Data Notes: March/April 2012

Delayed Enrollment: Is It a Risk?

Students who delay enrollment in postsecondary education after high school graduation are at higher risk for not completing credentials when compared with students enrolling immediately after high school. Knowing the characteristics of students enrolling immediately after high school graduation compared with those who delay enrollment, along with the variations in their respective outcomes, can help colleges identify the differences between the two populations and tailor their programs to increase student success. This issue of Data Notes examines characteristics outcome differences between students who enroll in Achieving the Dream colleges immediately after high school and those who delay their enrollments. Nearly one-half of students enrolled in Achieving the Dream Colleges directly after high school. The other half delayed their enrollment for some period of time—about one-fifth for one to two years, and one-quarter for five years or more. The findings somewhat support previous findings that delaying enrollment reduces the chances of student success: persistence rates were higher for students enrolling immediately after high school than for those who delayed; however, that did not translate into higher completion and transfer rates for the early enrollees.

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