‘Unknowns’ Have Highest Graduation Rate


(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)

(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)
(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)

While most college students who drop out are freshmen and sophomores, a number of juniors and seniors also leave before completing their degrees.
Fifty-nine percent of college students in the United States graduate within six years, according to 2012 data from the National Center of Education Statistics. The U’s average is similar, with 56 percent of students graduating in six years. But the U’s rate is the lowest among Pac-12 schools. Stanford has the highest six-year graduation rate at 96 percent, and every school besides ASU and the U have rates above 60 percent.
These numbers are complicated for U students. They don’t include transfer students, part-time students, students who take a semester off to work or students who serve religious missions.
The ethnic group most likely to graduate is “unknown” — students who marked their ethnic group as unknown on admission. This most commonly includes mixed race and Latino/a students who don’t identify with the ethnicities the U provides in admissions packets.
For freshmen entering college in 2007, 44 percent of unknown students graduated in five years, compared to nearly 38 percent of white students, 30 percent of non-white students, and 28 percent of foreign-born students.
Dalena Tran, a senior in film, said school can conflict with passion. Instead of stretching you, it demoralizes you, she said.
“Sitting in a classroom, doing what the school wants and not what you’re passionate for, you get desensitized,” Tran said.
Mike Sadoon, a junior in exercise & sports science, said dropping out isn’t an option for his job.
“My dream job is [physician assisting] school, and it wouldn’t be right for me to drop out and focus on something else,” Sadoon said.
Alissa Allred, a junior in art, said dropping out makes pursuing a career more difficult, even if it would make pursuing art easier.
“I’ve always wanted to come to the U,” Allred said. “I was interested in anthropology before, and I [later] decided it wasn’t for me. I looked at other art schools, like the art institute, and the cost was pretty high. I have a scholarship here, and since they have a pretty good art program, I should take advantage of it. I’m minoring in art tech, so I want to have a computer background to be more marketable to other places.”
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