Freshman Retention Rate Report Reveals Slight Decrease

by Jules Gonsoulin

editor in chief

One important statistic colleges pay close attention to is retention, particularly in freshmen and first-year students. High retention rates serve to ensure prospective students that they will be satisfactorily pleased by their college experience through the end of their first semester. At a time when the Millsaps admissions staff is focusing heavy efforts on increasing applications and enrollment, freshmen retention rates are even more important, and any decrease is worth noting.

This semester, the retention rate of undergraduate freshmen dropped ever so slightly, from 92.4 percent to 92 percent.

Students obviously have different expectations of their first year at college, and those who leave have different reasons. At any rate, the college pays close attention to the rising and falling of freshman retention, and although it cannot please all students, changes on campus are driven by student satisfaction.

Will Robbins, a freshman from Vicksburg, Mississippi, credits the “design your own major” program for his dedication to the college.

“I haven’t seen another school with programs so easy to customize to fit my needs and administration so willing to assist in that process,” Robbins said. Undoubtedly, this unique program is motivation for more than a handful of students to remain at Millsaps. Quality of education in general seems to be a common reason students stay in Jackson.

Clayton McDonnell, a freshman from Roswell, Georgia, explained that the stellar education he is receiving really encouraged him to stay at Millsaps. However, his classes were not the only motivation to stay.

McDonnell also credits his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and his friends as added reason to remain at the college. A vast portion of the students at Millsaps are involved in either a fraternity or sorority, and it is safe to say that many students would rather remain at a college where they feel they are part of a group of friends.

While Geek life and a quality education are two aspects many students enjoy about Millsaps, a rigorous academic system may also be an unavoidable cause to the decreased retention this semester. McDonnell agrees that his friends who left after just one semester probably left due to poor grades.