Innovative Ideas to Improve Student Retention at Community Colleges

by Loise Kinyanjui
Colleges use various methods to improve student retention rates.

Community colleges are keen on their student retention rates because this rate determines the amount of funding a college receives from the government. Some students studying at community colleges choose to dropout or transfer to other colleges for a variety of reasons. These colleges must use innovative ideas to improve student retention rates.

Recruitment Programs

The first step in student retention begins with recruitment. Prospective students need to be well informed to successfully navigate the admissions process and choose classes, majors and other activities. Remember this may be the first time many of these students are dealing with university procedures, and a lack of proper guidance will most likely leave them feeling lost and confused, which may lead to these students changing schools or dropping out altogether. First impressions are important. Making recruitment programs enjoyable and fun leads to a higher student retention rate.

Orientation and Advising Programs

New students need help to get started on campus, and the best way to do this by holding orientation programs. These programs provide a friendly, welcoming atmosphere that helps students feel at home. They also give students a chance to meet people and make friends through fun activities. To maintain the good school relationship initiated with students at orientation, advising programs are strongly recommended. This allows the school to follow up with students on a regular basis. The student's problems can be discussed and solved at these meetings, and students can also be informed on how to improve their academic lives.

Promote and Embrace Diversity

It is an unfortunate fact that some minority students feel alienated and forgotten at community colleges. This feeling can lead some students to decide to dropout of college. Diversity can be promoted and embraced through a number of special campus programs, such as forums, movie and dinner nights with diverse themes and occasional celebrity appearances. When setting up diversity programs, some of the activities should be open to all students to avoid the feeling of favoritism and to avoid student conflicts.

Employment and Financial Aid

Some students dropout of college because of a lack of funds to pay tuition fees. Whereas it may be impossible to assist every student who has financial problems, some students may be employed by a community college. Financial aid may also be granted to a number of students to allow them to pursue their education.

About the Author

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Loise Kinyanjui has been writing since 2009. She works as a features writer with Kitabu Publishers and has contributed news articles to various magazines and newspapers including "Weekly Citizen" and the "Kenyan Times." Kinyanjui holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature from Baraton University.

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