University maintains high retention rate at semester

A recent release of this year’s freshman retention rate shows that 96 percent of freshmen returned for their second semesters at Bradley.

For Vice President of Student Affairs Alan Galsky, this number proves the 2009-10 school year had a good start.

“Anything above a 95 is a successful figure for mid-term retention,” he said.

For the past decade, Bradley has been among the best private colleges for its retention rate.

The average percent of freshman students at a selective private college who return for their sophomore year is approximately 81 percent. Since 1990, Bradley has been above that rate.

This year, 87 percent of last year’s freshmen returned to Bradley for their sophomore year.

“I think such a large percentage of students return because we provide an educational environment that is satisfying to both student and parent,” Galsky said.

In addition to the overall campus environment, Galsky said the academic programs allow students to feel confident enough in their academic endeavors to return for the next school year.

“We have a program called Turning Point for students on academic probation for the first time,” he said. “We also have a gateway program where borderline admitted students get one-on-one help. We also offer several opportunities for students to receive tutoring.”

Students said the environment and quality of the academics at Bradley compels them to continue their education here.

Civil engineering graduate student Hui Liu said, “I got my bachelor’s degree in China, worked five years, and then came to Bradley to gain more knowledge. It doesn’t surprise me that so many students continue to come here. If you have the time and the money, this is a very good school to attend.”

Freshman secondary education and English major Ashley Hamilton said the above-average rate of returning students does not surprise her.

“Bradley has such a sense of community,” Hamilton said. “The individual attention each student receives is probably better than what most other schools can provide. Every professor I have had here just seems to really care.”

Galsky said another reason students remain at Bradley is the opportunities they have to get involved on campus.

“Much of our student body is involved in greek life, and those students who pledge and become active during their freshman or sophomore years here tend to have a higher retention rate,” he said. “It is something enjoyable for them. There are so many ways to be involved on campus, and it makes the students want to stay here when they are a part of something they enjoy.”

Galsky said retention rates are collected by college or program and student race as well. This is done to ensure that every group is within five percentage points of each other, ensuring there is not a sharp drop in returning students in any single section.

“We want to be sure that all the areas are balanced,” he said.

With this year’s freshman class the largest one yet, hopes are high that the trend of the last decade will continue.

“We are providing a superior learning environment for our students,” Galsky said. “And they continue to return.”