app college

Are campuses delivering the kind of app students want?


A survey reveals that students think their campus app is far behind commercial apps they use.

A large majority of students (87 percent) said they want their higher-ed institution to be technologically savvy, according to a new survey from software provider Ellucian.

Tech savviness is even more important for nontraditional students (93 percent) and those working full time (95 percent).

The survey, Students Are Looking for Personalized Digital Experiences: Do Colleges Deliver?, reveals that 97 percent of participating students said technology outside the classroom is just as important to their success as technology inside the classroom.

The results indicate that personalization should drive the app users experience, with nearly three in five (58 percent) students reporting that of all the companies or entities they engage with, their college is the furthest behind in personalizing their experience.

(Next page: How do students most want to use an app to connect with their institution?)

Sixty-eight percent of students whose college offers a centralized campus app were overwhelmed by the volume of information their college provided when they first started their higher education journey.

When no app was offered, 85 percent of students believe it would have made the transition to college easier as well as increased their participation in student organizations.

Accessing information isn’t always streamlined for students, though–85 percent said their school has a centralized application, but on average, students said they log in to four different platforms to access college-related information or activities.

The study also found that students most want to see data-driven personalization for:

  • Career preparation: job assistance and interview training (29 percent)
  • Finances: tuition and financial aid (28 percent)
  • Academic matters: course registration and checking grades (25 percent)
  • Student life: housing and student organizations (18 percent)

Ninety-four percent of students said they believe connecting with faculty members, other students, and course suggestions based on academic performance and interest would help them feel more emotionally connected to their institutions.

Students said that institutions can make them feel more emotionally connected to their school by:

  • Creating ways to connect with other students or make friends (56 percent)
  • Suggesting coursework based on academic performance and interests (47 percent)
  • Proposing potential event attendance based on student major or interests (45 percent)
  • Delivering alerts for school deadlines (44 percent)
  • Crafting opportunities to connect with faculty (42 percent)
  • Suggesting ideas for supplemental resources or tutoring (26 percent)
  • 81 percent of students believe social media fosters an emotional connection to their campus and is essential to modern student life
  • Preferred platforms: Facebook (33 percent) and their college’s centralized app (30 percent)

Laura Ascione