Thirty percent of students will eventually transfer out of GC at some point during their four years, with the most likely time being within their first two years.
The 2013 freshman class had an 85 percent retention rate, however sophomore year that number dropped to only a 68 percent retention rate. The next two years the rates stayed steady in the low 60s.
Ramon Blakley, the director of admissions, said that while GC doesn’t lose a large number of them, it still loses a fair amount of students from sophomore to junior year.
“And this could be based upon any number of things. Students deciding they want to do a different major, or students who had an intention of transferring from the time they got here in the beginning, but they never disclose that obviously.” Blakley said.
Chris Ferland, the Associate Vice President of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, said the pattern in GC’s retention rates have been stable at the same percentages for years with only minor fluctuations.
While most of GC’s retention rates decreased slightly from 2015 to 2016, the junior year retention rate saw a 1.23 percent increase. Junior year is when most students graduate and transfer from two-year colleges. That said, this statistic is likely affected by incoming transfer students.
According to GC’s 2017 Fact Book, there were 299 transfer students out of 5,987 enrolled undergraduates. That means approximately 5 percent of all full time students in 2017 had newly-transferred from other colleges.
The Fact Book also says that the largest amount of transfers came from the two-year college, GMC.
There was a total of 85 transfer students from GMC in 2017, while the second highest school transfer rate was Georgia State University with only 22 student transfers.
Although she doesn’t have the chance to talk to every transfer student, Rachel Linder, GC Transfer Admissions, gave a few reasons why some decided to transfer to GC.
“Some students say [they transfer to GC] for financial reasons if they went out of state their first year, and then want to come back in-state.” Linder said.
She said others attend bigger colleges and transfer because they feel overwhelmed and would rather go somewhere smaller to focus on their academics. And then some students, Linder said, always wanted to be GC students, but started elsewhere because it was what worked best for them in the beginning.
Senior Thomas Lanthripp, an English major, is one such students who transferred to GC after graduating from GMC in 2016.
“I had originally planned to go to Georgia Southern, but I was put off due to the larger class sizes,” Lanthripp said. “GC was also just closer [to home], and has more of a small town feel to it.”
Another thing that drew him in were the notable alumni, like Flannery O’Connor.
Lanthripp also liked that GC seemed to be more dedicated to the liberal arts departments than most other colleges he had considered.
“I love the library and also how the college takes into account its rich history,” Lanthripp said. “Also the amount of activities is amazing; there’s almost something for everybody. The various people and professors here have also been wonderful.”
Transferring, however, also presented him with a learning curve.
“It took a bit of time trying to learn the various buildings and operations,” Lanthripp said. “And there isn’t really as much of an orientation for transfer students as there is freshmen.”