Retention Rates: Student Success Relating to Freshman Seminar and Developmental Courses


The academic records of 2,011 students from six private for-profit higher education schools within a nationwide career-focused system of institutions were collected, organized, categorized, tabulated, and analyzed. The academic records of eight categories of students who had enrolled in any of the six schools within five years of graduating from high school were collected from a database maintained by the headquarters of the system of these institutions. The percentages of retention after the first term, the second term, and the third term of school were analyzed using a Chi-Square test.

The primary findings of this study did not reveal a significant difference in retention rates among the different categories of students receiving and not receiving the treatment of either a freshman seminar and/or the developmental courses. In one school, these analyses revealed a statistically significant difference in the retention rates of students who took a developmental English course and students who took a freshman seminar and a developmental English course; however, a significant difference in retention rates did not appear until after the students’ third term in school. It is unlikely that the treatment of a freshman seminar was the solitary factor impacting this change in retention rates; there are a myriad of possible influences on retention rates following the second term of a student’s enrollment in college. 

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Meryl Epstein, Ed.D.
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