obvious first factor to consider is how much you’re paying for this first year experience. Most students will pay between $20,000 at a public and $50,000 at a private university; so shouldn’t you get your money’s worth? Factor two, transfering to another college after one year can have a significant impact on ability to graduate on time. Looking down the road, what are the statistics for how many students are graduating from this college? Colleges and Universities are now quoting six year graduation rates, not four. Even with an extra 2 years to complete a 4-year degree, their retention rates might only be 60%. Factor three, if you do decide to transfer, how many of those course credits are transferrable to another college and what impact will having to make up credits have on the bottom line cost of your 4-year degree. Freshman retention rates for the colleges and universities are a critical question to explore when deciding to place a college on your list. The more time and effort you spend in individualizing your college list and exploring your options while in high school, the easier the freshman transition will be when you get to the college of your choice.

Patricia AviezerPresidentInside Track To College, Inc.

What You Should Know About Retention Rates?

Freshman retention rate statistics will give you some insight into how much the college or university values YOU! The transition to college requires adjustment, how much assistance does the college offer to help you succeed in this critical first year? There are several factors that make freshman retention rates matter: The obvious first factor to consider is how much you’re paying for this first year experience. Most students will pay between $20,000 at a public and $50,000 at a private university; so shouldn’t you get your money’s worth? Factor two, transfering to another college after one year can have a significant impact on ability to graduate on time. Looking down the road, what are the statistics for how many students are graduating from this college? Colleges and Universities are now quoting six year graduation rates, not four. Even with an extra 2 years to complete a 4-year degree, their retention rates might only be 60%. Factor three, if you do decide to transfer, how many of those course credits are transferrable to another college and what impact will having to make up credits have on the bottom line cost of your 4-year degree. Freshman retention rates for the colleges and universities are a critical question to explore when deciding to place a college on your list. The more time and effort you spend in individualizing your college list and exploring your options while in high school, the easier the freshman transition will be when you get to the college of your choice.

Wendy KahnPrincipalWendy Kahn College Consulting, LLC

A high retention rate signals that students are succeeding at the college….

The freshman retention rate is the percentage of freshman students who return to the same college for their sophomore year. It’s a number every student and family should consider in making the college decision, because it gives an important clue about how well a school is doing. While some students don’t return to campus for financial reasons or because of serious health or family problems, some don’t return because they’re flat-out miserable. Students in this category typically transfer to better-fit schools. And other students don’t make it back for sophomore year for academic reasons: It’s tough to return to campus when you’ve failed out! Schools with low retention rates (rates that are close to or above 90% are optimal) may not be giving first-year students the academic and social scaffolding — academic advising, first-year transition programs, tutoring programs — they need to succeed academically and thrive socially. You can check out a college’s freshman retention rate by consulting its Common Data Set. Google the phrase “common data set” along with the name of the school.

Wendy KahnPrincipalWendy Kahn College Consulting, LLC

A high retention rate signals that students are succeeding at the college….

The freshman retention rate is the percentage of freshman students who return to the same college for their sophomore year. It’s a number every student and family should consider in making the college decision, because it gives an important clue about how well a school is doing. While some students don’t return to campus for financial reasons or because of serious health or family problems, some don’t return because they’re flat-out miserable. Students in this category typically transfer to better-fit schools. And other students don’t make it back for sophomore year for academic reasons: It’s tough to return to campus when you’ve failed out! Schools with low retention rates (rates that are close to or above 90% are optimal) may not be giving first-year students the academic and social scaffolding — academic advising, first-year transition programs, tutoring programs — they need to succeed academically and thrive socially. You can check out a college’s freshman retention rate by consulting its Common Data Set. Google the phrase “common data set” along with the name of the school.

Wendy KahnPrincipalWendy Kahn College Consulting, LLC

A high retention rate signals that students are succeeding at the college….

