Today’s students are more easily discouraged than those of previous generations. If they take a course or two they didn’t need, they may drop out. But even though they are less resilient, they’re also more tech savvy and expect communication to be fairly instantaneous. Students don’t use email. They text you at 2 a.m. when they are studying to ask questions.
The global middle class is growing—and it’s hungry for education. But traditional delivery models in higher education don’t fit the modern student, who has to weigh the time and costs in earning a degree with its tangible benefits. Thus, the emerging models for higher education must be accelerated, focused, and market-driven. And, they have to be accessible and affordable. It’s a tall order.
Internationally, our higher education system is considered a jewel, but too few students are completing and too many are shouldering hefty debt. So what’s on the horizon to change?
The numbers are sobering. An estimated 400,000 students drop out of college every year. More than 40 percent of American students who begin at four-year colleges don’t earn a degree in six years. When community colleges are added to the mix, the numbers are even more dismal: Only about half of students actually earn a degree.
More than 800 colleges and universities have made SAT/ACT scores optional for applicants. As admissions offices refine their processes accordingly, flexible technology and new data models are essential to success.
First of a series: Using the principles of “choice architecture” and enrollment management software, admissions offices can structure student outreach to guide students toward good decisions that lead to student success.
You know what’s great? The mapping application on your smartphone. Sit down in your car and type in an address; within seconds you’re provided with several routes that promise to get you to your destination. Depending on your app of choice, you might even be able to see which route will get you there fastest, with the least amount of traffic.
It stands to reason that a highly competitive student would want to get into a highly competitive institution.
Likewise, most institutions want to attract students who are primed for success. But, as more students pursue the promise of a higher education, competition for seats at the nation’s top-flight colleges and universities has reached a fever pitch.
Backed by a challenge from President Obama and several national education organizations, the nation’s colleges and universities have actively embraced the completion agenda, implementing countless pilot projects and initiatives to keep students enrolled and progressing toward their academic goals.
When it comes to student retention, there’s no shortage of opinions on campus. Everybody seems to have an idea for what their college or university needs to do to keep students enrolled and engaged. And here’s the thing: Some of those ideas might actually work.