Differences between Graduation, Acceptance, and Retention Rates at Colleges


When doing your research on all of the different universities that you are looking into attending, they’re going to be so many different terms that will come up that may be kind of confusing.

Colleges really pride themselves on all of their different statistics and ratings.

These are the best ways for colleges to show their success and what great things their students are doing. It is also a great way for them to show how many of their students are actually graduating and things like that.

These are honestly a pretty good source of information about the places that you were looking at, as long as you understand what the words actually mean. Some of them are going to be pretty obvious when talking about different success rates of finding careers, and just the overall number of people taking your major.

Of course, every person is going to have different things they care about most.

But three things that should be important to every person looking into colleges are the graduation rate, acceptance rate, and retention rate of each place that you were looking into.

This really gives you a good overall look at the place you were going to attend and how their students do.

Looking at how current and past students have done a university can really tell you how your time at a university may be.

Obviously, there are a lot of things that go into deciding what college you’re going to go to.

However, it is definitely useful to know what they mean and what they represent. If you are deciding between your top two or three this could honestly help you a lot. It looks like you’re going to have to do some research in, memorizing, and studying before you even get to your school.

You might not have known before that you actually have to study the schools you’re going to go to before you even get there.

Here are some explanations of what these different terms mean and represent.

Graduation Rate

This is probably the most obvious out of the three terms that we are talking about today.

Basically, the graduation rate is the percentage of students that actually graduate out of all of the students that attend the university. To get more specific, most universities with the graduation rate represents the percentage of first-year students who graduate within 150% of the time of their program.

This basically means that if a student starts out in a four-year program but graduate in six years they are going to count as a graduate students in the graduation rate.

What this does will basically show you how many students dropped out or transferred.

It is really nice to know how many students actually graduate from the schools you are looking to attend. You obviously want to choose a school that you see yourself graduating at, and this percentage can really help you.

If the graduation rate is really low this means that there are probably a lot of students that have dropped out or transferred which is probably not a good statistic to see. The national average Of a college graduation rate currently is about 59%.

This is a pretty good way for you to judge if your graduation rate is good or bad.

This means that if the graduation rate at your school is any higher than the average, this means that the school has more first-year students graduate compared to the average.

This is definitely a good trait to have. Since the goal when you go to college is to graduate and actually have your diploma and degree, I feel of this percentage rate can actually tell a lot about a university and why you should go there.

What is the Average College Graduation Rate

Graduation rates are going to be different with each school. If you want to check out college graduation rates for a specific college then check out http://www.collegeresults.org/. We provided a sample below of what the site will show you when you type in the university you are interested in viewing graduation rates.

Below we also show graphs from CollegeResults.org on Ohio State Universities four, five and six-year graduation rates.

Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate is the percentage of students that are actually admitted at the University out of all of the students who applied.

What this is going to do is show you how competitive the school that you are applying to actually is.

The lower the acceptance rate the lower your chances of getting into the school are.

Some good things to look at when looking at the acceptance rate would also be the average ACT scores, GPA, and percent in the class. When I say percent in the class I mean being in the top 10%, 25%, etc. of your class. All of these things usually go into why the acceptance rate is what it is.

The higher the average ACT, the lower the acceptance rate. Usually, lower acceptance rates also show the academic rigor of a university. Schools with low acceptance rates are definitely the universities that have the best education and hardest academic rigor.

For instance, schools like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc. are going to have some of the lowest acceptance rates. Getting into a school with a lower acceptance rate than the median is definitely going to put you in a school with harder education than others.

This makes sense because in order to be able to successfully be a part of this education process you will have to have higher GPAs and test scores.

This does not mean that schools with higher acceptance rates are not good. Just because the school has a higher acceptance rate does not mean the school’s education is any less than schools with strict acceptance policies.

This should help you focus on which schools are going to be the hardest to get into and also which schools are going to have some courses that are maybe a little harder than others. It never hurts to apply to every college that you can.

Even if you think there’s a slim chance of you getting in because of the low acceptance rate, you might as well still take a chance because you never know what the college is going to see in you.

The national acceptance rate for a four-year university is currently 66.1%. This is a good statistic to use when comparing your top college choices.

Retention Rate

For me personally, I think that the retention rate is one of the most important things about a college.

Retention rate is how many first-year freshmen come back for their sophomore year. So this means that you’re seeing the percentage of people that actually wanted to stay at this university and didn’t transfer or drop out.

Obviously, your college education is very important, but your mental health and having a good time at college is also very important. Sometimes we focus so much on the actual education, finances, and work that we forget about actually enjoying our time as a college student.

No matter how good everything is including the education if you are not having a good time you are more than likely not going to stay at that university. The retention rate really shows you how many students actually enjoy being a part of this university.

For an internship that I’m a part of the summer, we talked a lot about the retention rate. I learned that there are many factors that go into different programs your freshman year to ensure that you transition into college well and really want to come back to whatever university you are at your second year.

I think this is very important because the reason that I am so fond of the university that I am at is because of all the experiences and opportunities that I had as a first-year student. Without these, I’m not sure how I would’ve done and how well I would’ve transitioned into being a responsible adult.

College is a big change and you may not realize just how much you were going to go through until you get there. The staffing and opportunity are really what makes a difference in how you do your first year.

I have had so many friends who have transferred or dropped out after their first year because of the bad experiences that they have had. Basically, the bad experiences that they had their first year determine whether they were going to say at this university and actually graduate. This is why the retention rate is so important.

The chart below comes from US News retention rates.

What is the Average Retention Rate of College Students

You can also check out US News this link provided. They provide retention rate averages of many colleges and universities.

First-year students in college 1 in 3 will not make it back for their sophomore year. I was one of those people and the reason was money. I waited a few years saved up money from working and applied for grants to then go back to school and get my degree. Low retention rate is not always the universities fault but some are better than others with helping students

The graph came from NSC Research Center

Conclusion

Overall, because choosing a college is so important and has such a big effect on your life, it is important to just have as much information about it as you can. This is why I think that these terms are important to know and understand. In the end, they are simply just tours to help you find the college that best suits you.

Don’t get too caught up in the numbers because there are a lot more aspects than just these terms alone. Do you what you need to do to find a college that will help you get the education that you need, and hopefully the knowledge of these terms will help you along the way.

You don’t know where to start on your college journey read where to start to go to college.

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