Why do students leave college

Abrasion, which means shrinking, is a commonly used term in the school. Student attrition generally refers to the number of students who have not completed their program of studies. These "dropouts" are considered failures of schools and reduce the "failure rate" typically measured by all the schools themselves, the accreditation agencies to national publications (such as U.S. News & World Report).

The dropout rate in American universities is 50%for traditional students and 60% for online learners. (National Dialog on Student Retention, 2008)

Validity and reliability

How to tell every student or statistician, you can create a statistic is only useful when there are two important criteria: (valid both "meets construct" and "Content"), and Reliability. Validity, the most important of the two, simply means that the test measures "what it claims (to) should be measured." And reliability means that itdoes so consistently over time.

How valid is this measure?

With attrition, there are a number of concerns. If the retention rate is calculated programmaticaly, but there is a lack of account for inter-program transfers. If it is applied to the institution as a whole, it still has problems. For example, we really need to measure if a student completed their training at a particular institution or should be our primary concern that the students receive their degree orDegree? It could easily be argued that this measure is very important. When the Census Bureau reports on the percentage of "graduates" are not particularly about how many schools visited the relevant graduates. Whether the student from "Podunk U trade" or "retention of college is" no role. The large number is the percentage of graduates.

The carrier perspective

Of course, universities are always looking for ways to measuretheir success. Is it the quantity, the reputation of the faculty / student ratio, etc.? All these measures, and more, in the college rankings, which are so eagerly consumed by potential students, parents, alumni, administrators and the College acquired community. Take a look at the latest U.S. News college rankings.

But how meaningful are these measures and rankings? Probably not much. From one perspective, especially in the two years (Community College)Level of success could mean that there are a large number of transfers to four-year colleges. That would be true whether the student completed her Associates degree. A broader view of institutional success can mean a longer perspective. Longitudinal studies that can track students throughout their academic life, a better perspective. For example, if a student attends "Lousy U" and has such a horrible experience that he is off from school for the restLife that would clearly be negative. If they win on the other hand, students at the College Success "trust and experience academic success, but expanded due to increased confidence and prospects to other schools before completing their program of studies, this could be extremely positive.

Student Retention Research

The reversal of student turnover is student retention. Perhaps the best model of student retention comes from the research and atheoretical perspective provided by Vincent Tinto (Tinto, V). Although there is limited empirical evidence to Tinto theories, his work clearly shows the complexity of the topic. Some of the factors in the retention equation are: academic integration, teaching, learning, support facilities, [students] qualifications / preparation / motivation, individual attributes, family attributes, as in [ B.,] mother's education, finance, debt, medical, family events, social integration, etc.Be taken in the interaction with the main factors of Goal commitment and institutional commitment, drop-out decisions (or not done).

After the various grounds for departure can be attributed to two categories: 1) volunteers (student decision), and Tinto, 2) Involuntary (poor academic [and / or service] performance). Tinto (and other researchers on) refine this model by emphasizing two overarching decision-markers: 1) Academic integration, and 2) social integration .. In otherWords: 1) How is the implementation of the student academically, how much do they enjoy their subjects and how she herself as a student, 2) how many friends of the student has in school, the quality of interaction with faculty and staff and how much they are the games in the school.

What can we do?

The admission of students who are not willing to inadequately prepared, or do not have sufficient involvement in a college program will significantly increase the success of attritionvote, and although intervention can lead to a weakening of the problem, the stage is set for non-compliance. And many students lack the self-motivation to perform adequately in the less-structured post-secondary setting.

The students left school for a number of reasons. You can not do well in school, or they have competing priorities that lead to attendance problems. They feel socially isolated or at school to feel disconnected from the institution. They had financial problems, familyProblems, learning disabilities, transportation, childcare or persistence issues. You can have a combination of problems, and might find themselves all that apply. If they minority, foreign, adult learners, re-entry students, students with low incomes, single parents, etc., they have further complications. Students may not feel supported by the institution or do not relate well with their staff. A major factor is the relation of students with their teachers.

Only the measurement of abrasion cannot the whole story to tell. And, are some factors that control the non-administrative or faculty level. However, can help to create a supportive culture and a pleasant environment.

What can be done to increase student retention?

The literature provides a number of suggestions and we intuitively know that some approaches that work. Here are some ideas:

– Provision of services for students stress a system to support students (eg, orientation, counseling, guidance, studentOrganizations, social events, support for carpooling, tutoring, etc.)

– Establish systems to proactively identify problems and intervene quickly to resolve them (e, g, grades, attendance, distraction, etc.)

– Take advantage of the support retention of the faculty in improving the student. Inform them about the problem, expressing recommendations, and especially their contributions to beg. – Promotion of student input, such as student satisfaction surveys.

– Allow the students to gain some success beforeWeed enroll them in "" / bottleneck courses (eg mathematics and science). – Arrange your student events (eg charity events, pizza sales, Holidays)

– Promotion of "belonging" through student government, associations, clubs, etc.

– Recognition of student achievement and success (attendance and academic awards) – Keep students informed regularly about their progress.

– Collect and analyze student attrition data. Benchmark data and compared to similarInstitutions.

– Linking with employers and potential employers of students and graduates. Ensure better career placement for all students. – Assign mentors to assist incoming students for students.

– Oriented to promote development and maintain a friendly, customer service atmosphere.

– Continuously review, analyze and upgrade programs and services.

– Make every student feel welcome and necessary.

Finally …

Students leave college for a variety ofReasons. Sometimes the body is powerless to influence these decisions. However, the ideas can be presented in this article valuable administrators seeking to reduce wear and tear. It is definitely worth a try.


Tinto, V. (1975) "Dropout from Higher Education: A Theoretical Synthesis of Recent Research," Review of Educational Research, vol.45, pp.89-125

Tinto, V. (1982) "The Limits of theory and practice in student attrition" Journal of HigherEducation, vol3 pp. 687-700

Tinto, V. Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition, 1994, Univ. of Chicago Press

Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory and Practice, Ed. Alan Seidman

National Dialogue on Student Retention, 2008, http://educationdynamics.com/retention_conference/


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