Refocus on incoming students needed to increase retention rates
February 14, 2022
What is our university doing to retain its students? Frankly, this complex question is not unique to UW-River Falls (UWRF), universities everywhere grapple with how to improve their retention rates. COVID has undoubtedly exacerbated retention efforts since its onset by forcing socially distanced learning and amplifying the kind of disparities that can deter people from pursuing a college degree. As society continues to adjust to this strange post-COVID world, higher education has had to deal with an ever-changing landscape when it comes to attracting prospective students and keeping them.
According to UWRF’s campus data reports, from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020, 84 percent of new freshman students were retained, either by remaining in their initial program or declaring a new one.
The Student Voice considered a few different perspectives outside of the pandemic that may be affecting retention at the University. With a new generation comes a new type of student. This incoming and current wave of students seems to contain a larger variety of first generation and transfer students who do not have a lot of experience when it comes to the college lifestyle both from an academic and social perspective. We believe that with this wave of students can struggle with the complicated process of ensuring all paperwork is in order to get into the University and may continue to deal with this confusion once they arrive. If there is a lack of guidance for these new students they may be less likely to stay if not given sufficient support.
The University should ensure they are putting energy and effort into the students they currently have on campus. It is important to continue recruiting new students but we believe the key is to look at what the University currently has.