College student engagement is paramount to success--here are some valuable aspects to remember when it comes to engagement.

4 parts of successful college student engagement


College student engagement is paramount to success--here are some valuable aspects to remember

Key points:

College student engagement is a critical part of success not just for students, but for the institutions where they learn. When students are engaged in their academics and their campus lives, they are more likely to achieve their goals and contribute to an institution’s overall success.

How do you engage students in college?

With such high costs, it should come as no surprise to hear that students have high expectations of their school. However, for many students, there is a key area in which their expectations are not being met–digital support. While investment has been plugged into various areas to advance the clear need for digital transformation in higher education, digital student engagement strategies have been neglected. Many schools still rely on traditional methods of communication–mostly telephone and email. These channels do not and cannot provide students with the support that they want. Growing up surrounded by technology, this generation wants fast, convenient, 24/7 digital support that only an omnichannel approach that includes live chat, chatbots, SMS, and social media can truly provide. A lack of digital student engagement has a snowball effect throughout the institution, from limiting enrollment to reducing retention. Here are the 5 major impacts that universities and colleges are suffering from when they don’t offer the digital support that today’s students expect.

How can student engagement be improved?

For decades, colleges and universities have strived to foster environments that understand and improve various types of student engagement, and many do this by using research models and tools. While this mission-driven work has always been difficult, the last few years have brought these difficulties to unprecedented heights as engagement levels head in a downward trend. Enrollment numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate, and many students are struggling mentally, emotionally, and socially. Institutions need a new approach – one that goes beyond identifying what is happening to uncover why it’s happening. That’s where an experience management strategy with advanced analytics comes in. Using such tools, the higher education community can work to reshape the definition of student success and the next frontier of student engagement. Higher education institutions that invest in and implement innovative methods to understand students individually and provide experiences that surpass their expectations are at the forefront of enhancing student engagement. Here’s how with advanced analytics, colleges, and universities can follow suit.

Are students becoming less engaged?

Students, administrators, and faculty want more certificate and apprenticeship programs, express an ongoing need for mental health support, and demonstrate a continued concern over education accessibility, according to the 2023 State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education report from Instructure, the maker of Canvas LMS. The study, in partnership with Hanover Research, spotlights current trends and movements within higher education and critical drivers of student success and engagement. While the pandemic improved accessibility, as technology and education evolve there remain “learning deserts”–regions throughout the world where there is limited or no access to education opportunities due to geographic constraints such as proximity of education institutions, no access to technology or edtech tools, unreliable Wi-Fi connections or the inability to travel from home. One-quarter (27 percent) of students and educators surveyed believe they live in a learning desert. While these learning deserts still exist, the increased use of technology in education has helped decrease their existence. Here’s how to battle decreasing student engagement with attention to learning deserts and additional engagement tools for students.

What is the importance of academic engagement?

Seventy-nine percent of respondents in a survey agreed registrars should be actively involved in student engagement in higher education across the student life cycle, and 88 percent indicated the same for strategic-enrollment management efforts. A successful registrar is much more than a record gatekeeper–the registrar’s portfolio is central to an institution and engaged in aspects of academic affairs, financial aid, data and technology, compliance and records management. Through this portfolio they create, maintain and are continuously engaged in improving the student experience and student success. Here’s more on how registrars are essential for student engagement.

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Laura Ascione

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