Retention: We are not talking about water this time

By Jill C. Hindman
March 15, 2001

Think back to your senior year in high school. The year that you received the countless brochures from various colleges all across the country and in some cases from across the world. Some of them you just overlooked and tossed into the trashcan, but the one you received from Cabrini caught your eye. If it didn’t you would not be reading this right now.

When choosing a college students look at all different factors such as size, location, majors offered, tuition, sports teams and atmosphere. When it is finally narrowed down to that one special place it is expected that you will spend the next four years of your life there. That is the place that you will make friendships that will last your entire life, the place that you may meet your future husband or wife. It is the place that will prepare you to go out into the real world and make something of yourself. Well what happens when you get to the place that was supposed to be your home away form home and you want to leave?

Cabrini’s retention rate, the rate of students that continue at Cabrini each year, has steadily increased over the past few years. For full-time students from freshman to sophomore years the retention rate in 1997 was 74 percent; 1998, 76 percent; and 1999, 78 percent and in 1999 78 percent.

About 75 students transfer out of Cabrini each year. Students leave for various reasons: the cost of a private school is too expensive therefore they transfer to a state college, academic difficulties, a change in major that is not offered here, etc.

“Each student considering transferring is treated individually. If he or she has decided upon a major we don’t offer we would support that student’s decision. If a student is facing academic difficulties or is in need of personal counseling, we would refer them to someone at the college who could offer the right kind of assistance,” explained Dr. Laura Valente, vice president for student development.

Frank Bradley, a senior at Penn State University, transferred out of Cabrini after his sophomore year.

“I liked Cabrini, but after a while I wanted something bigger with more diversity,” explained Bradley. “I felt like I needed to challenge myself more in the classroom.”

It seems as though most students who decide to transfer do so after their freshman or sophomore years. If a student decides to transfer a deciding factor is often how many credits will transfer. Not all schools will accept the credits that have been achieved.

Junior Allison Webb, a student at Temple University, transferred after her sophomore year.

“I think Cabrini is a good transition school. It was an easy adjustment to make form high school, but I wanted to go somewhere bigger,” said Webb. “I wanted to go somewhere that had a broader range of majors to offer, that is why I chose Temple. Even though I transferred I do not regret going to Cabrini. It gave me a good foundation for what I am learning now and I made friends that I will have for the rest of my life.”

A lot of times it is questioned if colleges and universities do anything about the complaints or reasons that they received from students that decide to transfer.

“Feedback from all students, whether or not they transfer is accepted and reviewed. Each suggestion must be analyzed to assess its congruence with Cabrini’s mission,” said Valente.

Shannon Broadhurst, also a junior at Temple, left after her sophomore year.

“What attracted me to Cabrini in the first place was the close-knit atmosphere. When you walked to class you knew practically everyone that you passed on the way, but on the other hand sometimes I wanted to see a new face,” explained Broadhurst.

Junior Jean Chuba transferred to Cabrini this semester from The University of Delaware in Newark, Del. She transferred to Cabrini because after a while Delaware got to be too big for her.

“It was to easy to be lost in the crowd if you did not have your own group. There I was just a number, here I feel like I get more attention from my professors,” explained Chuba.

Many times students complain that there is nothing to do on campus. Chuba explained that that was a common complaint at the University of Delaware too although the settings are very different. Delaware is in a college town; Cabrini is set in the woods.

“I wanted to go somewhere quiet and peaceful to finish up my last two years. One factor that really attracted me to Cabrini was I felt that I would have a better chance at job placement if I graduated from a small private school. That was something that caught my eye in the brochure,” explained Chuba. “I am really glad that I came here. I thought that the transition would be tough, but everyone has been really friendly.”

Junior Donna Kain was considering transferring to West Chester University in the second semester of her sophomore year. She thought that she wanted something bigger, but after a tour of West Chester she realized that she wanted to stay at Cabrini.

“I used to go there all of the time to visit my friends, but once I walked around and saw how big it was I was overwhelmed. I was afraid that I would lose the one-on-one attention that Cabrini has to offer. I had all of my papers filed. Everything was set, but I changed my mind last minute and I am so glad that I did. I have made close relationships with my friends, peers and teachers,” said Kain.

A College Retention Committee is being formed and will begin work over the summer to develop a strategic plan for retention efforts. Valente will chair that committee

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Jill C. Hindman

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