A constant problem facing most high education institutions is how to increase their student retention. Student retention in this regard refers to the completion and graduation rate of students from a program or overall school. While there may already be programs in place that stand to increase student retention such as internship placement or online social communities, if these numbers start to decline there are other methods available that can be beneficial. Below are more options to consider when looking for methods in increasing student retention including feedback programs, building a community, and applying real-life situations to course material.
Start by getting feedback from the students that have dropped out, graduated, and are still attending classes. Feedback can be gathered from exit interviews, regular surveys, and even phone calls. The surveys can included questions that gauge student perspective on subjects like program curriculums and tuition costs. If this information is gathered regularly, changes can be made where applicable.
2. Build a Community
Try and build a community within the school. Getting students involved with each other and with the school builds a sense of pride. This can be accomplished by inclusive, interdepartmental activities that get students together and interacting. Students will be more apt to finish a program in a school that brings it’s student body together. On a similar note, build bridges! If possible, have interdepartmental collaboration. Bring students together to complete larger projects to prepare students for collaborations that will be presented in their career outside of school.
3. Support Programs
Curate an effective support program that focuses on providing help to students in need. Having easily accessible peer tutors available is a great method to keep students engaged and encouraged in their programs. A mentor program or established role models can have the same effect for students as well. This can then stem into the development of intervention programs for at-risk students. Reaching them before they leave the institution can have healthy long-term effects that will serve to also benefit the school. If there is a student who seems to be in crisis due to personal, financial, or even academic problems, provide them with information on resources offered through the school.
4. Successful Habits
Teaching successful habits will keep students in the know in regards to what is expected of them through their academic career. Use orientations and seminars to keep students up to date on expectations set by the institution. Students should be kept up to date on what GPA is needed to be in good standing as well as what resources are available to them and how to access them. etting short-term goals is a tangible way to monitor students progress. Based on the results of these goals being met or otherwise, additional programs can be put in place to ensure students are following the correct academic track. As these goals are met, celebrate them. Graduation is the ultimate celebration of academic achievement and for some, that long-term goal might seem too far into the future. Acknowledging the completion of the smaller goals will encourage those students to continue and complete their degree without feeling discouraged.
5. Real Life Application
Make sure coursework and projects are related to real life applications. Students will start to see the payoff for their efforts and they will feel further encouraged to continue on in their track to completion. By relating this way, students will further understand what their future employers will expect of them during their careers and will reinforce their belief in the work they are doing.
These are but a few ways to increase student retention, and while not every option may work for you, we here at Gas Jockeys have over 25 years of experience in improving student retention. Give us a call today, or send us an email to get started!