The purpose of the study is to assess the extent to which counselling services in universities in Kenya influences students’ retention rate. The study was carried out in 2018 where one hundred and one medical students in first year second semester from two public universities were studied to determine the effectiveness of counselling services on retention rate of undergraduate students. Quantitative data were collected using questionnaires while qualitative data were collected using focus group discussions. The student participants were divided into two groups: experimental group and control group. The experimental group underwent 12 sessions of psycho-education counselling. At the end of the psycho-education programme, it was found that there were statistically significant differences between group means as determined by two-way ANOVA (F(1,99) = 4.470, p = 0.037), thereby revealing that counselling services significantly influence the retention rate of students. Students in the experiment group had a higher retention rate and were therefore more likely to graduate ahead of those in the control group. From the results, counselling equipped students with knowledge and skills that helped them deal with developmental issues that often interfere with their studies hence higher retention rate. Recommendations and implications of the study are discussed.
Key words: Retention, retention rate, psycho-education, counselling services, selected universities.
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