The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Survey says:

Should I stay or should I go? This question crosses the minds of thousands of students at colleges across the country. But here at Guilford, it can no longer be ignored.To address this growing concern, we conducted a survey of 100 Guilford students. The survey was created so we could better understand how our peers felt about this issue.


Sophomore Sean Scudder is currently an art major at Guilford. But his unkempt hair and glowing smile may be fading as he makes plans to transfer.

Scudder came here to get far from home and to be in a warm climate, as well as to attend a small school with many different possibilities.

After two years here, his view has shifted. Now he thinks that bigger is better. He has no faith in the administration, and the segregated social scene drives him crazy. “ I feel a lot of people don’t belong here,” he said. “They make it uncomfortable and ruin the campus.”

Scudder is not leaving without good memories, he said. But he is also not alone in his desire for change.

Survey Says…

Over the last three years, there has been a steady decline in Guilford’s student retention rates. The most prone to leave are students like Scudder, current sophomores leaving before their junior year. The class of 1998, with the worst retention rate in recent history, started with 316 students, but dropped to 242 by sophomore year and 200 by junior year.

Quotes from our survey seem to further elaborate the cause of the transfer phenomenon.

Many students expressed a longing for home. “I came here because I liked the idea of going to school far from home. I was WRONG.”

Other students found problems with where their money is going. “As expensive as this place is, it seems like they could afford decent food.”

Still others wanted a different lifestyle altogether. “ I am interested in joining a sorority,” said one survey recipient. “I want a bigger campus. More opportunities to meet people like me.”

Dealing with what Guilford is rather than what some students thought it was also came up in the results. “Guilford hypes itself up way too much. It is not what it likes to say it is. There is no school spirit, and students are not as accepting as they say. There is nothing that would keep me here.”

Students also expressed a lack of faith in the administration. “ I dislike the people that run the institute [sic], and how they run it.”

Out of 50 first-years who took the survey, 20 were seriously considering leaving Guilford, 18 had considered leaving, but were undecided, and 12 had no intention of leaving. Out of 30 sophomores, 12 were serious about leaving, and 18 were undecided. Every sophomore had at one point considered leaving.

Out of ten juniors and seniors who took the survey, three had never thought about leaving, and seven had considered leaving but had chosen to stay. Out of ten transfer students, four had no intention of leaving, three had thought about leaving but chose not to, and three were very serious about leaving.

A change must come…

Retention is becoming a growing concern among many members of the staff. In response to the concern, Randy Doss created the Retention Committee. It is a little known fact among student that such a committee even exists, or that the administration is recognizing retention as a concern. The committee discusses individual student policies, issues within residence halls, and student comments.

Doss, however, does not feel that retention is something that can be fixed in a committee, but rather relies upon “the day-to-day aspects of the college. Every staff member is involved in this situation. The committee is only to bring structure to the day-to-day efforts.”

But is this enough? Leslie Moss, Director of Student Activities, encourages students to take a leading role in changing the things that cause their discontent. “If there is something that you don’t like, take the initiative to change it,” she said. “If you there aren’t any clubs that interest you, start your own. Promoting what you want to do has to start somewhere.”

In response to the concern about the seemingly negative social atmosphere on campus, Dean of Student Life Mona Olds has an enthusiastic view. “There has to be some sort of balance between academics and non-academics. It is achievable and can happen. Communication has to be reached first,” she said.

The survey found that a large majority of students felt that the administration was not taking a big enough interest in student concerns about staying here. The administration, however, was very open to ideas and the results of the survey. When speaking to members of the faculty regarding this article, the most common responses were positive ones. “How can I help?” they asked, or said “I can’t wait to see the results.” It is in the interest of the students, as well as the faculty, to listen to each other in solving these problems, not complaining or idly agreeing.

How can the gap be bridged? These two quotes from the survey might represent both sides. “We have lost our voice,” said one student. “Listen to students, and listen to faculty.”

Another student wrote, “ It is up to the students to change this school for the better.” A solution could be found in one word: communication.

“Everything I need is here”

The survey also provided some positive feedback. Many students are content with Guilford and plan to stay here.

Last year, junior Laura Registrato transferred to Guilford from NYU. She values the small-school atmosphere and the lack of Greek life that Guilford offers. “At many schools you either get into a sorority or have a really tough time getting a social life,” she said. Guilford may not have the academic reputation that NYU has, but Laura remains content. “Everything that I need is here,” she said. “I never had a professor that I did not like.” She sees Guilford as a safety net, thanks to the “sense of community where students and faculty share common ground.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *