A good sign!

Key marker of student satisfaction at all-time high

The freshman retention rate—the number of students at a college or university that return for their sophomore year—is 86 percent this year at WWU, marking a 5 percent increase since the 2015–16 school year. The national average retention rate at four-year colleges is 75 percent.

WWU registrar Carolyn Denney said the high retention rate at WWU indicates that students are happy both academically and socially and that they are receiving the support they need to be successful. She credits several programs at WWU for contributing to student retention.

"JumpStart has been an important element of orientation for many years. The program introduces students to campus facilities, policies, and expectations, and connects them with other students," she said. Other factors in retention include the freshman mentoring program, which partners freshmen with a personal mentor for weekly meetings, renewable merit scholarships, and a new class introduced fall quarter 2016 called On Course, which is designed to improve student success by teaching life-skill strategies and study skills.

"We are developing a campus culture that breeds student success," Denney said. "Advisement is more consistent and systematic, faculty are responsive to students who need special attention, and Student Financial Services proactively works with students who are in financial need or in danger of losing their merit scholarship."

Retaining students from the beginning can be significant for their progress. When students transfer from one college to another, they often lose credits, which costs time and money. Increased retention can improve the chance that a student will meet their expected graduation date.

Posted Jan. 8, 2018

Photo of WWU student interacting with other students around her during freshman orientation.
JumpStart, a one-week orientation each fall for incoming freshmen, helps prepare students for life in college.