ADU's First Year Retention Rates Increase to 92%
17 April 2019
Abu Dhabi University (ADU) has witnessed a significant rise in first year retention rates from 89% to 92%, placing it among the top private universities in the UAE for high retention rates. This increase, which denotes the percentage of students remaining at the university to study between the fall and spring semesters, was accomplished through close advisory, academic, and social support and efforts to enhance the student experience during freshman year.
Dr. Heather Friesen, Director of Organizational Planning and Strategy at ADU, said, “One of the ways we enhance the student experience is through the strategic use of student data and analytics. By examining various factors that influence student success, as well as indicators of student engagement, we are able to direct support to students at risk, thereby helping them identify and address challenges at an early stage. We also use this data to better understand student engagement patterns and ensure the focus is on the students’ priorities.”
First year retention rates are a key indicator used to measure a university’s overall ranking, in addition to prospective students using it as an indicator to determine a university’s quality and overall student satisfaction levels.
Dr. Sreethi Nair, Dean of University College, commented: “Our faculty, staff, and students work closely together to help our students achieve academic success. A key to encouraging this process is our overall holistic learning experience, inside and outside the classroom, which helps our community grow in a positive learning environment. By providing students with platforms to reflect on their own learning and access to support, ADU allows them to successfully navigate through their academic journey. We consider our students’ successes of utmost priority.”
In 2016, the US’s average retention rates indicated that 61.1 percent of students were retained at their starting institution.
ADU adopts a ‘Students First’ approach with special attention given to new students to help them seamlessly transition into university life. This has had a positive impact on reducing the number of students who leave the University for non-personal reasons such as relocation or financial burdens.
Professor Philip Hamill, Associate Provost, commented, “Supporting student success requires a team effort from everyone tasked with guiding students throughout their academic journey. This improvement in retention reflects the hard work that has been put into this process. Improvement in retention means more students have the opportunity to continue their studies and their journey to graduation with the requisite knowledge, skills, and competencies to develop professionally and to have a meaningful impact on society and the organizations they will work for.”
During the 2019 Spring commencement ceremony, ADU graduated 1,762 students across all colleges, which indicates a 30 percent increase in graduating students compared to last year.
Abu Dhabi University continues to enhance student engagement academically, through extracurricular activities and university governance, which sees students at the university take on leading roles in the university’s committees and senior appointment panels. ADU also prioritizes investment in student facilities that aim to further enhance student life and student engagement. These facilities include a new Innovation Centre, an Academic Success Centre, student gymnasium, a FIFA standard football pitch and an outdoor running track. The university is set to open the new Al Ain campus by end of this year, which will also have a number of academic and recreational facilities.
According to the QS World Universities Rankings, ADU ranks in the top 701-750 universities worldwide, the top 150 leading institutions under 50 years, the top 27 universities in the Arab World, and the top 6 in the UAE. Being rated 3rd globally for international faculty and 10th for international students, we consider diversity to be among our key strengths.