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Freshman retention rate up to 85 percent, yet 33 percent don’t graduate

Seton Hall’s freshman retention rate has been steadily increasing from 2010 to 2015, with 85 percent of freshmen retained in 2015, according to College Factual’s website.

But after starting strong, Seton Hall students seem to run into obstacles that keep them from finishing. According to College Factual, 66.4 percent of students graduate and 56 percent of students graduate on time, the website, said.

With graduation quickly approaching, the retention and graduation rates have been on the minds of some administrators.

Dr. Tracy Gottlieb, vice president of Student Services, commented on why she feels 33 percent of SHU students don’t graduate.

“Sometimes life happens, and the unanticipated happens,” Gottlieb said. “The biggest stumbling block is finances. Seton Hall is expensive, and college is expensive.”

Gottlieb also said that the other main reason students do not graduate is poor academic performance. “But we have been doing better with academic performance,” Gottlieb said. “We have so many tools to help the students be successful.”

One of these tools is supplemental instruction. Student Services identifies difficult courses and seeks out a student that has gotten an A in those classes and puts them in the class again. This student then reiterates the main points of the lecture to the students in the class, Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb also noted that the Academic Resource Center (ARC) is always available for tutoring.

Gottlieb added that retention is about graduating “one student at a time.” She said, “I don’t get bogged down in the numbers; I get bogged down in the students.”

Dr. Alyssa McCloud, vice president of Enrollment Management, commented on her initiative, “15 to Finish.”

“I feel it is very important that students understand that in order to graduate on time, they should take at least 15 credits a semester to stay on track,” McCloud said in an email interview. “It is also essential that they meet regularly with their advisors and review their degree audit.”

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Taking 15 credits per semester may not be possible for some students, however, like disabled students. This is because it may be harder for disabled students to get around and maneuver to five classes.

Angela Millman, director of Disability Support Services (DSS), said in an email interview that DSS does not track the retention or graduation of disabled students.

Marcus Ingram, a freshman sports management major, said he is choosing not to return to Seton Hall in the fall.

“I feel like a lot of the things that Seton Hall promised me about campus life never came true,” Ingram said. “There are not many campus events that hold my interest, plus, South Orange is a bad college town.”

Ingram went on to describe his frustration with the lack of things to do around campus. “If you aren’t into underage consumption of alcohol, there is nothing to do at Seton Hall,” he said.

Patrick Condon, also a freshman sports management major, sees things differently and plans to return to Seton Hall for his sophomore year.

“Personally, Seton Hall is the perfect kind of school for me,” Condon said. “It’s small, I like the sense of community, and I’ve applied to several jobs on campus, so that’s another reason to stay.”

Condon went on to describe the community that he feels exists on campus.

“You can’t really go anywhere without seeing someone you know,” Condon said. “That’s a really great thing.”

Isabel Soisson can be reached at


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