4 Strategies: Promoting Undergraduate Retention


Man and woman graduates celebrating

You invest heavily to recruit undergraduates who meet your criteria and support your institution’s goals and values. Are you working just as hard to protect that investment to retain these students through graduation? According to one study, it costs 3 to 5 times as much to recruit a new student than it does to retain one already enrolled.

Retention is a complex issue; the societal, institutional and personal reasons that determine why one student graduates and another leaves can’t be predicted, even under the best of circumstances. Because so many factors are outside your control, Maguire Associates works with clients strategically to promote retention:

1. PROMOTING RETENTION IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY
Retention is a broad institutional concern with many stakeholders. Maguire Associates works across organizations to distribute data and actionable insights that encourage administrators, staff and students to own a role in promoting retention. Whether it’s a single official or a campus-wide office, someone must amplify retention goals and expectations to raise general awareness and create sensible retention metrics.

2. INTERVENE TO HELP AT-RISK STUDENTS
Boosting retention rates will boost your profile and reputation, but it also serves a higher purpose: addressing students’ social and academic needs is the right thing to do. Forward-thinking institutions should identify individuals who are strategically placed to spot students at-risk and give them the support, tools and processes needed to make a difference. We’re glad to share examples where modest investments made a big difference in student retention/graduation rates.

3. BECOME MORE STUDENT-FOCUSED
To engage today’s consumer-oriented students and parents, institutions need to become less bureaucratic and more responsive. Students are conditioned to work with instructors on academic issues, but they also need to know where to go to resolve issues related to housing, dining and other aspects of campus life. Unsure about how well you’re addressing student needs? Bring students into the conversation, and they’ll thank you for it.

4. MAKE BETTER INITIAL MATCHES
Use profile data during the recruitment process to identify students who best fit your institution’s myriad goals and values. To give your undergraduates the best possible chance of success, Maguire Associates provides cohort-survival analysis tools and other intelligence that optimize admission and financial aid decisions. An integrated approach to enrollment management boosts graduation rates makes scholarship support more effective and gradually improves student persistence. Contact us, and we’ll be glad to walk you through several examples, or browse our Tools page to get started.

For more information about undergraduate retention, contact Beth Pilgrim (bpilgrim [AT] maguireassoc.com) or call 978.371.1775, x222.

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