Campus News

To stay or to go

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Every year hundreds of new faces enter Bethel's classrooms for the first time, most of them eager to begin life as a college student. Some of these freshmen, however, will not choose to return the following year. Bethel's retention rate dropped three percent from the 2008-2009 school year to last year. Why is the school losing students? According to Dr. Kathy Gribbon, Vice President of Life Calling and Student Enrichment,  there are lots of reasons why some freshmen choose to leave. Part of the reason she offered is that Bethel has a high acceptance rate. The school does not turn down many applicants and the school has a fairly low set of standards compared to some of the more competitive schools. She suggested that higher requirements would obviously bring in students who may be more cut out for the heavier work load. "Sometimes this really isn't the best place for a particular student," said Dr. Gribbon. "Whether that means Bethel specifically or just college in general." Dr. Gribbon said that some students leave to transfer to other schools. Some don't fully understand what Bethel is all about when first visiting the school and realize that it is not the place they truly want to be at. She also said that sometimes a student just needs a better sense of direction. "I think that by encouraging and helping students to declare a major that is best for them can also help increase our rention rate," said Dr. Gribbon. Students are offered the opportunity to take various career placement and strength finder tests offered by the school. Dr. Gribbon hopes that more will be done during First Year Experience to help students figure out what may best suit them. The Life Calling and Student Enrichment center is also open to talking with students about what may be the real problem and trying to find solutions, whether that means convincing them to continue at Bethel or helping them find an alternative.
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