Academics / Enrollment / University

Freshman retention rates high, students return in following years

Recent retention rates show Central Michigan University freshmen seem to be adjusting well with the transition from high school to college.

According to the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, CMU has had a 90.78 percent retention rate of freshmen from first semester to second semester over the past five years, and that figure hasn’t dropped below 90 percent since 1996. Additionally, 77 percent of those freshmen return to CMU for their second year.

Birmingham sophomore Madison Bartelt witnessed her friends come and go during their freshman year.

“I watched four of my friends leave Central. Two of them left after the first semester,” Bartelt said. “One was homesick and the other one was her roommate, so I think she just followed suit. The other two failed out and left at the end of the year.”

In the 2010-11 school year, the second semester retention rate was 90.5 percent, while second-year retention was 75.8 percent.

Students leave for a number of reasons, but Whitehall senior Emma Boulet said she hasn’t seen many of her friends go.

“None of my friends have dropped out or left, but I can see how that would happen,” she said. “In order to get into college, students need a decent grade point average. Once they’re accepted, I think people feel that they don’t need to try, and might leave due to failing out, partying too much or a heavy class load.”

Bartelt said course loads probably influence a lot of students to drop out.

“I guess adjusting to Blackboard and college is difficult, but that should be expected at any college,” she said. “It’s not like CMU is unique in that aspect. Those adjustments shouldn’t be a reason to fail out or leave.”

Boulet said college is a time to grow, learn and accept responsibility.

“Losing your childhood, becoming an adult and accepting responsibility is a shock to most people,” Boulet said. “Accepting that (college) is your new reality is hard, but you’ve got to stick it out.”

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