25 colleges with the unhappiest freshmen

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Last Updated Oct 12, 2011 10:43 AM EDT

In my last post, I revealed the 25 college and universities with the happiest freshmen. Today, I'm sharing the 25 schools with the unhappiest freshmen.

How do you measure if a freshman is unhappy? An easy way is to look at a school's freshmen retention rate, which indicates how many first-year students return for their sophomore year.

The schools on this list have the lowest freshmen retention rates of the 650 top colleges that the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, an education think tank, used when compiling the college rankings for Forbes Magazine. More than half of the schools with the unhappiest freshmen come from the South and Texas.

25 Colleges and Universities With the Unhappiest College Freshmen

  1. Western State College of Colorado
  2. University of Texas, San Antonio
  3. Randolph College (VA)
  4. Lynn University (FL)
  5. Texas A&M University, Kingsville
  6. Franklin Pierce University (NH)
  7. Rocky Mountain College (MT)
  8. Fort Lewis College (CO)
  9. Utah Valley University
  10. Idaho State University
  11. Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi
  12. Oklahoma Wesleyan University
  13. Bethany College (WV)
  14. Lyon College (AR)
  15. Erskine College (SC)
  16. Brigham Young University (ID)
  17. Colorado Mesa University
  18. Columbia College Chicago (IL)
  19. Indiana State University
  20. Clark Atlanta University (GA)
  21. Tuskegee University (AL)
  22. University of Texas, Arlington
  23. University of Central Oklahoma
  24. University of Arkansas, Little Rock
  25. Barry University (FL)
  26. North Greenville University (SC)

What's Behind Freshmen Retention Rates

It's no surprise that the schools where almost all students return for a second year are elite, wealthy institutions such as Yale and Swarthmore College, which happen to be No. 1 and No. 2 on the happiest freshmen list. When I checked the stats, 99% of Yale students returned for a second year.

Schools that encounter trouble getting their students to return tend to be less selective and possess fewer resources.

Sixty one percent of freshmen returned for a second year at Western State College of Colorado, the school with lowest freshmen retention rate of the 650 schools that the center surveyed.

Nationwide, according to an annual freshmen retention study by ACT Inc., 73.3% of students at four-year public schools return for their sophomore year and 72.8% of students at four-year private colleges do the same.

You can find freshmen retention rates for any school by heading to College Results Online.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and Shrinking the Cost of College workbook. She also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.

More From The College Solution:

25 Colleges With the Best Professors in 2011 25 Colleges With the Worst Professors in 2011 Out-of-State Universities: Finding Bargains 19 Colleges That Make You Think 25 Facts About Today's College Freshmen
Unhappy freshman image by khaybe. CC 2.0.

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