A college’s retention rate reflects the student body’s overall interest in the college. This figure can explain many factors that compose the attractiveness of a college, including the quality of its teaching staff, the relevance of the curriculum, and the perceived value of what is being taught. The retention rate figures are provided by the Peterson’s database. Peterson’s defines retention rate as the percentage of first-time bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree-seeking undergraduates from fall 2011 who enrolled again in fall 2012.
The Peterson’s database did not have retention rate figures for all of the colleges on our list. We did not, however, want to penalize those colleges without data. To that end, we simply excluded those schools from the rankings in this category.