Not every student who begins college is going to graduate. There will always be circumstances beyond anyone's control that cause some students to drop out prior to graduation. However, as a college administrator, it is important for you to do what you can to help improve retention rates as much as possible. Here are some ideas to get you started as you seek to improve retention.
1. Make Sure Students Are Aware of Helpful Resources
From tutoring programs to faculty advisors and off-campus mentor programs, most colleges offer lots of resources for students who need a little extra help. But all too often, students don't know about these resources or how to utilize them until it's too late. You can increase student retention by making sure all students are aware of the programs that exist to help them out. Have representatives from these programs speak at welcome ceremonies and orientations. Make sure faculty are aware of these programs and know to recommend them to students who are struggling in classes. Send out campus-wide emails offering info about these services.
If students know these services exist, they are more likely to use them at the first sign of trouble, which may help them earn better grades and stay motivated to stay in school.
2. Foster Extracurricular Activities
College is about learning and earning a degree, but in order for students to succeed in school, they do need to lead balanced lives. You want to make sure your school offers extracurricular activities that they can engage with and enjoy. These activities will give students an "out" for their stress, which may help them perform better in school and stay enrolled. Make sure there's variety in your extracurricular activities. Offer sports, concerts, and conventional activities, but also less-conventional activities like art clubs and gaming clubs.
3. Reach Out to Struggling Students
Set up a monitoring system to identify students who are struggling early on. For instance, your system might flag every student who fails a class or every student who gets a "C" or lower in more than one class. If you contact these students, offer them guidance and advice to continue forward, and show them that the school really does care about their success. They'll be more likely to stay and put in the effort.
If your school's retention rates are lower than you'd like, implementing some of the changes above can help.
For more information, contact a retention improvement service, such as Degree Insurance.