25 percent of students don’t get to year two

Adria Barbour

Every year, 4,000 freshmen come in. And at least 1,000 don’t make it past their first year.

“We’re bringing in the largest number of students Kent (State) has ever seen, but we lose a lot of students between the first and second year,” said Pete Goldsmith, vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

Many people give different reasons for students leaving.

James Bridges, for example, left after one year for several reasons including grades, inadequate financial aid, increased tuition and inability to handle working at his job and doing his school work.

“I didn’t want to work, but I had to buy little things,” Bridges said. “But the job was interfering with me being successful.”

Bridges said he is happier at Cuyahoga Community College because the tuition was low, and the school was close to home and more personalized.

“I felt going from a big school to a little school would help,” Bridges said. “It would be more compared to high school with smaller classes and one-on-one interaction.”

Bridges also said office hours aren’t sufficient.

“You have maybe one hour and 30 minutes for 100 kids,” he said. “It’s not going work. How does that even average out?”

Students come here without knowing what they want to do, so they leave for a community college because it is cheaper, said Scott McCallen, president of the Kent Interhall Council. Either the student will make this decision or his or her parents will decide for the student.

Todd Cook, commuter and off-campus organization communications director, said some students transfer out because of boredom.

“There aren’t enough activities to do in the dorms, and students go home on the weekend, so it’s difficult to meet people,” Cook said.

The students get frustrated when there aren’t things to do, so they transfer, Goldsmith said.

Wayne Schneider, senior institutional research information officer, conducted a phone survey two years ago asking 200 students why they left the university. He said the most people leave for academic reasons.

“Either the student doesn’t perform enough or they just aren’t happy here,” Schneider said.

The top five reasons students said they left the university, according to the survey, include dissatisfaction with grades, inadequate study habits, wanting to live closer to home, unexpected expenses and family responsibilities, Schneider said.

Aemee Frank, former university student, said the main reason she left was because of family problems. She also indicated she didn’t think high school prepared her for college.

“I don’t think I had very good classes,” Frank said.

Cook said high schools aren’t doing their job to prepare students for college.

“You can restrict enrollment, but that won’t solve the problems of high schools not doing their job,” Cook said. “Students come here and think it will be easy, like high school.”

Eric Lyon, freshman exploratory major, said he thinks a class that teaches how to study for college should be mandatory like the University Orientation class.

Frank said her two-year college experience was hard but fun, like she thought it would be.

Schneider said the students who said they were dissatisfied with their grades were dissatisfied with other things as well.

“When people picked reasons, such as wanting to live close to home, they only picked maybe one or two other choices with which they were dissatisfied,” Schneider said.

Other reasons students mentioned included conflicts with balancing a job and schoolwork, dissatisfaction with social life, uninteresting courses suspension and/or probation and inadequate financial aid.

“Even though people may have gotten all they were eligible for, it may not have still been enough,” Schneider said.

Goldsmith said not all of the students who leave are in bad academic standing.

“We’re losing good students,” Goldsmith said. “Students with above a 3.0 GPA.”

Contact student affairs reporter Adria Barbour at [email protected].