Retention rates low after second year

The majority of both groups said their main reasons for leaving UK were personal, according to the survey.

Swanson said a series of events and activities have taken place in the past few years, like K Week, to try and keep freshmen at UK, which may be why the retention rate has increased between first- and second-year students.

These events have been put on as a means of furthering the “War on Attrition” since 2007 to improve UK’s retention and graduation rates.

Caitlin Roach, a UK transfer student and psychology and pre-medicine sophomore at the University of Alabama, said it was hard being an out-of-state freshman at UK.

“Pretty much everyone seemed to be from in-state (at UK) and if they weren’t from Kentucky they were from Chicago or Cincinnati,” she said. “But Alabama has students from all over; people who were raised in Alabama are kind of the minority. It’s comforting knowing there are a lot of other out-of-state students here.”

Roach, a Pennsylvania native, said she came to UK because she wanted to challenge herself to meet new people. She was raised on Kentucky basketball and her grandparents live in Lexington.

“I found that my freshman year I didn’t get involved in organizations, which was a combination of my fault and the groups offered didn’t fit my interests. So I applied and got into the honors college at Alabama,” she said.

Preston Cunningham, an economics senior at the University of Louisville and a Louisville native, went to UK his freshman and sophomore years and said that he transferred for personal and convenience reasons.

“I wasn’t really into it my first few years at school, and I made the mistake of dating someone in Louisville for most of the time I was at UK,” Cunningham said. “I didn’t get the full experience while I was there, and I kind of regret that.”

He said he had the opportunity to travel, and when he came back, he was in Louisville for a while. “So I just ended up going back to school at UofL.”

Student Government President Micah Fielden said the retention rates should go up if students begin to feel like they are part of a community.

“By creating communities, such as living learning residence halls, we can help ensure students are comfortable at UK and have the basis of support to feel welcome at school and away from home,” Fielden said. “By improving this support system on campus, I believe retention rates will be positively impacted.”