The freshman retention rate is the percentage of freshman students who return to the same college for their sophomore year. It’s a number every student and family should consider in making the college decision, because it gives an important clue about how well a school is doing. While some students don’t return to campus for financial reasons or because of serious health or family problems, some don’t return because they’re flat-out miserable. Students in this category typically transfer to better-fit schools. And other students don’t make it back for sophomore year for academic reasons: It’s tough to return to campus when you’ve failed out! Schools with low retention rates (rates that are close to or above 90% are optimal) may not be giving first-year students the academic and social scaffolding — academic advising, first-year transition programs, tutoring programs — they need to succeed academically and thrive socially. You can check out a college’s freshman retention rate by consulting its Common Data Set. Google the phrase “common data set” along with the name of the school.

Benjamin CaldarelliPartnerPrinceton College Consulting, LLC

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates indicate what percentage of freshman return for sophomore year. Few other statistics reveal as much about the quality of the academic and social experience.

Chip LawCo-founder Managing Director Educational Avenues

Look to your left, look to your right…one of you will not be here next year!

That’s the line I got when I started my freshman year many years ago. In short, over 30% of freshmen were not expected to return to the school for the start of the next year. That statistic has modestly improved in today’s college environment but the importance of retention is absolutely crucial to students and schools. For you, the student, you want to be in a school where a VERY large portion of the students return after freshman year. Why? it means that the school is really desirable to its students-the food was good, they enjoyed their classes and classmates, the social life and campus ambiance matched their needs and expectations. Bottom line: it probably means that the students at that school are HAPPY! For the schools, a low freshman retention rate is of major importance. *From a business perspective: they have to replace each student that leaves with one that can provide the school with an equivalent amount of revenue or they have to reduce costs accordingly. *The US news ranking algorithm uses freshman retention rates as major factor for their ratings calculations. *The school has to spend scarce dollars to find out why students are leaving, and then may have spend very large amounts of money to remedy the situation. So when you see a school’s freshmen retention rates reaching 90%+ you know that the students there must be pretty happy and that the school is doing all the right things to keep things that way.

Chip LawCo-founder Managing Director Educational Avenues

Look to your left, look to your right…one of you will not be here next year!

That’s the line I got when I started my freshman year many years ago. In short, over 30% of freshmen were not expected to return to the school for the start of the next year. That statistic has modestly improved in today’s college environment but the importance of retention is absolutely crucial to students and schools. For you, the student, you want to be in a school where a VERY large portion of the students return after freshman year. Why? it means that the school is really desirable to its students-the food was good, they enjoyed their classes and classmates, the social life and campus ambiance matched their needs and expectations. Bottom line: it probably means that the students at that school are HAPPY! For the schools, a low freshman retention rate is of major importance. *From a business perspective: they have to replace each student that leaves with one that can provide the school with an equivalent amount of revenue or they have to reduce costs accordingly. *The US news ranking algorithm uses freshman retention rates as major factor for their ratings calculations. *The school has to spend scarce dollars to find out why students are leaving, and then may have spend very large amounts of money to remedy the situation. So when you see a school’s freshmen retention rates reaching 90%+ you know that the students there must be pretty happy and that the school is doing all the right things to keep things that way.

Laurie Hall

Of course they do

I always suggest to students that they ask for this information. What this information infers is how many students that enroll as first year students return to the same school for a second year. Although it is not the be all end all, it can give students a sense of whether or not students like it there. It is helpful to check other colleges retention rates to see how much they can vary,

Tom ShumskiCounselorAnaheim Union High School District

Freshman Retention

Freshman retention rates are very important when considering attending specific University choices. Many students apply to Universities from various high schools with students from across the country and the world. Universities attempt to identify students that will be successful through nanalysis of various test scores, rigor in high school courses, and individual attributes to meet acceptance criteria. Once a student is accepted and starts their first year of academics there may be an adjustment to the challenging academic courses in their individual universities. The amount of assistance, tutoring, and overall transition process can be very instrumental on whether a freshman will be successful their first year and remain at the school or be overwhelmed and either choose to or be recommended to leave their program. Retenetion rates are a strong indicator of the overall assistance a University offers its freshman in order to be successful.

