Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




The recent decline in student retention in the choral education program at Utah State University should be cause for concern. Students who are excited and passionate about choir are leaving choral education and/or dropping out of college entirely. However, research into college retention rates and the experiences of choral education students at USU has helped explain this decline in student retention.

My review of research about college retention rates indicates that some of the biggest reasons that students drop out of college are academic difficulty, interpersonal difficulties, and mental health. It also indicates students with a strong sense of support from teachers and friends at their college have a greater likelihood of graduating. The research also indicates that identifying “at-risk” students and directing university resources towards those students has a high chance of increasing student retention between their freshmen and sophomore year.

My research also included interviewing previous and current choral education students from USU about their experience in the program. After carefully reviewing their answers and suggestions, it is clear that this choral education program is missing key aspects of student support that promote retention. At the end of this academic review, I have outlined three major changes to the program that will likely increase student retention by providing new resources to students through USU’s chapter of The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).



Faculty Mentor

Craig Jessop

Departmental Honors Advisor

Sara Bakker