“First-year college students are truly like strangers in a strange land” (Chaskes, 1996).
Navigating a new and sometimes large campus ecosystem could be daunting for new students. They are bound to feel like outsiders until they assimilate the culture and practices in the new campus. It is only natural for them to be vulnerable and nervous, given that most of them are young and out of home for the first time.
The first year of college is a high-stakes time: nationally, 29 percent of students do not return for the second year of college at four-year institutions. At two-year colleges, 46 percent do not return after the first year (ACT, 2009).
Failing to retain enrolled students not only costs the Institution financially but also slows down the general mission towards student success. Outlined below are few attributes of first-year students:
- First-year college students today show more diversity in terms of age and ethnicity than in previous generations. They are also more likely to report financial gain as a primary reason to obtain a college education (Pryor, Hurtado, Saenz, Santos, & Korn, 2007).
- First-year students are more likely to be the first in their family to go to college and more likely to have English as a second language (Keup & Kinzie, 2007).
- This cohort of students is more likely to report that they expect to be involved in co-curricular or service activities, to study abroad, and to be satisfied overall with their college experience. (Pryor et al., 2010)
How do we engage this new crop of students?
It’s no secret that millennial students are engrossed in their everyday electronic devices for majority of their waking hours. Therefore, it is best to engage them through the means they most prefer i.e. their mobile phones.
Use a college-branded mobile app to address their queries, respond to their questions, nip their issues in the bud before it becomes a problem, give them a self-service channel, create gateways for outreach to specific college departments, invite them to events, give them their class schedule on a college calendar, let them become part of learning and leisure student communities, send them targeted messages and notifications, allow them to chat etc. It is even possible for you to do all this by slotting the individual student into a Persona that best fits her profile; say international student, adult learner, athlete etc.
e2s offers you tools to accomplish all the above and more. It helps you create an effective communication channel to bridge the natural gap between the first-year students and the Institution. You can even engage in proactive advising using automated engagement pathways customized for each student thus creating a robust campus support system. e2s solutions are designed to address the entire student journey from enrollment to graduation and beyond.
About us: We help transform campus engagement automation for leading universities globally, with our tailor-made student lifecycle management solutions, and empower prospects, students and alumni with mobile apps.