Mobile app showing a notification of a class timetable change

BLOG – How can a mobile solution improve student retention?

In the US, the national average college retention rate is 79% – that leaves 21% of students dropping out by the end of their freshman year. This number ranges from over 90% down to nearly half, meaning one in two will not make it to year two. This is a number the entire university and its staff would love to improve.

Another success metric is the graduation rate, defined by the percentage of students who graduated within 150% of the original timeframe (six years for a four-year college). In the US the average is between 60-70% depending on whether it is a public or private institution. One in three will not graduate in six years, but will still have accumulated the debt.

There is no lack of discussion around the causes of these retention issues, but little consensus on one root cause. Frequent themes include insufficient high school preparation, bad course choices, poor match for college life, and changes in social and financial circumstances. Despite the lack of a simple cause and effect, there is a strong correlation between lack of engagement and failure.

So how can your campus mobile solution increase that student engagement?

Driving student engagement is central to the campusM strategy, both at an academic level and in student life. A student’s happiness is impacted by what happens in their daily life as much as their classroom experience. So what are the features that drive student engagement inside and out of the learning experience?

Within the classroom, iBeacon-based physical attendance monitoring ensures that the attendance record is preserved within the SIS or LMS, so that any negative patterns can trigger interventions and notifications. Statistically 80-90% of class students subscribe to such automated attendance monitoring. While the professor checks the remaining students off a list, the popularity of the automated attendance allows for significantly reduced time on collecting that data.

Also academically related, students see their class schedule at-a-glance without diving into buried menus. The LMS also presents important information at-a-glance such as outstanding assignments, current grades, and easy access to course material on their phones, tablets, or computers.

It has also been argued that prospective students also need to be better informed on the academic life and student life they are about to encounter. Providing this information clearly and conveniently on mobile devices is the preferred way for them to engage pre-admission.

But it’s not all about academia. There are things we find frustrating and others we find remarkably convenient such as knowing how many minutes until the next bus arrives or knowing that two books are overdue and three others are ready for pickup. Maybe a student drags a basket of dirty clothes down three flights of stairs only to find all the machines in use when the app could have informed them of availability. Or perhaps a student fights with heavy rain or snow at 7.15am only to discover the 8am class was cancelled.

If better communication helps develop the bond between a college and its students, then campusM achieves this by making it both real-time, accurate, and consumable at-a-glance with live tiles that is more reminiscent of a dashboard view.

On a softer note, students frequently report a sense of isolation and ‘not-belonging.’ Clubs and societies bring students together to be something greater than the sum of the parts. campusM filters the noise and information and only delivers what the student cares about. This concept of relevance is driven by world-leading personalization features in campusM. Images, news feeds, links, and the very user interface itself are geared entirely to what the student considers relevant. Finally, as a true organic solution that is self-sustaining and always fresh, campusM has special but optional provisions enabling select students to generate and manage content. This builds a sense of community that echoes the introduction of social media two decades ago.

campusM increases retention by boosting student engagement, both inside and outside the classroom. Click here to learn more about how campusM drives student engagement.

Author Bob Banerjee – Solutions Architect, campusM Mobile Solutions.