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UConn retention rate one of nation's highest

By Kyle Constable
On May 3, 2013

  • Freshman Jordan Boyman studies for class. UConn has one of the highest freshmen retention rates in the nation. LINDSAY COLLIER

UConn's freshmen retention rate is one of the highest in the nation among public universities, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics.
UConn retained 92.5 percent of last year's freshman class, placing the university at No. 21 in the nation out of all public universities. The data detailed the retention of students admitted in 2011 at schools across the country, with UCLA edging out University of California, Berkeley by 0.1 percent for No. 1 overall at 96.8 percent. Princeton led all private universities with a 99.2 percent freshmen retention rate.
The average four-year public university freshmen retention rate is 72.2 percent, according to ACT, Inc., placing UConn more than 20 percent above the national average.
CBS MoneyWatch's Lynn O'Shaughnessy was the first to compile the data, which was promptly shared by UConn on social media outlets. O'Shaughnessy made the claim that high retention rates are a good indicator of how "happy" students are on campus, though whether retention rates directly correlate with happiness has not been not statistically proven.
Even without the statistical correlation, UConn students seem to be happy with their circumstances.
Brandon St. Jean, a 4th-semester healthcare management major, is a part of the 92.5 percent who stayed at UConn from the class admitted in 2011.
"Academics is definitely a big reason for staying," St. Jean said. "But on top of that, there is a great sense of community, despite being such a large school, and the atmosphere that can be witnessed at sporting events and fundraisers is something that you probably won't see anywhere else."
St. Jean also said that he has enjoyed his experience at UConn during his first two years here and that the thought of transferring "has never really crossed my mind."
While the numbers for the admitted students in 2011 are available, questions remain about the retention of students admitted in 2012. Fortunately for the university, signs indicate another year of high retention rates is likely in store.
Emilia Mason, a 2nd-semester biology major, said UConn is "100 percent the right school for me." After just one year, she has become enamored with the university, which she described as "its own little world out here in the cow fields."
"I would never transfer anywhere else because I can't imagine that any other school would be able to compete with UConn," Mason said. "I've met incredible people here - through my major, my roommate and floor mates and Cru, a Christian group on campus - that I wouldn't trade for any other friends."
Mason said she has played for intramural sports teams and attended many sporting events at the university. She has particularly enjoyed attending UConn women's basketball games to watch her "role model and all-time favorite UConn athlete" Kelly Faris, who was recently drafted by the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
Echoing the sentiment was 2nd-semester physiology and neurobiology major Bryan Ferrigno, who was impressed with the university's efforts to get freshmen connected to the campus community starting at the accepted student days and freshman orientation.
"UConn does an excellent job of making its incoming freshmen students feel welcome and an integral part of the community," Ferrigno said. "UConn acknowledges the importance of making its [first-year students] become quickly adapted to the university way of life, more so than many other colleges around."
Allison Battista, a 2nd-semester pre-teaching and Spanish major, considered transferring after the end of her first semester but decided to stay at UConn because she was "truly a Husky at heart" and knew she "would be unhappy anywhere else."
Battista said the range of classes and networking opportunities offered at the university could not be found at "just any college." She also added that the close proximity to home played a big role in keeping her here as well.
While some UConn students and alumni have been upset with the university's recent rebranding efforts, most students still enjoy attending the university and opportunities it affords them. This factor has been the most significant in keeping students at the school.
"I've been given the opportunity to do some amazing things that I never dreamed of doing before coming here," St. Jean said. "And I really look forward to what my next two years have in store."

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