Millikin’s retention rate increases

Caitlin Husted, Staff Writer

The retention of students at Millikin University was an extensively discussed topic over the past couple of years. This year, a student census taken during the spring semester determined that Millikin had a 94 percent retention rate for the First Year class from fall of 2013 to spring of 2014, which is five percent higher than last year’s percentage.

Last year was an unexpected drop resulting in losing seven percent of the freshman class—approximately 30 students—and ending the term with only an 89 percent retention rate. Many reasons contributed for the departure of these students, which include personal or family issues, financial barriers, getting off-track academically or not finding their place at Millikin.

“One of the biggest issues I’ve seen in talking to students who have left [Millikin] who are upperclassmen is that they’ve gotten off track with their program and maybe they’re going to another institution to finish more quickly than they could finish at Millikin,” Dean of Students Raphaella Prange said.

Since this appears to be a prevalent issue at Millikin, new ideas are being researched and enforced in order to make sure that students stay on track.

One idea that is already enforced is the use of second advisors. With the use of these extra advisors, students who don’t have frequent access to their academic advisor still have someone that they can go to with additional questions or when they need extra help.

Another idea that is still being put together and researched is the Peer Mentoring Program. With this program, upperclassmen will act as guides to fellow students in their selected majors and help them make the correct decisions on which path of classes to take.

“The goal of the program is to give upperclassmen the opportunity to really engage with the underclassmen in their program and build cohesion within the major,” Student Senate Vice President of Academic Affairs, and creator of the program, Jared Rixstine said.

In the Peer Mentoring program mentors will offer workshops a couple of times a semester before scheduling day to talk with students and help them understand the requirements for their field of study. This extra help relieves some of the stress felt by academic advisors on scheduling day, and allows these advisors to discuss other topics than the students’ schedules. With new ideas being researched and put into practice, Millikin faculty members hope that the retention rate of students will continue to rise.