Retention above average

by James Joy

The steady decline in the freshmen retention rates of public andprivate colleges has become a growing concern among campuses aroundthe nation.

Compared to other private Iowa colleges, Simpson’s retentionnumbers are above average. According to U.S. News and World Report,Simpson College has an average freshmen retention rate of 81percent.

Wartburg College has a retention rate of 77 percent for aslightly smaller undergraduate population than Simpson. Buena VistaUniversity, with the smallest undergraduate population of the threeschools, has a retention rate of 74 percent.

Even though Simpson has a good retention rate, helping studentsadapt to college life is always a concern for the school accordingto Stephanie Krauth, associate dean of students.

“The national trend of sophomores leaving their school isgrowing, but we feel good about our retention rates,” Krauthsaid.

Jim Thorius, vice president of student development, said thatSimpson works very hard to make college worthwhile.

“Our goal is to help students have a good, meaningful collegeexperience,” Thorius said. “Retention of students is a byproduct ofthat experience.”

Freshman Jayson Crawford feels Simpson has done a good jobhelping him adapt to his new life in college.

“I think that they are meeting my needs, just enough to help getcomfortable, but not too much,” Crawford said. “I have gotten aroutine down, and that has helped.”

However, freshman Anne Johnson believes that some of the LiberalArts Seminar events could be improved in order to keep the studentsmore interested.

“My [meetings with my LAS class] needed to be shortened,”Johnson said. “They were all too long.”

“Our student retention compares very favorably to other Iowaschools, but we want to do more,” Krauth said. “We are currentlylooking at other colleges like Beloit College and taking note ofwhat is working for them.”

“Sophomore Year Initiative Program” is a program at BeloitCollege in Wisconsin directed at sophomores to help them stay onthe path toward graduation as well as reminding them they’re stillpart of the campus community.