College Applications Predict Graduation Rates

56 percent of students who enroll in a four-year college earn a bachelor’s degree. More than half of first-year students are simply underprepared for college-level work.

College admissions officers are reviewing grades, SAT scores, teacher recommendations and essays. Admissions is asking whether the student deserves to be at that institution. Perhaps, they should be asking a different question… Will the student make it to graduation?

IDEA Hidden deep in the details of a college application are correlations that determine the likelihood a Freshman will make it to senior year. What does the student’s father do for a living? Did Mom go to a similar school? What was the size of the high school? The size of the town? What grades did the students get in certain electives? Is the student the first of the siblings to attend college?

Not only are the answers in these applications, they are provided by the graduating seniors. I can see admissions doing exit interviews with seniors and changing the incoming application process. One day, we may ask on a college application how many nights a week the family has a meal around the dinner table. This could be a measure of student independence as much as it is about family support.