This paper is concerned with identifying how the early student experience can be enhanced in order to improve levels of student retention and achievement. The early student experience is the focus of this project as the literature has consistently declared the first year to be the most critical in shaping persistence decisions. Programme managers of courses with high and low retention rates have been interviewed to identify activities that appear to be associated with good retention rates. The results show that there are similarities in the way programmes with high retention are run, with these features not being prevalent on programmes with low retention. Recommendations of activities that appear likely to enhance the early student experience are provided
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