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Retention starts long before the student starts their first class. Best in class institutions understand that retention is impacted by the selection of the target audience and is dramatically impacted by the recruitment process as well as the experience the student has at your institution.
Take our free student retention self-assessment. This assessment will help you identify strengths, weaknesses, gaps and opportunities for improving your retention efforts.
And here’s how we help you improve retention rates:
Market research, specifically in-depth interviews, focus groups and surveys of students that have stopped out and dropped out. During this phase, we gain a deeper understanding into the reasons for their decision not to enroll in more classes and continue on towards the completion of their program. This goes beyond the symptoms such as “demands of work” or “illness” and identifies causes such as policies that prevented the student from successfully completing a course or enrolling in a new term.
Data analytics to identify common traits of those that stop out and drop out which will be used to develop more effective targeting and recruitment processes as well as improve the strategic retention plan. This has included factors such as “single parent, multiple children in home under 18 years of age” and “new job with training demands” or “not involved in any extracurricular activities on campus” - factors well beyond the typical “late assignments”, “absenteeism” etc.
Development of a strategic retention plan that includes goals, objectives, strategies, tactics including budgets, tasks and owners and reporting processes. This will be an institution-wide plan addresses how to identify potential high risk students during the recruitment process and the proper on-boarding process to help them succeed right from the start rather than wait for them to start exhibiting at-risk behavior such as missing classes, failing to submit work etc. Also included are ‘early intervention steps’ that detail proper responses to be made, and by whom, at key stages in the student’s experience so that the student is assisted and back on track long before symptoms produce an unwanted behavior.
Development of a strategic ‘win-back’ plan that targets those students that “stop out” in order to motivate them to enroll in classes (win back their business). This also includes goals, objectives, strategies, tactics, and the projected budgets, project management and reporting processes. Also included are the messages and offers, communication channels/media, processes for bringing them back to your school quickly and efficiently.
NOTE: We define ‘stop out’ as a student that has not enrolled in 2 consecutive terms but has not officially notified the college that they have dropped out. A drop out is someone that has officially notified the college that they no longer wish to attend the college – this includes those that have transferred to other colleges.