The *2011-2012 Cornell Fact Book* states that in 2011, the first-year retention rate was 79%. That is, 79% of the entering cohort in 2010 remained at Cornell for their second year.

The retention rate has hovered around this level since 2000, and the six-year graduation rate is in the ballpark of 70%. In any case, it is in the College’s best interest to maximize its retention rate and thereby the number of students who remain and eventually graduate. The goal of my Independent Study Statistics project was to investigate the factors affecting student retention rate at Cornell.

Considering data from the 2008, 2009, and 2010 entering cohorts, I sought to answer two questions: which students are most likely to leave based on pre-college influences, such as high school GPA, and which students are most likely to leave based on in-college influences like whether they take a First Year Seminar course. Answers to these questions will hopefully assist the Admissions Office in admitting students more prudently and help the College prevent current students from leaving.

Amanda Brucker, ’13

Dahinda, IL

Major: Mathematics

Sponsor: Ann Cannon