Oklahoma State University’s freshman retention numbers are up for the third consecutive year.
The university has bolstered its focus on retention across the board in recent years. Since the Office of First Year Success was created in 2017, OSU’s freshman retention rate has steadily climbed and is now nearly 10 percentage points higher than the national average. Now, the Office of First Year Success, along with other university partners, is looking to continue that trend.
Missy Wikle, assistant vice president of transition and retention, said her office is expanding its outreach, offering resources to students to ensure they stay on track.
“First Year Success focuses on improving student success and retention to the sophomore year,” she said. “The primary functional areas focus on financial understanding/well-being and individual student engagement with campus resources and connections to others in their cohort.”
The Office of First Year Success aims to identity and support students who may be at risk of dropping out before their sophomore year by analyzing various data points, such as academic data.
“That data, coupled with all important referrals from faculty and staff and the relationships built with our students and campus partners, paints a clearer picture of the barriers a student may have in negotiating the freshman-to-sophomore transition,” Wikle said.
With such resources like campus connection coaches and financial planning counselors, the Office of First Year Success is a proven resource for students. At OSU’s inaugural Retention to Graduation Conference in March, Dr. Christie Hawkins, associate vice president and director of Institutional Research and Information Management, noted that it’s also a resource for the university and that proactive approach will help it continue to build on its current freshman retention rate, which climbed 1 percent each of the last three years.
“Our analytical tools help us better identify incoming students who could benefit from the resources available across OSU,” she said. “Employing more comprehensive data than has historically been available can significantly improve our understanding of factors contributing to higher first year retention and ultimately student success.”
For more information about how the Office of First Year Success and its resources, visit okla.st/success.
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