Provost Willard Gingerich announced in the last senate meeting that the freshman to sophomore retention rate dropped to 80 percent from a low 80s percentage since last fall during the university’s November senate meeting, which is the lowest rate in many years.
Gingerich said that approximately 20 percent of the students who did not return this fall had grade point averages of 3.0 or higher.
“I know a lot of friends of mine came here their first year because they didn’t make it into their top choice school, so once they did the first year [and] got some gen eds out of the way, then they went to the school that they wanted,” said senior family and child studies major Adriana Castro. “This is like a halfway point, so they could start in university as opposed to community college, and then they could go to the school that they wanted.”
Although there could have been several reasons for freshmen to leave after their first year, Gingerich said the statistics found by the university did not include gender and ethnicity to be a factor in the decision.
“We did determine that gender and background apparently had nothing to do with it,” Gingerich said. “It does have to do with financial aid, and it does have to do with first generation college students. It does have to do with folks who weren’t ready for college and struggle. All of those things, you could say, were fairly obvious.”
Senior psychology major Javier Lopez said some of his freshmen friends left Montclair State because they focused more on having fun than doing work.
“I have a lot of friends that came to Montclair the first year and they thought it was like what they saw on TV, so they partied, and they slacked off in their grades,” Lopez said. “Then they failed out eventually, and they just didn’t come back.”
Another student, sophomore production design major Kayla Chang, said reasoning behind the drop could be that sometimes students realize college is just not for them.
“A lot of kids in high school are pushed to go to college and a lot of people don’t understand that there are other options than college like trade school or the military,” Chang said. “I think a lot of people realize that after their first year.”