Freshmen retention rates rising

Retention rates of freshmen students in poor academic standing (GPA of 2.0 or below) have increased since the school implemented the mid term pilot, first year advisement and academic success workshops, according to a report released in August 2010 by Rameen Mohammadi, associate provost for undergraduate and special programs.

"Retention rates have continued to increase over the last several years," Joe Grant, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment said. "The rate for the class of 2009 is 82 percent, up from 81 percent for the fall 2008 class and up from rates that were in the mid-70s about five years ago. Every student we enroll is capable of being successful here."

The midterm pilot program, enforced by the Student Retention Committee, recognized students who received a C- or lower on at least one of their mid-term grades. Those students were then asked to meet with their first year advisers, attend workshops and fill out online surveys. The process was designed to help students understand what grades need to be improved before the end of the semester.

"Knowing how they were doing, we believe, helped more students put more focus on their studies and improve," Mohammadi said. "The midterm grades should give you an idea of where you are at. With this model the students see the grades. It’s not every course and it’s not a fool proof system, but it identifies students that have grades to work on."

Retention rates are gradually increasing and the Retention Committee is still coming up with ideas to identify "at risk" students and to retain as many of those students as possible.

"We talk to the teachers and hall directors and try to find out if the students aren’t going to meetings or classes," said Michelle Bandla, coordinator of First Year Programs. "We try to help each other help the student."

The transition from high school to college is an adjustment, and the Retention Committee, as well as the teachers and first year advisers, is working to make sure students are succeeding in each of their classes.