Student Retention

Focus on student retention:

collegematters has developed a theory of student departure that is based on a combination of student college choice theory and consumer behavior theory. The theory, simply stated, is:

Students leave colleges before completing their programs of study because they are unable to reaffirm their initial buying decision.

Students experience a variety of influences throughout their lifetime that lead them to make the decision to attend college and help them to determine which college to attend, which program to take, what extracurricular activities to participate in and other college related choices. This series of decisions constitutes a complex buying decision. Each time the student has an opportunity to revisit the decision by enrolling for subsequent terms or by deciding whether to withdraw before the end of an enrollment period, the student revisits his/her original buying decision. When the student’s college experience is not congruent with his/her expectations, does not provide the benefits s/he anticipated, or in some other way fails to validate the decision to attend college (essentially, does not result in student/customer satisfaction), the student opts to withdraw (or fails to re-enroll). Essentially, the decision is not to buy again. So, it is important that the student’s buying decision is affirmed by his/her experience. Understanding the factors that lead students to their initial enrollment decision is key to developing programs for decreasing the instances of premature student departure (that is, improving student retention).

Read the article on Consumer Behavior Theory of Student Departure for more information on this revolutionary concept.

Getting new students is an expensive proposition for most colleges—not keeping the students we admit is a costly mistake we simply cannot afford to make.  It is often said that student retention is everyone’s job, but unless someone is made accountable for student retention, it is likely nobody will be paying attention to the details that keep students engaged and connected to our institutions.  With an eye toward ease of delivery, collegematters helps your institution examine all the aspects of your operation that support and encourage student retention from the first admissions contact through graduation.  If you need a viable plan for ensuring the highest possible retention of currently enrolled students click here to request more information about Student Retention.