Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

The Art of Retaining Students. (Editor's Note)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

The Art of Retaining Students. (Editor's Note)

Article excerpt

It makes sense that as students matriculate through college, their chances of graduating increase. It's the fast two years of college when students are most at risk of dropping out. Many students enroll in college unprepared for the rigors of higher education. Some are unprepared socially. Others haven't figured out how they are going to finance their education beyond their freshman year, and hence find themselves in trouble with the financial aid office.

Therefore, colleges and universities will always be striving to perfect the art of retaining students. And even if every institution of higher education admitted and enrolled the most academically, ethnically, geographically and economically diverse student body, they would have to find a way to keep them on campus and graduate their students. As you will read in this annual Recruitment and Retention edition, that takes creativity and innovation.

Students often leave for reasons that are out of the school's control. But if schools had the appropriate measures in place, they probably would be able to retain more of their students. I interviewed two students attending an HBCU awhile back who were on academic probation and therefore, being made to go through the university's retention program.

As we discussed their academic difficulties, I was surprised that their problems stemmed not from being academically unprepared, but rather unable to deal with their newfound freedom as college students. They said they spent a good part of the day sleeping, among other things, none of which included their class-work. But because of the retention program the university had in place, academic counselors were flagged when the students' freshman grade-point averages dropped below a certain point. Fortunately, for the students, the school got to them before it was too late and they were given an opportunity to bring up their grades with the help of regularly scheduled meetings with faculty-mentors. …

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