College Sophomore on Student Retention

We wanted to get a first-hand account from an actual student, so we interviewed a Sophomore who recently transferred from one North Carolina university to another.

Student retention is one of the biggest issues higher education institutions face.  It’s sometimes difficult to nail down why students leave a university, so we asked an actual college student for her thoughts on her previous university and the one she is transferring to.  (For purposes of protecting the university reputations, we have change the previous school to University A and the new school to University B)

Suporta: What do you need from the college as you transition to the other?

Breielle S.: I transferred from University A to [local tech school], back to University A, and now I’m going to University B. First off, there was no clear direction or answers on whether or not I had to communicate the transfer between schools. Everything turned out fine in the end, but that was the source of my anxiety.

Being new to the process, I did not set up a counseling appointment at University A before leaving for University B. It’s important to do this to ensure as many of your credits as possible are transferable to the next college. In my opinion, a “transfer” meeting with either counselor at each school should be mandatory.  Orientation was a necessity, too; learning the layout of the school is so important for me to feel comfortable and prepared.

Suporta:  Why are you leaving the original school?

Breielle S.:  Although I do like the atmosphere of University A, there just isn’t enough opportunity in the area for internships or professional employment and development. Plus, I wanted to go to University B originally.

Suporta: What is the importance of ongoing communication from the school to student?

Breielle S.:  It’s extremely important throughout the entire process, not just to ease anxiety for the student, but to prepare them for their school career. Most of the things I was concerned about due to the lack of clear communication were things I probably could have figured out on my own. I wanted to make sure that my classes were transferable, everything was being done above board and I wouldn’t run into any problems (such as my admittance being revoked).

Suporta: What type of support did you get from the admissions team after enrollment?

Breielle S.:  At University A, there was less support because I wasn’t really technically a transfer – I was “continuing my education.” The counselor for my major group at University B was very helpful. I was still in *City removed (at University A) when I was accepted and had to meet with my counselor, so they were flexible in setting up an advising appointment via phone.  My counselor from University B contacted me very promptly after my admittance and helped me set up a schedule that would get me on track to be where someone my year should be in that specific major. She also helped me set up an orientation date. After the phone call, she sent me a lot of paperwork that gave me a lot more information on classes for my major and the classes I’d be taking in the next few years. This eased a lot of anxiety for me during the process.

Our student interview helped shed light on the concerns that many students have when beginning their higher education career or when transferring universities.  It also helped better understand why some students transfer, and what universities can do to combat high transfer rates or beef up their student retention efforts.