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates reflect the percentage of freshman that return for sophomore year. They can be an indication of how good a college is at keeping students engaged. In light of the ever increasing cost of higher education, more meaningful statistic is the six year graduation rate.

Karla Garcia

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates tell us what percentage of college freshmen return to each college or university for their sophomore year. Freshman retention rates matter because they help a student become more informed about the colleges and universities he/she is interested in, and allow him/her to make the most-informed decision about which is the best fit for him/her. If the retention rate of a particular college or university is low or lower than expected, students should look into why students tend not to continue on to their sophomore year in order to make sure those reasons do not apply to them and/or find out what they can do to overcome obstacles that other students have faced that caused them to leave that particular school. If the retention rate is high, finding out why may also help in making a decision because those same factors may be what a student is looking for in an ideal college or university.

Lora LewisEducational ConsultantLora Lewis Consulting

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates let you know how many of a school’s entering freshman class returned for their sophomore year. These rates are important because they are a great way to gauge the student body’s overall satisfaction with their college experience. If retention rates are high, it indicates that most students found the academic, social and financial aspects of their freshman year at least sufficiently acceptable for them to choose to return. Lower rates may indicate that more students struggled with or were not satisfied by their educational experience, their social lives, their ability to finance their studies, or some combination of these. While it obviously shouldn’t be the only figure by which you judge a school’s quality, retention rates can give you a quick, baseline idea of how many freshman found their first year so worthwhile that they chose to come back for more.

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshmen retention rates are the percentage of freshman students that return to the college for their sophomore year. They are important for the following reasons: 1. It tells you a little be about how the institution described or sold itself to the incoming class and what they really experienced. A low return percentage could indicate that the expectation of these students were not met and there is a real disconnect between this expectation and reality on the campus. 2. It might also give an indication about what the college does to help student acclimate to college life versus high school experiences. If there isn’t appropriate programming and services to help students make this critical transition, then you would see a lower rate in this number. 3. It might also indicate a shifting financial aid policy. There are schools out there that bait freshmen with generous financial aid packages in their first year and the sophomore year, the picture changes dramatically. It is always a good idea to ask how financial aid packaging changes between each of the years if any so you know this answer up front. But sadly many students still do not ask this question and then find themselves transferring in their sophomore year because of financial reasons. Again, a lower retention rate would indicate this as a potential problem. 4. It may signal that the schools is easy to get into but hard to stay. A number of schools might have a more lenient admissions policy but therefore end up admitted students that it does not have the appropriate resources to assist in making it academically. As I am sure you have realized, none of these scenarios are great and therefore, any school with a low freshmen retention rate should be considered cautiously by any perspective student.

Cheryl Millington

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rates are the percentage of students who withdrew or dropped out. This rates are worth considering because if can give you some insights on the schools you’re considering. Excellence in faculty, services, facilities, staff, programs, etc. can lead to a higher retention rate. However, there are a variety of reasons why an individual student did not return. So like any factor, you should dig deeper and not simply assume that a high retention rate means that that school is better than one with a lower retention rate. After doing extensive research, if you are sure that a school is right for you then you don’t necessarily need to worry about the percentage that left.

Cheryl Millington

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rates are the percentage of students who withdrew or dropped out. This rates are worth considering because if can give you some insights on the schools you’re considering. Excellence in faculty, services, facilities, staff, programs, etc. can lead to a higher retention rate. However, there are a variety of reasons why an individual student did not return. So like any factor, you should dig deeper and not simply assume that a high retention rate means that that school is better than one with a lower retention rate. After doing extensive research, if you are sure that a school is right for you then you don’t necessarily need to worry about the percentage that left.

Cheryl Millington

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rates are the percentage of students who withdrew or dropped out. This rates are worth considering because if can give you some insights on the schools you’re considering. Excellence in faculty, services, facilities, staff, programs, etc. can lead to a higher retention rate. However, there are a variety of reasons why an individual student did not return. So like any factor, you should dig deeper and not simply assume that a high retention rate means that that school is better than one with a lower retention rate. After doing extensive research, if you are sure that a school is right for you then you don’t necessarily need to worry about the percentage that left.

