Analysis by Institutional Research indicates that independent of one another, completion of 30 credits, completion of a college level math, and completion of a college level composition course in a student’s first academic year increases the odds of retention and graduation. For instance, after controlling for demographic and academic preparation variables, when compared to students who complete 24-29 credits (including both a math and a composition course):

  • Students who complete 30 or more credits, including math and composition, within their first academic year have 67% higher odds of retention and 76% higher odds of graduation;
  • Students who complete 30 or more credits, including math but not composition, within their first academic year have 36% higher odds of retention and 68% higher odds of graduation;
  • Students who complete 24 to 29 credits but do not complete either gateway course within their first academic year have 69% lower odds of retention and 71% lower odds of graduation; 
  • Students who complete 30 credits without including math and composition have 52% lower odds of retention and 45% lower odds of graduation compared to students who complete both gateway courses within 24-29 total completed credits indicating that the total completed credits is less important than completing both gateway courses.

The chart below displays the relative odds for six-year graduation graphically.

Graph of early math and composition completion success