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Location, location, location? March 24, 2010

Posted by Katie in Retention Rates.
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This map shows the schools with the top 9 highest retention rate with blue markers, and Quinnipiac’s location with a yellow marker.

Massachusetts is home to three of these schools – Amherst College, Harvard University, and MIT. New York contains Columbia University and Dartmouth College. Both Yale University and Quinnipiac are in Connecticut. Princeton University is in New Jersey, the Curtis Institute of Music is in Pennsylvania and Bowdoin College is in Maine. The map shows that the schools with the top 9 highest retention rates are all in the Northeastern part of the U.S. So how much does location matter? What role does the location of the school play in its retention rate?

QU Junior Lindsay Kazin thinks it’s more about the prestige of the school and not the location. “I think the New England landscape certainly helps draw people here, but there’s things about QU that people don’t realize after setting first steps on the campus,” says Kazin.  QU Retention Committee member Brian Walach agrees the school itself is truly what counts, and many Ivy League schools just happen to be in the same region. He notes the schools with the highest retention rate are also the most selective. “Once students are finally accepted, their desire to then leave is probably very small and the retention rates reflect this” Walach says.

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The QU Retention Committee… March 5, 2010

Posted by Katie in Quinnipiac University.
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In the fall of 2009, Quinnipiac’s Vice President Mark Thompson approached Andrew Delohery, head of the Learning Center, and asked him to form a committee to look into raising the retention rate at Quinnipiac.  For their purposes, “retention” refers to the number of students who stay at Quinnipiac from their first to their second year, said Delohery. Right now QU has a retention rate of about 86%, up from 84% in 2006, according to CollegeConfidential.com.  The main goal of the QU Retention Committee is to raise it to 90%.

“This would make Quinnipiac a highly selective university. Right now we are a selective school,” said Delohery.

The Learning Center sees about 3000 students a year for various tutoring and extra help sessions.  Senior and tutor Brian Walach says they see a lot of struggling students. He observes the academic reasons why some students drop out or transfer.  “You drop a class here, maybe two classes, and then you’re not a  full time student anymore and I feel like it’s downhill from there” he says.

Delohery and Walach agree that finances do play a role in retention but are only a piece of the puzzle.  About 70% of students at QU receive some form of financial aid, according to Quinnipiac’s Admissions page. “Maybe classes aren’t going so well or they aren’t fitting in as much as they’d like to and so they say ‘well I’m not getting my full money’s worth at this point’ and so maybe it’s too expensive for what they think they’re getting out of it.  I think finances play a role in that sense,” says Walach.

The retention committee is hoping to publish their findings before the end of the Spring 2010 semester.

Here is more of what Delohery and Walach had to say: