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Retention Rates: How to Remain on the Road to Graduation

January 06, 2017

In recent years, we have seen that high school graduation rates have been increasing, while there is still work that needs to be done in order to also increase college retention rates. Angelo State University’s retention rates have been increasing over the last few years, but it’s important for students to remain focused on their goals towards graduation. 

 

The national average for the number of college students who continued onto their sophomore year after beginning college is 70.9%. Angelo State University’s average for the year of 2015 was below the national average, at 62%. While only 29.8% of ASU students graduate, 14.4% graduate on time. Based on the caliber of the school, 44.2% of ASU students are expected to complete graduation. Schools across the nation are struggling to retain their students after the first year, but Angelo State University has been working towards increasing the school’s retention rates and assisting all students to complete a degree. Over the past couple of years, we have seen an increase in ASU’s retention rates.

The top reasons for students to drop-out of school are the following:

Transition

After about 18 years of living with parents and in a familiar environment, it can be difficult for a student to adjust to college life, socially and academically. This can lead to becoming overwhelmed and dropping out. This is true among minority and first-generation students. There are various ways students can connect with their new environment in order to feel like they belong. Community Service is a great way to get to know your new community and contribute to make a positive difference in it.

Goals

Some students enter college not knowing what major they want to select or what their long-term goals are for the future; this is common among students. However, if the student continues to feel indecisive about their future for a long period of time, they are more likely to withdraw from the university. ASU’s Career Development office offers students various services that can help them with their decision as they are choosing their major; such as, counseling and career assessments, occupation information, job searches, and many other resources!

Commitment

The experiences that the students have once they have been enrolled in the university play a large role in the commitment they have towards completing their education. Joining one of ASU’s over 100 Registered Student Organizations can help anchor students to the school.

Finances

In many situations, if a student feels that they are unable to bear the costs of college, they may decide to withdraw from the university. Here aere are many resources for students, including ASU scholarships , grants, financial aid and San Angelo community scholarships.

Integration & Community Membership

Sometimes it is difficult for a student to integrate into college life if they find that the college culture is different from their own, especially if the student is first-generation or a minority. The ASU Multicultural & Student Activities Programs center provides multicultural activities and celebrations as well as an inclusive and welcoming space for students of all backgrounds on campus.

Isolation

If a student remains in their room for long periods of time and only goes from there to class and back, it may be difficult for them to socialize and interact with others on campus. Participating in UREC activities, such as: Outdoor Adventures trips, UREC classes, and intramurals can get students to come out and spend time with people!

 

Despite all of the factors that can lead to a student dropping out of college, there are various things that can be done to increase the probability of retention. Some things that the student can do are:

 

Maintain frequent contact with faculty members in and out of class.

Students who maintain a relationship with their professors are more likely to be more satisfied with their educational experiences, perceived to learn more than students who have less faculty contact, and are less likely to drop-out. The Family Relations Host (Family) Mentoring Program is a great program that provides mentoring by an ASU faculty member that creates a meaningful connection for support.

Be enthusiastic.

It can be difficult to think in a positive manner when you feel inundated by homework, tests, and assignments; however, keeping your eyes on the prize and being enthusiastic about reaching this can help you think in a more positive manner. Attend school activities like Angelo Sports events, Arts at ASU, multicultural activities, and intramural games. 

Build connections.

This means with faculty and staff members, but other students also. A great program to be a part of is the First Generation RAMS program, which provides peer to peer student mentoring. You never know when you may need their help throughout the semester.

Become involved.

Angelo State University has over 100 student organizations on campus. There is surely one fit for everyone! Joining an organization is a great way to make friends who share common interests as you and feel as though you belong. These can help keep you on the path to graduation if you are ever feeling low or if u need to reevaluate your education; your organization may serve as a support system during tough times. There are also other ways to get involved at ASU, such as UCPC and the Multicultural & Student Activities Programs center.

Determine your goals and objectives.

Visualize what you want to accomplish during your time in school. It is okay if you are still unsure of the career path you’d like to take- just set smaller goals for yourself that you know you want to achieve and work towards them. Perhaps once completion of these, you may have a better idea of what career path you’d like to take.

 

Here are a few resources to help you and your student:

 

It can be difficult to transition into the college life and remain on the path to graduation when you are faced by various adversities along the way. However, it is completely possible to accomplish success, enjoy campus life, and graduate! Angelo State University is dedicated to helping students reach success and there is always someone on campus available to help you find the right resources. Don’t be afraid to reach out to any of ASU’s faculty or staff members- whether it be a professor, academic advisor, counselor, or anyone else! Together, we can help all of our students reach the finish line: graduation!