Colleges shift focus to second-year student retention
- Typically regarded as the unseen class on college campuses, sophomores are receiving increased attention and academic counseling resources from institutions for the sake of retention in the effort to reduce costs and increase graduation rates.
- Emory University and Trinity University serve as a model of second-year student engagement, with both campuses emphasizing on-campus residence and live-in academic advising for students as part of its outreach efforts, University Business reported recently.
- Purdue University also has developed programming to revamp curriculum and learning materials for students in their sophomore year who have struggled with academic performance.
College leaders should always be looking ahead for potential trends for retention instead of reacting to outcomes. If an institution regularly enrolls a student body with a sizable number of minority students or students from low-income households, then schools should be prepared with mentoring and technological tools to deliver advising services to students while regularly assessing their performance throughout their college careers.
While federal metrics and accountability for these efforts may change, leaders should be conscious of how word-of-mouth marketing from students and faculty impacts communities with potential students. If students feel supported and institutions are providing adequate resources for that support, other friends and relatives will be likely engaged in considering the institution for their college goals.
- University Business Colleges ease second-year struggles