Other than by chance, no predictive system will get your staff in front of an at-risk student at the exact time that an intervention is required to retain the student. Because only the student knows when his or her internal state of mind has begun to think seriously about dropping out, the institution must have established a relationship and a structure by which a student can reach out for assistance and feel comfortable doing so. Students reach out and retention is an outcome only when students have an authentic relationship with a retention counselor.
The following process measures can help managers insure that retention staff members are doing the things required to establish and maintain authentic relationships with their students. These relationships will improve performance in the incremental retention metrics summarized below as well as in the final retention-to-graduation outcome measure.