It is no secret that retention can be a challenge when it comes to first-year students’ journeys in college. First-year students historically have lower retention rates than most other students, leaving after their first year. One college found that in 2015 only 64% of their freshmen would return for their sophomore year.

The statistics of student retention can be grim and are due to several reasons. It is clear that for colleges to retain their first-year students, it would be wise to invest in student retention management software. Such software, combined with other programs, can make a difference and help newcomers become sophomores.

A first-year student heading to their classroom.

Challenges in First Year Student Retention

Why first-year students choose to exit the educational system can vary. Sometimes finances, health issues, crises, anxiety, and newfound pressures can impact their decision to leave. 

It seems that these rates may also have socio-economic influences, hitting low-income, first-generation, and minority students the hardest. For example, black students have had a recorded retention rate of just 55%, according to National Student Clearinghouse.

Part of the challenge in identifying the causes for retention issues is obtaining data, an essential component of student retention management software. Such data can help a college.

By the Numbers

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the overall retention rate for a 2-year institution as of 2019 was only 63%. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much better for private for-profit institutions or private nonprofit institutions either. Their retention rates sit at 68% and 74%, respectively.

There are signs that things are changing as NCES also reported that between 2010 to 2019 that overall 6-year graduation rates for first-time, full-time undergraduates climbed from a 58% retention rate to 63%. These retention rates indicate how vital data is in understanding how to tackle retention issues and why student retention management software is essential.

Software Solutions in First Year Student Retention

Obtaining necessary information about students and their usage of on-campus resources can help encourage first-year students to continue their education into the sophomore year. Understanding where there are roadblocks in their education, such as wait times for resources that distract them from getting the help they need or taking time to study, can help shape your institution’s approach to helping first-year students.

Student retention management software can provide your institution with the insight necessary to plan out everything from a first-year experience program to making the case for increasing access to supplemental educational resources. Furthermore, such software can ideally aid in managing wait times and registrations for students and provide them essential notifications to help them succeed.

Qless Can help

One software solution to first year student retention is Qless. Consider scheduling a demo to see how Qless can streamline the services first-year students need. Or, you can contact us online or call us at 1-800-405-4637 for further information.