June 24, 2013
Source: Business 2 Community
Improving Student Retention Rates
A retention rate, as defined by About.com, is the number of full-time students who come back the next year. The statistic usually refers to freshman returning as sophomores. A low retention rate used to be a positive university trait demonstrating the academic difficulty. Not anymore. It is a direct representation of the environment, the academics, and the social life that make it conducive to a young adult’s growth, or a hindrance to their transformation.
There are a number of reasons why students leave after freshman year and no matter which university they attend, the causes are frequently similar.
- Burn out – many students spend their high school years working hard, and having little fun, to get into the college of their dreams. Then they arrive and sometimes the dream doesn’t match reality. This can lead to one of two things. They give up from the let down and either transfer or go home after a year. Or, post realization of the dissapointment, they fall into number two…
- Too much partying – this one is pretty self explanatory. Many can’t handle the new-found freedom paired with house parties and $5-a-cup all-you-can-drink parties.
- Not enough money – The financial burden on students to seek higher education is only growing. Many will drop out because they can’t simultaneously manage payments, working, and trying to perform in school.
- No individual guidance – many who go to school are between the ages of 17 and 19. The guidance of the parents, teachers and coaches who supported them in the past is not longer present on a day-to-day basis in college. Large classes make it hard to build relationships with teachers, especially if you’re shy. And parents are no longer there in person to guide you through a tough day. This can ultimately lead to an untimely departure from college.
These untimely departures have more impact than just one year “wasted.” Many never go back to college for fear of embarrassing themselves again. Some universities take this harsh reality as nothing more than a statistic and do little to change it.
The University of Kentucky is doing quite the opposite. Using the powerful SAP HANA database, the university is analyzing data in order to understand how they can increase student retention. The new, real-time insights enable quicker intervention in student issues. This, in turn, increases communication and helps students succeed. The result? Higher retention rates, happier students and, above all, happier parents and empty-nesters.
Check out how the University of Kentucky is helping students stay longer and enjoy their time doing it.