Students and technology

Retention has been an ongoing problem with colleges and universities, as they continuously struggle to prevent both new and existing students from switching schools. However, retention rates seem to be decreasing, with a notable 0.8% drop from 2018 to 2019. Hopefully, this trend will continue in the years to come. 

But what about now? What are some ways to increase student retention at this moment? One thing that can significantly help is technology. With an increasing number of innovations in this field, we can rely on tech to carry us through challenging times. So, let’s see some of the ways that technology can help in this case.

Increase Student Connection via Messaging

The first of the 5 ways to increase student retention is quite simple and direct — communicate with students more through their preferred messaging platform. As you might know, university and college students spend up to six hours on their mobile devices every day. With that in mind, messaging is a great way to keep up with them without going overboard.

Luckily, technological advancements have helped in this aspect by offering numerous messaging tools and apps. Some of the most popular solutions include WhatsApp and Messenger, but traditional SMS texting is still an option as well. This is a terrific way for advisors, assistants, and even professors to connect with students and give them a helping hand.

Rely on Message Boards

While we’re on the subject of messaging, we have to mention that large campuses often struggle to include all students in some type of social activity. That’s where online message boards step in. They represent a great way to promote inclusivity and invite students to join various activities, like clubs, social events, and more.

We have to note that these message boards are especially beneficial for first-year students who may find it challenging to fit in. It is a great way to introduce new engagement opportunities and make them explore something new.

Introduce Chatbots for Greater Engagement 

Technology has allowed people to get access to new information easily. Thus, many online websites offer chatbots to boost engagement. This approach is now widely accepted by colleges and universities — more on that here.

Although most chatbots are automated, they can still provide useful information and data to students. These tools facilitate self-discovery practices. Moreover, many higher education establishments have even hired live assistants who can help with more complicated matters. By using the chat box, students will get all the information they need in no time.

Use AI to Process Feedback

Artificial intelligence (AI) has proven to be extremely beneficial in all spheres, including this one. With an increasing number of people attending colleges and universities, AI can gather information and learn student preferences and behaviors to create material that aligns with their needs and wants. This can include different programs, activities, and so on.

AI does not violate student privacy but gathers data based on students’ social media posts, chatbot responses, online forum replies, and more. This allows AI to process feedback and prepare adequate responses. Since students are often more active through such digital channels, this enables AI to analyze their behavior and provide responses regarding their after-school activities, extracurriculars, and even transportation or food.

Send Targeted Surveys

If you want to target students with specific questions, you can easily do so through surveys. These represent a great and optimized way to find out what students are thinking. You will be able to collect direct feedback, thus improving their overall experience. Targeted surveys allow you to find out how students feel about not only their classes and professors but also housing, advisors, campus activities, on-campus clubs, and more. 

Such surveys are also a great way to encourage student participation. Not many students like to engage in on-campus polls, but online ones typically represent a popular alternative.

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