Keep the Students You Work Hard to Recruit

Female college admissions counselor speaks to student.

One Student Retention Success Story

Susan is newly charged with improving student retention. She has learned from students that the problems they face are complex, and that well-timed student support services were making a key difference for many of them.

As the summer break approaches, Susan is feeling increased pressure. She knows that it will soon be much more difficult for herself and her colleagues to maintain strong relationships with the first-year class. Susan knows that their work has made a significant difference for many students over the winter, and their efforts to continue those relationships could not just take a vacation.

Susan needs to find a way to help students focus on their self-development over the summer. The solution would need to be virtual, flexible, and appealing. Any successful program would need to validate students’ achievements to date and offer insights about where to focus going forward. Most importantly, the connection between the university and the student would communicate that the university is committed to celebrating its students’ success and resilience.

Susan’s idea involved providing each first-year student with a personal assessment of their drive to succeed, problem-solving, creativity, foresight, and resilience to lock in their self-awareness of strengths they had achieved during their first year. The data from the entire group would help improve how Susan and her colleagues communicate with students over the summer and to identify students who may be at risk of not returning. The data can also help identify students who most benefit from a connection to the student services teams.

While Susan knew there was no extra money in the university’s budget, she also knew that a well-focused program, with a likely positive bottom line, usually found support from the provost. She knew that every first-year student who returned in the Fall to pursue their educational goals was a success story for her team at the university. Each returning student meant $12,500 more in net tuition, so a few thousand dollars spent now would be worth it if she could increase the Fall re-enrollment by even one student. Equipped with the details of how quickly and easily she’d be able to provide students with their individual student success mindset assessment, she put together her proposal. In this case, her Provost supported and approved the student retention plan.

The next day, Susan contacted Insight Assessment and we matched her needs with our College Student Success tool. She previewed the assessment and we explained how her first-year students can access and complete their mindset surveys at their own convenience. An individual report would be made available to the students as they completed their surveys, but more importantly, Susan would be set up with a dashboard of reports on the student data. Susan was also excited to learn that the College Student Success tool offers an assessment of critical thinking skills. Each student could learn where their skills were strong, and where they had room for growth.  Susan knows that in-depth assessment of reasoning and problem solving will help educators address gaps and help students succeed. 

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