Friendship plays an important role in student retention, says study

The issues of graduation rates and student retention are hot topics in the higher education world. Many colleges, in light of proposed reductions in federal education funding, are attempting to improve student retention rates, or the percentage of students who actually graduate from the school. According to a new study published by Social Psychology of Education shows that friendship and individuals' social involvement play an important role in whether or not students graduate, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Although factors such as a student's financial background, ethnic group and academic achievement are considered primary indicators of an individual's likelihood to graduate, the study suggests that friendships also play an important role in student retention.

The results of the study indicate that students whose friends dropped out were five times more likely to do so themselves, whereas students with acquaintances who remained in college were more than twice as likely to continue their studies as a result.

Some college fraternities realize the importance of social bonds and how they affect student retention. According to its official website, Alpha Phi Omega operates a Friendship and Retention grant program to enable chapters to develop social programs to engage students and boost retention rates.

Since so many academic professionals believe in the importance of friendship in students' college decisions, be sure to take this information to heart during your freshman year. You will meet some of your best friends in college, so open up your dorm room door and don't be afraid to meet new people.


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