Some freshmen, such as Lauren Asermely, spend one semester at Fairfield and then wonder if it is the right place for them.
“Yes, I’ve been thinking about transferring,” said Asermely. “I am not sure that Fairfield is the best school for me. Sometimes I feel very limited here, from the classes and people to the food choices and things to do.”
Other freshmen, such as Kaitlin Auriemma, are planning on staying at Fairfield.
“Fairfield has all that I expected it to have, and I think it has exactly what I was and am looking for in a univeristy,” said Auriemma.
One college cannot please all students, and administrators keep a close eye on the retention rate, or the percentage of students returning each year.
The retention rate for the class of 2008 from freshman to sophomore year was 91 percent, and the retention rate for the class of 2007 from freshman to sophomore year was 90.6 percent, said Debnam Chappell, dean of freshmen.
“Of course we want students who enter Fairfield University to remain here for four years,” said Chappell.
Despite the overcrowding due to the unusually large size of this year’s freshman class, Chappell predicts a 91 percent retention right for the class of 2009.
“The size of the class has not affected the retention rate in the past,”said Chappell. “So I don’t expect that the size will affect our retention rate this year.”
Most students decide to transfer out of Fairfield by the end of the first year of college for three main reasons, said Chappell. One of the most common reasons that students transfer is that they desire to to be closer to home.
Other reasons are that they do not find a niche at the university or they desire to pursue a major that is not offered at Fairfield.
Other students may transfer due to monetary concerns, according to Kurt Schlichting, a sociology professor who conducts research for the admissions office.
“If a family experiences financial difficulty, students transfer to community or state institutions,” said Schlichting.
Asermely is looking to leave for many reasons.
“The excessive parties, stereotypical images and lack of diversity influenced my decision to leave,” said Asermely, who plans to transfer at the end of the school year.
“The university can provide more options to keep us busy and away from alcohol abuse and be more strict in enforcing the policies,” she said. “It should not admit more students than what is comfortable. Too many freshmen are living in unpleasant living situations.”
Other students decide to stay at Fairfield for many reasons. Academic reputation, size and the campus are the top three reasons, said Schlichting. According to Auriemma, a good university has an attractive, clean campus that is not in a city setting. The professors of the classes should know their students personally and should be readily available to the students, she said.
“I love the people at Fairfield,” said Auriemma. “People seem to go out of their way to be nice to other people here.”
“However, I don’t like the current state of housing, particularly freshman and sophomore housing. There are too many forced triples and quads,” she said.
Freshmen transfer to schools all over the map, said Schlichting.
“Some go to public school [and] some [go] to higher ranking schools, [and] some [go] closer to home,” said Schlichting.
Asermely said she may transfer to Boston University, Brown University or Northeastern University.
“Fairfield has all of the important qualities of a good university,” she said. “It is academically challenging, allows for the students to grow and cares about our needs. However, in spite of all this, I feel like I need more. I would like a larger school, one that is closer to home, one that offers majors that are not so general and one that has better living conditions.”