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K-State Today

October 7, 2014



Sophomores achieve record academic success

By Steven Dandaneau and Mike Lynch

Since 1985, when statistics were first kept, no cohort of first-time, full-time freshman has enjoyed greater overall academic success than the students who compose the majority of K-State's current second-year students. K-State students achieved a record high 83.27 percent first-to-second year rate of retention, an increase of more than 2 percentage points in one year, putting the university well on its way to achieving its K-State 2025 goal.

First-to-second year retention rates, along with six-year graduation rates, are commonly used measures of student success. These measures are so vital that both are among the eight K-State 2025 benchmark measures. In order to earn recognition as a Top 50 public research university by 2025, K-State is striving to achieve 90 percent first-to-second year retention and 70 percent six-year graduation rates. Every student's success counts.

The math says that when approximately 38 students succeed academically, K-State's first-to-second year retention rate increases 1 percentage point. To reach our K-State 2025 goal, we are working to help an approximately 250 additional students to progress from the first to the second year of study. While perhaps a lofty ambition, we feel that 90 percent retention is an eminently achievable as well as laudable goal.

After all, behind such abstract figures as retention and graduation rates lies considerable effort as well as rich and diverse experiences. We appreciate the students themselves, whose own hard work is paramount, but also, of course, the faculty and staff who collaborate to teach and support them.

While everyone — literally, everyone — contributes to K-State's overall student success, we also note the special role played by a new program, Plan for Success, which introduced academic or life coaching to Kansas State University. Students who benefited from wrap-around academic and life coaching enjoyed impressive levels of academic success.

Indeed, many Plan for Success alumni are among what may be K-State's most academically successful sophomore class. Congratulations to them, and to all of K-State's highly dedicated and hard-working students.

Steve Dandaneau
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies

Mike Lynch
Associate Vice President for Student Life