University’s freshman-retention rate rises to 89.7 percent

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    The freshmen to sophomore year retention rate increased to 89.7 percent over the past academic year after averaging 86 percent over the last four years, according to the U.S. News & World Report National University rankings

    Up from the 2010 freshman class' 87 percent, Dean of Admissions Ray Brown said that the retention increase over the last year is a very impressive growth.

    "This year's increase is what most [schools] would consider a three or four year increase all by itself," Brown said.

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said that the average retention rate for similar private schools across the country is around 73 percent. The university's current faculty to student ratio has also improved to 13-to-1, Boschini said. 

    "It's small enough that you'll have a place right away but it's big enough that you'll always have new experiences," Boschini said. "I think the culture of our campus is one where you know your professors outside and inside the class room."

    Emily Helton, a sophomore strategic communication major, said she considered transferring from TCU after her freshman year but decided to stay due to the community and faculty.

    "With the faculty ratio being what it is, I felt comfortable here," Helton said. "I like getting to know teachers personally and them knowing my name." 

    Bob Doran, the Potter professor of mathematics who began working at the university in 1969, said that the university used to see students transfer in and out frequently in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Doran said that the campus now is almost unrecognizable in comparison to the 1969 version along with a nearly doubled student body population of what was then 5,000.

    The university's growth is due to the adaptation of a teacher-scholar model striving for excellence while providing students with proper instruction, Doran said.

    "Caring is the key to keeping students," Doran said. "If I really care about you, you're not going to want to go some place else, especially if you have good instruction."