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Student Success

The success of our School is tied to the success of our students. Among the most critical measures of success are freshmen retention rates and timely graduation rates. We closely monitor progress against these measures.

Retention Rates

We place significant focus on ensuring freshmen return for sophomore year, since that is traditionally the point when our largest student attrition occurs. Our progress against this measure is clear:

  • Between 2003 and 2007, an average of 75.5% of our freshmen returned to KSU sophomore year.
  • Between 2008 and 2012, an average of 82.3% of our freshmen returned to KSU sophomore year.


The largest increase in retention occurred between 2007 and 2008, when returning freshmen jumped from nearly 75% to 81%.
Kent State University, overall, experienced a similar increase in freshmen retention that year, reflecting the increased attention retention is receiving across the University.

Graduation Rates

We believe four-year graduation should be the standard for undergraduates, an emphasis shared by Kent State University, the State of Ohio, and the Federal Government. We also recognize that college is the largest investment some families will make -- especially in challenging economic times -- so we work with students to ensure they graduate on time to spend less overall on their degrees. 

Our focus on timely graduation has resulted in sharp improvements in the last three years, as four-year and five-year graduation rates have improved significantly.

JMC, Kent Campus: For First-Time, Full-Time Freshmen*

Starting Term Enrolled 1 Yr
2 Yrs 3 Yrs
4 Yrs
5 Yrs
6 Yrs
Fall 2006 256 0.00% 0.00% 1.95% 27.34% 49.61% 54.69%
Fall 2007
249 0.00% 0.00% 0.40% 29.32% 50.20% 57.03%
Fall 2008
209 0.00% 0.00% 1.44% 43.06% 61.72%  
Fall 2009
245 0.00% 0.41% 2.04% 38.37%    


JMC graduation rates are ahead of graduation rates for Kent State University, overall: 

Kent State, Kent Campus:  For First-Time, Full-Time Freshmen*

Starting Term Enrolled 1 Yr
2 Yrs 3 Yrs
4 Yrs
5 Yrs
6 Yrs
Fall 2006 3,696 0.00% 0.60% 1.87% 26.54% 45.10% 50.87%
Fall 2007
3,800 0.00% 0.50% 1.71% 27.16% 45.47% 50.68%
Fall 2008
3,764 0.00% 0.74% 2.26% 30.26% 49.44%  
Fall 2009
4,103 0.00% 0.66% 2.34% 31.85%    


*Students who start at Kent State but transfer and graduate from another institution, are included in Kent State freshman cohorts but do not count as Kent State graduates.

Improvements in College Readiness

Incoming freshmen to the University's Kent Campus in fall 2014 have a 3.31 grade point average (GPA), up slightly over last year's class. The University has become more selective in admitting students to the Kent Campus and is admitting students with stronger high school credentials. As a result, in recent years, the academic performance of JMC freshmen has increased, as these significant improvements in GPA, ACT and SAT scores show:

  • In 2009, the mean high school GPA was 3.18, the mean ACT score was 22.30 and the mean SAT score was 1007.
  • In 2013, the mean high school GPA rose to 3.30, the mean ACT score was 22.84, and the mean SAT score was 1053.

Helping Students Succeed

Students who make a successful transition to the college learning environment and develop solid support networks are more likely to persist and complete their degrees. We are committed to providing students with the support systems necessary to stay in school, graduate on time and achieve their professional aspirations. Our proactive measures include:

  • Focused efforts on recruitment and retention. We are reaching out to students earlier in their high school careers and pursuing high-performing and high-aspirational students, especially those who have taken advanced placement (AP) courses in high school, to help prospective students adapt to college more easily. JMC's Recruitment and Retention Committee, created in 2013, regularly examines JMC recruitment and retention data and refines student outreach strategies accordingly.
  • Relevant and real experiences. We are committed to continually assessing and updating our curriculum to ensure its relevance and rigor, offering a top-notch learning environment with a modern, multimedia facility and exposing students to co-curricular opportunities, especially student media and student professional organizations, that build competence, confidence and personal brands.
  • Committed and accomplished faculty, who provide students with essential context on specific careers, as well as contacts throughout the media and communication industry.
  • Professional academic advisors, who are located in the School to be close to students and faculty, and who stay with students throughout their undergraduate experience to provide individualized support.
  • A professional coordinator of career services, who works with students to help them achieve high-caliber internships and job placements. JMC's Career Services Coordinator hosts workshops each semester to help students develop and polish their resumes and cover letters, and build their personal brands. For many students, these workshops are their first exposure to professional coaching.
  • A professional coordinator of diversity initiatives and a Diversity and Globalization Committee who reach out to all students; encourage diversity in race, ethnicity and thought; and help improve student experience overall.
  • Exposure to professional role models. Events like JMC's Diversity Speaker Series, the CCI CareerExpo, and the "Communication Connections" networking event introduce students to ethnically and occupationally diverse professionals who can become role models, mentors and future employers.
  • Scholarships and monetary awards. In 2014, JMC made history by giving 54 undergraduate and graduate students more than $65,000 in scholarships and financial awards -- our highest totals ever. In 2013, JMC created the Promising Scholar Awards, which provide awards of $2,000 and $3,000 to the 10 strongest freshmen entering JMC in fall semester 2014. This is the first time JMC has offered freshman scholarships that are renewable for up to four years if the students remain in good standing in JMC.
  • Promoting CCI Commons, the College's residential community. Students living in CCI Commons benefit from in-residence academic advising and weekly programs that provide insight into career possibilities and current practices in the communication industry. JMC faculty and staff regularly participate in Commons programs. Students also benefit from living in a community with others who are studying the same major or have similar professional interests. Because of this supportive environment, CCI Commons has developed a solid record of retention among its residents. On average, JMC students comprise more than half of all CCI residents of the Commons each year.
  • Encouraging students to use University learning resources, including:
  • The Academic Success Center, which offers individual, group and online tutoring, peer mentoring and supplemental instruction, in addition to advising students on study strategies, note-taking, test anxiety, time management and proficiency on personal computers.
  • The Writing Commons, which assists students at every stage of the composing and revising process.
  • The Math Emporium. Kent State requires mathematics placement of all new freshman and transfer students who have not successfully completed a college-level mathematics course at another college or university, or earned scores of 3 or higher on the Advancement Placement Calculus AB or Calculus BC test. To determine placement, Kent State uses ALEKS, a software program that assesses each student's mathematical strengths and weaknesses, and then, if necessary, provides a learning module to improve the student's knowledge and skill.
  • Celebrating the success and potential of all students. Near the end of spring semester, JMC hosts Student Success Week to recognize the progress and achievements of JMC students. Activities include the annual CareerExpo, an award ceremony, scholarship dinner, and the Free Food Monday! social event.