On August 23rd, 66 new students* unpacked their luggage in North Hall. Four weeks later their rooms might be messier, but none moved out. College Registrar Donna Evans confirmed that as of September 17th, no single drop-out had been registered among the entering class.
A 0% attrition rate has not been known since the days of Bob Devine’s presidency. Director of Institutional Research Doug Wamer stated that perfect retention had not been reached since the Fall of 1998.
In Fall 2005 the attrition rate was 12% for the same period, according to data from institutional research and the registrar’s. In Fall 2006, we had lost 9% of the entering class by fourth week.
Director of Admissions Angie Glukhov ventured several reasons to account for the resilience of the class of 2011. More accurate information was given to prospective students about Antioch as the new curriculum was more clearly defined, and there was better targeting of potential Antiochians. “The last two years, we have been working very hard in admissions to recruit students for whom Antioch is the absolute right choice,” recounted Glukhov. She also mentioned recent community efforts to improve retention; “campus visits, meetings with faculty, creating networks on campus to help retention really made a difference,” she declared. The fact that a preliminary screening process naturally took place after the June decision is also to take into account. “I think the announcement set everyone thinking very hard about Antioch and their educational options,” said Glukhov, “The Office of Transition made sure that everyone knew what to expect if they decided to come.”
Some might see an irony in achieving an exemplar retention rate in the current circumstances. But despite having to make it through their first term of college in an institution with a minimal operations budget, having to work their schedule around the limited open hours of most facilities, taking up to 22 academic credits with a library that is not fully functioning, having to deal with the anxiety caused by an uncertain future, and, last but not least, having to save their college, first years are hanging on. And we might come to ask ourselves, with Registrar Donna Evans, “If we hadn’t had the suspension of operations, how many students would we have retained?”
* degree seeking, full time students (not including exchange)