In This Issue
Plan for College 
  Building an educational plan
 Matching Characteristics
 Which program? Which college?
 Requesting College Materials
How to get what you need
The Admission Process
 The application process timeline
The Application
Completing a successful application
Admission or Rejection
Does no really mean no?

Material in Beyond High School is published quarterly by the nonprofit College Planning Network, Campion Tower, 914 E. Jefferson, Seattle, WA 98122, (206) 323-0624.

President and Editor: Douglas J. Breithaupt; Designer: Jeff McClard; Illustrator: Kiam Wright.

Material may be reproduced with acknowledgment of the source.

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Getting In and Staying In

For most high school students, the primary focus of college planning is in selecting and then successfully applying for admission. Getting into college is critical but staying in college is just as important. The 'retention' factor is becoming more important to students, parents and colleges. How many students who start college actually complete their certificate or degree program? According to The Chronicle of Higher Education (10/8/99), 26.4 percent of freshman who started at U.S. colleges in 1996-97, had dropped out by 1997-98.

In the past 15 years, college retention rates have slowly declined. In 1985, 24.9 percent of freshman did not return for the sophomore year in college compared to 26.4 percent in 1998. One key factor in retention is the student's academic history. Simply put, students with better grades in high school are more likely to stay in college. More selective colleges also do better keeping students on campus.

Of course many students may leave one college to attend another that offers desired programs or lower cost. While transferring can be a solution, exchange of credits and re-acclimation to a new campus can be challenging. For the student and parents, the key is to work hard to find the college from the start. Good college planning while in high school is one of the best ways to help a student complete college.

The remainder of this issue of Beyond High School provides an updated focus on how to move through the college selection and admission process. For many students, the most important step to finishing college may be in making sure all the opportunities and challenges of different colleges are carefully considered before making critical choices.
 College Type  No. of Colleges  Dropout Rate
 Highly Selective Colleges (majority of students from top 10% of graduating class)  121 8.8%
 Selective (majority of students from top 25% of graduating class)  407  18.7%
 Traditional (majority of students from top 50% of graduating class)  702  27.7%
 Liberal (some students from below 50% of graduating class)  407  35.0%
 Open (all high school graduates accepted)  903  46.2%
 Source: ACT, study of 2,540 2 amd 4 year colleges