Simpson maintains high retention rates

by Karl Lang

Simpson’s student retention this year is slightly higher than in past years, but the college would still like to improve.

About 95 percent of the college’s full-time students returned this semester. Jim Thorius, vice president of student development, is pleased with that retention rate.

“The good news is, as you can see by the numbers, the larger percentage of the students eligible to return, returned,” Thorius said.

Some students did not return, however. Simpson lost 72 full-time students between semesters. According to Thorius, there is a variety of reasons students decide not to return.

“Some students leave because of a change in academic interests, some leave because of family issues, because of personal issues, the students expectations of the experience wasn’t what they thought it would be and financial concerns,” Thorius said. “Some of the students leave at the semester because they graduate.”

The new students who arrived this semester also factor into these numbers.

Maria Bondaruk, a freshman who arrived at Simpson this semester, decided to come here for several reasons.

“I am at Simpson because it was close to home, and it’s a small school,” Bondaruk said.

Simpson created several orientation activities to help transition students to the college, and therefore make them more likely to stay here.

Despite the already high rate, the college faculty is working toward improving the retention rate. They have had several meetings to discuss ways to help students better fit into the Simpson community. They have been reevaluating current programs and looking into suggestions for improvement.

“One of the things we are engaged in looking at from retention is how we can help students make the adjustment from where they come from – for most of our students that’s high school – to college more smoothly,” Thorius said. “How we can help them get connected to the Simpson community and the Simpson experience?”

Students at Simpson stay for the same reasons Thorius mentioned. Students, such as freshman Ben Manchester, enjoy the community and the experience that Simpson offers to their students.

“I stayed at Simpson because I like the professors, there are plenty of women, the campus is nice, I am able to stay involved in activities and I have a good time here.”