Skip to Content

National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Publication Details

Geographic Characteristics and First-Year Retention: An Examination of the Linkages

Author(s): Luo, M., & Williams, J. E.

Citation: Luo, M., & Williams, J. E. (2013). Geographic Characteristics and First-Year Retention: An Examination of the Linkages. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 25(2), 77-94.



Enrollment practitioners commonly discuss the effect of geographic factors on retention at rural or small-city institutions. This study examined the correlations between geographic characteristics of first-year college students’ home location and their retention to the second year at a university located in a small city. The dimension of geographic elements was incorporated into the selected factors of first-year students’ background characteristics, financial aid, and university academic outcomes for analysis by using sequential logistic regression. The results suggested that, controlling other predictor variables, the proximity of home location to campus has a significant relationship with first-year students’ retention while urbanicity of home location does not appear to influence first-year persistence. This study informs institutional policies and practices regarding first-year persistence at rural or small-city colleges and universities.


View Publication   


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.