Cheryl Millington

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rates are the percentage of students who withdrew or dropped out. This rates are worth considering because if can give you some insights on the schools you’re considering. Excellence in faculty, services, facilities, staff, programs, etc. can lead to a higher retention rate. However, there are a variety of reasons why an individual student did not return. So like any factor, you should dig deeper and not simply assume that a high retention rate means that that school is better than one with a lower retention rate. After doing extensive research, if you are sure that a school is right for you then you don’t necessarily need to worry about the percentage that left.

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

The freshman retention rate is the percentage of students who return to a university following their first year. This is important because it is a good indicator about the satisfaction level of students after their first year at a school. If the rate is very low then it’s clear that students are not satisfied with the school whether it be for academic, social or financial reasons.

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

The freshman retention rate is the percentage of students who return to a university following their first year. This is important because it is a good indicator about the satisfaction level of students after their first year at a school. If the rate is very low then it’s clear that students are not satisfied with the school whether it be for academic, social or financial reasons.

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What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Think of a retention rate as a fancy way of saying “customer satisfaction survey.” All that retention rate means is, of the freshman students that enrolled at a college in any given fall, how many of those students returned to school the following fall to begin their sophomore year. For example, let’s say that College XYZ brought in a freshman class of 100 students for fall semester 2011. Of these 100 students, 75 of return to begin their sophomore year for fall semester 2012. So, the retention rate for College XYZ from 2011 to 2012 would be 75%. It is important to keep in mind, however, that one of the biggest reasons students end up dropping out of college or transferring is because of financial reasons. Some may view that challenge as a shortcoming of the college, whereas others might see it as just how things are.

Rebecca JosephExecutive Director & Foundergetmetocollege.org

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Do freshmen come back? Freshman retention rates measure how many freshmen come back after the first year. This rate is important for many reasons. I work at a university where many students struggle in remedial courses freshmen year. They often leave and go to a community college and then come back. That is usually the reason kids leave. These rates matter as they also mean kids are coming and going and that can make making friends a challenge. But I rarely see this affect kids at most competitive colleges.

Cara RaySenior AssociateMontgomery Educational Consulting

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates relate to the percentage of students who start at a college as first year students and return the following year. This is an important statistic to consider as it is one way to measure student satisfaction in the first year when students are faced with the decision to return to campus or to transfer or even drop out. However, while this is a good statistic to ask colleges about keep in mind that the rate may not just represent happy vs. unhappy students, it may account for students who are facing family or financial circumstances and have to leave college for varying reasons.

Eric Beers, Ph.D.College and Career CounselorAir Academy High School

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshmen retention rates mean what percentage of freshmen return for their second year. In some ways that can tell you how many freshmen were “satisfied” with their freshmen experience. (It doesn’t tell you about personal crises, life decisions, or other circumstances that sometimes get in the way.) Also for community colleges and other institutions, the statistic isn’t very fair because many students enroll with the intention of transferring right from the beginning. A “transfer” college may be the right fit for you even though their retention rate statistics don’t look very impressive.

Joan Thomas

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

The retention rate refers to the number of first year (freshman) students that return for the following year. It can be a good indicator of happiness of the students with their experience.

Kathleen Regentin

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates tell you how many freshman came back to the same school for their sophomore year. This information can give you a sense of how satisfied students are with the school. The average retention rate is about 75%, so numbers higher than that tend to be seen as better than average.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Data Can Be Dangerous

