A new higher education report found that colleges are increasing their efforts to retain students by more closely monitoring student progress.
A report from The Chronicle of Higher Education found that many colleges are focusing their efforts on advising, orientation and other programs to make sure students stay with the institution and graduate. Private institutions, a category which includes GW, have an average retention rate of about 79 percent, the report found.
Center for Student Engagement Director Tim Miller said in an email that there are “several factors” that make up retention efforts at GW, including the work of residence advisers in residence halls, advisers who work with student organizations and “outdoor education and leadership programming.”
“All programs within the CSE are focused on helping students find their place and sense of community,” Miller said in an email. “It is important to offer a range of opportunities for students to find a point of connection and the CSE helps facilitate these connections.”
The report found that private colleges and universities concentrate their retention efforts on first-year programs and seminars for freshmen. GW offers programs like the Women’s Leadership Program and dean’s seminars tailored specifically for freshmen in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
The study also found that many institutions are putting an increased focus on advising, but “all institutions
report that faculty and students are only moderately happy with advising.” In 2014, the Columbian College dropped its “express advising” sessions, and this year a pair of students involved in the Student Association pitched peer advising in the Columbian College after three advisers left GW earlier in the academic year.
More than a quarter of private colleges and universities said in the report that they would want to add financial distress monitoring and summer bridge programs to their retention efforts. The study also found that all public and private institutions included in the study used orientation programs to boost retention.