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RC Retention Rate Continues To Stay Stable

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Kaitlyn Bell
Staff Writer
Every year college campuses throughout the country struggle with issues on how to be the best and how to keep students enrollment up. All institutions pay close attention to the number of students who decide to drop out or transfer, and aim to reduce these numbers.There are certain qualities which every college or university possesses which fuel students to keep coming back for the next semester.

In regards to Roanoke College, faculty and staff have worked hard to get the school where it is today and this effort is showcased via the increasing retention rate.

Brenda Porter Poggendorf, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid describes the retention rates at RC as having reached as high as 85% and as low as 73.59%.

“[The retention rate is] the college’s indicator of how Roanoke College is doing,” Brenda said, though the retention rate was deemed most successful at 85% in 2004.

There is continual room for improvement which the school monitors closely in order to provide the students with greater quality.

So what keeps the students here?  The majority of students who decide to leave the college will leave during their first and second years. But RC has worked to avoid that through improved programs and facilities. There is always room for improvement and active engagement for students. This can be seen through previous improvements such as students’ suggestion to put a pasta station in the Commons or the renovation and improvement of residence halls on campus.

Poggendorf explained how a key importance of keeping students here also has to do with those who are initially admitted. RC looks for highly motivated students with strong academic profiles who are extremely passionate and enthusiastic about being here.

Poggendorf explains how the input of motivated students who are accepted is important to the number of students who decide to stay enrolled. Those who are passionate about their environment are more likely to remain.

The growth of RC is fueled by larger retention rates rather than by greater class sizes. The school is estimated to grow in size by 1% annually.  Although dropout rates at colleges still pose an issue, they are something to look at with an open mind to improve the college’s overall performance. Overall, it is about quality over quanity.

“We know we can do better and we want to do better. It’s more about the students being successful than the college being successful,” Poggendorf said.

It is about striking a good balance that RC is looking for in retaining a good student body so it can build for the future.