Definition of Freshman Retention Rates: How many showed up again; how many didn’t. Why do they matter?: They don’t. The “Freshman Retention Rate” is the percentage of first-year students who continue to matriculate at an institution, from fall to spring of the first-year, and from spring to fall of the sophomore year. In other words, these figures reflect the numbers of students who showed up for the next semester and the number who didn’t. As with any statistic, there are many sides to the data and the way it is framed for use by the institution. For the very reason that it is so multi-sided and easily manipulated by institutional marketing folks, it is not particularly useful to prospective students. Any number of circumstances can play into why a student does not continue at the institution they started at, any of which may or may not pertain to you: 1) It’s too far from home; 2) it’s too close to home; 3) the student has been treated poorly by staff members who hold his/her matriculation hostage because of parking fees or unpaid library fines; 4) the family cannot manage the costs of tuition or travel; 5) the student can’t get the classes he/she needs; 6) it’s too cold; 7) it’s too hot; 8) the student can’t make friends; 9) it’s too big; 10) it’s too small; 11) there are no malls; 12) the athletic teams stink; 13) his girlfriend/her boyfriend transferred; 14) his girlfriend/her boyfriend dumped him/her; 15) family illnesses; 16) student illness; 17) family deaths; 18) addiction issues; 19) academic atmosphere is not rigorous enough; 20) academic atmosphere is too rigorous; 21) emotional trauma that will forever be held in secret; 22) and that’s just the first 21 reasons. I’ve heard them all. Anyone who bases their college comparisons on statistical data is “barking up the wrong tree.” All that data is manipulated for marketing purposes, and even when it is accurate, there is a great deal of background that informs the numbers that most people outside of the industry aren’t aware of. Want data as real as you can get it, with no spin? Visit IPEDS at http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/ Want more information on how colleges use data and why you should be wary of how much credence you give it? Google “Iona College Falsfied Data.”

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshmen retention rates are the percentage of students who return to a given school for their sophomore year. While there are many reasons why student leave a school, the retention rates are a quick way to see how satisfied students are with their school experience as well as how stable a school’s student body may be. It offers some informal insight into whether students are satisfied and whether their needs are big met. It also offers sense of what at the initial stage stunt are making progress towards their degrees. It is by no means a definitive measurement of the college experience—graduation rates tell more about the overall academic program—but they are a good statistical snapshot of one aspect of a school.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

What % of freshman make it to graduation. The higher the %, the likelier you will too. That’s a great stat to look for in any college.

Tyler BurtonPresident Burton College Tours

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates are the percentage of students who return for their Sophomore years. A low retention rate raises a flag. Why are students not returning? You may already know the answer. Some reasons for lower retention rates are that many students transfer to a more competitive school, they are at tenting a school with lower tuition and transfer out later when they can afford a higher tuition. These are acceptable reasons. Do your research; are Freshmen not supported by faculty, taught college academic study skills, given poor residential life support? Does the financial aid office “bait and switch” aid packages? Be polite and blunt and ask the admissions office why a school may or may not have a low retention rate. On the positive side of things, schools with high retention rates must be doing something right!

Tyler BurtonPresident Burton College Tours

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates are the percentage of students who return for their Sophomore years. A low retention rate raises a flag. Why are students not returning? You may already know the answer. Some reasons for lower retention rates are that many students transfer to a more competitive school, they are at tenting a school with lower tuition and transfer out later when they can afford a higher tuition. These are acceptable reasons. Do your research; are Freshmen not supported by faculty, taught college academic study skills, given poor residential life support? Does the financial aid office “bait and switch” aid packages? Be polite and blunt and ask the admissions office why a school may or may not have a low retention rate. On the positive side of things, schools with high retention rates must be doing something right!

Tyler BurtonPresident Burton College Tours

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates are the percentage of students who return for their Sophomore years. A low retention rate raises a flag. Why are students not returning? You may already know the answer. Some reasons for lower retention rates are that many students transfer to a more competitive school, they are at tenting a school with lower tuition and transfer out later when they can afford a higher tuition. These are acceptable reasons. Do your research; are Freshmen not supported by faculty, taught college academic study skills, given poor residential life support? Does the financial aid office “bait and switch” aid packages? Be polite and blunt and ask the admissions office why a school may or may not have a low retention rate. On the positive side of things, schools with high retention rates must be doing something right!

