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Student Achievement

Retention Rate

SMU’s first-year retention rate has slightly risen since 2010, averaging 90 percent. That is in line with those excellent schools considered to be our peers, a complete list of which is at the bottom of this page. Details follow about first-year, degree-seeking students who started in the previous fall semester and who enroll again in the current fall semester.

First Year Retention Rates

Beginning Fall Term Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014  2015 Average
Retained Fall Term Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015  2016  
Southern Methodist University 89 90 89 89 90 91 90
Cohort Peers Average1 90 89 90 90 90   90
Aspirational Peers Average2 95 95 95 96 95   95


Cohort and aspirational peer data for the most recent year has not yet been shared. This page will be updated when that data is received.

1. Cohort peers: institutions which are operationally comparative to SMU. That means they are private, similar in size and in offerings. They include: American University, Baylor University, Boston University, Fordham University, George Washington University, Marquette University, Pepperdine University, Syracuse University, Texas Christian University, University of Denver, University of Miami, and the University of Tulsa.

2. Aspirational peers: institutions with which SMU seeks to be comparable in characteristics and quality. They include: Boston College, Brandeis University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Emory University, Lehigh University, Tufts University, Tulane University, University of Notre Dame, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University.