Intelligent digital technologies can help create personalized experiences that foster increased engagement that helps students.

How creating personalized experiences can help colleges retain students

Intelligent digital technologies can improve the student experience and foster increased engagement that benefits students and institutions

With a sharp two-year decline in undergraduate enrollment and a dropout rate that stands at around 40 percent for four-year institutions, colleges are urgently searching for new and creative ways to retain their students.

While the causes behind those figures are myriad, from Covid-19 to financial, academic, and social challenges, the effort to reverse prevailing enrollment and retention trends is now laser-focused on understanding, measuring, and improving the student “experience” in the broadest sense as a means of bolstering student engagement.

As the nonprofit Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC) notes, “Research shows that students who feel connected to their college are more likely to succeed in their courses, persist from term to term, and achieve their educational goals.” Another organization, NSSE, points to research that draws a solid link between student engagement and retention.

How, then, can institutions increase student engagement? The IEBC is helping schools do that with a “caring campus” faculty and staff coaching program. Others are eying targeted strategies around increased parental involvement and scholarship money, for example. And some are taking a cue from the B2C world by focusing on delivering the kind of personalized experiences that consumers of every kind, students included, increasingly demand.

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