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Content Any Way U Want It!

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September 21, 2023

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Freshmen involvement helps University retention

For freshman Kenji Bungo, getting involved on campus has been one thing that has made him want to stay at the University for spring semester.

Though he said he mostly focuses on studying, he has made some ties to campus that made him come to this decision.

“I recently joined Warm-Up BG, a non-profit crocheting group that my girlfriend has been really involved with [too],” he said.

Academic, campus organizations and activities are some of the main reasons why students decide to come back to school, which also helps the University with retention.

Joseph Frizado, vice president of academic operations, said retention during freshman year is key because students who stick through their first year are more invested and likely to graduate from the University. In between semesters, freshman that decide not to come back to University usually don’t because they did not “feel like they were a part of the community.”

He said that the University’s official retention rates are calculated from fall to fall, but fall to spring rates can be an indicator of success for the whole year. Normally a fall to spring retention rate of about 90 percent will mean a rate of about 70 percent for the entire academic year. If between semester rates are high then between year rates will also be high. This is because the more a student is into their career at the University, the more of an effort they will make to come back.

Official numbers for this semester’s retention won’t be available until 15 days after the start of spring classes. Frizado said retention rates look good for the University right now and for the whole school year.

“We track the first time freshman come into the door and the fall to spring retention rate gives us an idea of what fall to fall retention will be like,” he said.

Alex Solis, president of the Undergraduate Student Government, said that he has seen changes in his time at the University that should aid in retention.

“When I was a freshman at Kriescher, you could not connect to the Internet,” he said. “Now there’s Wi-Fi throughout the entire campus.”

Solis said improvements in and outside of the classroom are a priority for the University. He said that things like a good opening weekend, UAO concert or athletic program are important to retention.

“Most importantly for the 7,000 students who call this place home, you need a good [Residence] Life experience,” he said.

Frizado said that it is hard to pinpoint just one reason that students decide to drop mid-year. It could be because of family or financial situations, academic problems, personal problems or a combination of more than one thing.

Solis said that every meeting the University holds is about retention because it is connected to so many factors.

Retention is key because more students go hand in hand with a stronger and ultimately richer University, Frizado said.

Overall, the University is trying to appeal to the student body in order for a higher retention rate.

“Higher retention rates means more students, more classes, more income for the University, and more support from the state,” he said.

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