The Real Story on Student Retention

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

You see the value of your campus rec center. You know the stories inside and out. From the positive impact on students’ mental and physical health, to engaging the community outside your campus walls, and even influencing students’ decisions on where to attend college, your center is vital to your campus culture. While the impact you’re making is clear inside your organization, it often takes more than anecdotes and stories to convince those outside your center.  

Thanks to organizations like NIRSA, there is a growing body of research illustrating the broad impacts of campus rec centers on student retention. Use this blog as a resource to go beyond anecdata (anecdotal data) and start using robust quantitative data to show the importance of your center in capturing and retaining students.

The largest study to date collected data from 33,500 students attending 38 different colleges and universities across the country In the study, 75% of the surveyed students reported using on-campus rec facilities, and of those, 80% participated in programs and activities at least once per week. It’s a safe bet that the student union is possibly the only campus building seeing more student traffic on a weekly basis than your facility.  

With this information, it is not surprising that 68% of students reported that the recreation facility on campus influenced their decision on which college or university to attend. What’s more, 62% of students found that the programs and activities offered in that facility had an influence on their decision as well.

In the same study, NIRSA reveals another statistic that is sure to turn heads on your campus. In the study, 74% of students reported that campus recreation facilities influenced their decision to continue attending their chosen college or university. That means nearly three-quarters of the student body at any given college or university are retained in part because of campus rec facilities.  

Student satisfaction is often attributed to the quality of professors, the prestige of the institution, the ability to attend specialized courses, and access to state-of-the-art libraries. However, this study demonstrates that campus rec centers also play a large role in determining students’ happiness, wellbeing, and your institution’s ability to retain them.  

With robust data, it becomes easier to tell the entire story of your impact on the campus community. If you struggle with reporting and want to go beyond anecdata and deliver quantitative proof of your center’s worth, book a consultation with our Rec Automation team!

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