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Numbers show more freshmen returning to ASU


December 15, 2008

More ASU freshmen are persisting toward their degrees than ever before, with a record number returning to campus for their sophomore year this fall. Freshman retention hit an all-time high of 79.5 percent, six points higher than 10 years ago and more than 11 points higher than the early 1990s.

ASU has made retention a university priority, adding improvements to advising and academic success programs, according to Art Blakemore, vice provost. Colleges now are responsible for improving their own retention in ways that are specific to their students and programs.

Twenty-three advisers have been added to guide students better, along with an eAdvisor online program to get students into majors that best fit their interests and abilities. ASU also instituted an online critical tracking system to assure that students are progressing toward their degrees.

Students get academic status reports twice a semester.

There are more tutors at Student Success Centers on each campus, with free walk-in tutoring and academic skills classes, and writing centers provide one-on-one tutorials and workshops. Supplemental Instruction also has been expanded, offering weekly study and review sessions for students in large lecture classes. Math placement tests have been made mandatory.

Freshmen also are encouraged to live on campus in residence halls. About 4,700 freshmen participate in the First Year Residential Experience program, helping them make a successful transition from high school to college.

ASU President Michael Crow has set a goal of 90 percent freshman persistence in ASU’s strategic plan.  Freshman persistence hovered at 67 percent to 69 percent for most of the 1980s, reaching 73.3 percent for the freshmen who enrolled in fall 1997.