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates simply asks did last years incoming students come back for another year? Why does this matter? Because unlike high school where there is no option but to show up each day according to the law, attending college is a choice and when students come back year after year that means the campus, professors, curriculum and student body is doing something right and making happy freshman.

Michael NorrisPh.D studentIowa State University

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Freshman retention rates are the percentage of freshman students who continue to their second year at the school. This percentage is very important and if it isn’t posted on the University website, you should ask an admissions counselor what that percentage is at their school. The freshman retention rate may shed some light on how satisfied students are with their experiences at the institution.

Renee Boone

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rate refers to the percentage of students who return to the college the following academic year. For example, if the Freshman retention rate is 80%, we know that 20% of the class does not return for Sophomore year. Sometimes, the retention rate is situational. When I see a significant drop in the rate from one year to the next, I want to know what has changed about the campus. Is major construction or infra-structure repair or expansion creating a noisy or distracting environment? Likewise, when rates rise I am curious about changes and improvements the school has made in specific areas. I look at areas of housing, athletics, town/gown relations, student volunteer involvement, new programs or majors, enhanced or reduced financial aid and scholarship opportunities and changing faculty. Prospective students may decide to avoid colleges that fail to retain a significant percent of the freshman class.

Renee Boone

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rate refers to the percentage of students who return to the college the following academic year. For example, if the Freshman retention rate is 80%, we know that 20% of the class does not return for Sophomore year. Sometimes, the retention rate is situational. When I see a significant drop in the rate from one year to the next, I want to know what has changed about the campus. Is major construction or infra-structure repair or expansion creating a noisy or distracting environment? Likewise, when rates rise I am curious about changes and improvements the school has made in specific areas. I look at areas of housing, athletics, town/gown relations, student volunteer involvement, new programs or majors, enhanced or reduced financial aid and scholarship opportunities and changing faculty. Prospective students may decide to avoid colleges that fail to retain a significant percent of the freshman class.

Renee Boone

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retention rate refers to the percentage of students who return to the college the following academic year. For example, if the Freshman retention rate is 80%, we know that 20% of the class does not return for Sophomore year. Sometimes, the retention rate is situational. When I see a significant drop in the rate from one year to the next, I want to know what has changed about the campus. Is major construction or infra-structure repair or expansion creating a noisy or distracting environment? Likewise, when rates rise I am curious about changes and improvements the school has made in specific areas. I look at areas of housing, athletics, town/gown relations, student volunteer involvement, new programs or majors, enhanced or reduced financial aid and scholarship opportunities and changing faculty. Prospective students may decide to avoid colleges that fail to retain a significant percent of the freshman class.

Richard Hazeltoncollege advisorConnecticut

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

A retention rate is the percentage of freshman starting in the fall who return in the fall of their second (sophomore year). For example, if 8% of a college’s freshmen decided not to return for the second year, the retention rate would be 92%. 95% or higher is a strong retention rate. Schools are required by law to provide this data. A retention rate in the low 90% to high 80% should prompt questions on behalf of applicants. Colleges always lose students due to homesickness, problems at home, the financial pressures of families and students, etc., but a rate in the low 90s or high 80s may suggest that there are issues at the school that may be contributing to the loss of students (poor housing options– or lack of them; weak advising system, oversubscribed classes, high loan components in aid packages, etc.). Students should always ask about retention rates and ask deeper questions based on what they learn.

Ronald Harris

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

Retaining and propelling freshmen toward graduation. That tells you how well a univeristy is performing.

Mark GathercoleUniversity AdvisorIndependent University Advising

What are freshman retention rates and why do they matter?

The retention rate refers to what percentage of students return to a school for their second year. Put simply, it’s a measure of how satisfied students are with the school, and how well the school sees that students get the quality and attention they want and need. That’s not universally true, because there are lots of reasons students might not return for a second year, but as a general rule, I believe it is one good indicator of quality. A high retention rate doesn’t mean that you will necessarily like the school, but it tells you that others do.

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