Retention rates a big struggle for universities

College in society today is one of the most important aspects of any students learning experience.

College acts as a bridge one crosses to not only secure a dream job but to also gain knowledge and skills to use when faced with the various challenges that life presents. However, many college students today find themselves transferring universities because of several factors, such as lack programs one intends to pursue, hyper-connectivity or financial burdens. The retention of students at the university they first get admitted to is becoming a main priority, as each university seeks to create the best atmosphere for students to learn and excel during their college experience.

Universities are therefore forced to step up to the challenge by providing their students with adequate resources to find their career pathways and aid them in transcending each year, retaining them up to graduation. Minnesota State University, Mankato is no exception as students do transfer to other colleges, but it strives to provide several resources such as financial, academic and student support to ensure students are retained at the university.

In a report to the Legislature on college completion, compiled by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, it states that MnSCU has been actively working to improve completion rates throughout a variety of wide ranging efforts. Some of these efforts that were put in place include the “Charting the Future” initiative, on-going availability of grants for federal TRiO programs like Student Support Services, and campus-based initiatives that have been demonstrating promising outcomes. The report also states that it recognizes several critical factors that lead to lack of college completion, although the comprehensive completion plan set forth through various efforts seeks to capitalize on initiatives already demonstrating success.

Jameel Haque, a History Professor at MNSU, states that program unavailability is a major factor that leads to lack of college completion or university transfers.

“Program availability at any university plays a major role in dictating whether a student chooses to pursue a degree at a certain university,” Haque said.

Karla Lassonde, a psychology professor, states that financial burden as well personal issues are factors that would make a student contemplate and decide on whether to transfer universities or complete college.

Hodan Farah, an undergraduate sophomore in the Pre-Pharmacy Professional Program, states that students always give top priority to universities that have the programs and career pathways they intend to pursue.

“I am currently thinking of transferring to another university as I can receive a degree in pharmacy in a shorter time frame since Minnesota State University, Mankato only offers it as a Pre-Program Pathway,” Farah said.

Amer Razaq, an undergraduate sophomore pursuing a degree in accounting states that hyper-connectivity and isolation tend to play a role in college completion. She said that people want to go a college where they can learn and have a good time with their friends. Thus, whenever one is isolated at a university where they feel lonely, they prefer to transfer colleges to find somewhere more welcoming in terms of association.

Danielle Haque, an English professor, states that location tends to have an impact on the student’s decision to transfer colleges.

“The opportunity may arise to transfer to a university in a bigger or smaller city, therefore the decision lies with where a student feels the environment is sustainable for them to prosper,” Danielle Haque said.

According to an article by the Washington Post, although the college admission process can be emotionally wrenching, more than a third of students choose to do it again. The article talks about factors such as college advertisements where students only concentrate on the fun aspect of college that the ads portray. However, after joining and getting into the grind of late classes, assignments, labs and much more, they feel disillusioned and thus may want to transfer to something with less of a hassle. Another issue is financial burden which troubles a good population of college students; transferring to somewhere cheaper may not be what they want but becomes a last resort.

In conclusion, the college experience has several factors that dictate which route a student chooses to take. The journey students take to find what really drives them as well as keeps them interested is quite challenging. Although making the right choice or finding the right University for students may be formidable, the beautiful thing about finally acquiring the precious knowledge is that no one can take it away from you.

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