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?