The buzz about the future of Higher Ed has been circling for quite some time. As a (fairly) recent graduate, I’ve heard several discussions and forecasts of what college experiences will be like just a few short years from now which are both energizing and nerve-wracking. I recently stumbled across a Fast Co. Exist article, ‘5 Bold Predictions for the Future of Higher Education,’ that discusses their biggest and boldest predictions for the coming years. Unlike many of the articles that I’ve read, today’s problems confirm Brad Lukanic’s predictions for the future: students are changing and to be successful, Higher Ed will have to change with them.
Lukanic’s predictions stuck with me because they closely align with Call-Em-All’s. We all know that experiences on your campus dictate the success of how you are able to retain students each semester. These same experiences shared through word-of mouth, strategic marketing, and the use of social media are the driving factors that will attract students to your school. In number three on Lukanic’s list, he says that Student recruitment and retention will be more important than ever.
Your ability to create and to communicate expectations, deadlines, and other important details may be the key difference between a good and bad experience. Students bring their devices everywhere with them – it’s just a fact. He also states that Higher Education needs to invest in technology and we couldn't agree more. “[Institutions need] to respond to the “mobility shift” which allows educators and students to be nimble and engaged from anywhere.” Without the ability to adapt to this changing dynamic, schools will be left behind.
The ability to communicate in a language that modern students understand is vital. They are always on their mobile devices: searching the web, texting, sharing on social media, etc. It can only benefit schools to get on board with this method of communicating.
Embracing the Change
Higher Education has not always embraced the notion that technology helps drive the success and longevity of institutions. The fact that schools must change and adapt as their students change is evident in many ways, yet so often ignored. Our recent exposure to Higher Ed institutions has confirmed one thing: there will be significant changes within the Higher Ed sector in the coming years. Arguably those changes can be traced back to financial implications, the changing demographics of a “typical” student, and the increase in technology among students.
“This might sound paradoxical, but investments in education technology will be increasingly crucial to humanizing and improving the student experience.”
Change is Coming by Dan Greenstein
Obviously we aren’t in a position to comment or make judgments of the financial status of Higher Ed institutions so we will just stick to what we know and tell you how we see it. Simply put, we believe that technology can help combat the difficulties in recruiting new students and help retain students by preparing them and equipping them for success.
What can you do to improve affect retention and recruiting?
Better communicate important messages to students proactively. Use Call-Em-All to send reminders about deadlines and important dates before it’s too late.
Be transparent in your expectations and the consequences. Send a call or text to students in jeopardy of being dropped from their classes to let them know that they will be forced to re-enroll and that their spots may not be available if their balances aren’t paid in full.
Target communication to only those that apply or need it. Students feel like emails don’t apply to them. Too often they are sent bulk emails that are not applicable so they begin to ignore all emails. Send calls or texts to only students that need them! Reinforce the urgency that calls and texts mean ACTION!
Inform & Empower
Give students the information that they need to make good decisions and to be successful in a manner that they understand. Teach financial literacy, hold students accountable, and help them build financial responsibility by putting the ball in their court. Track calls and text messages as evidence of notifications sent directly to their mobile device or phone numbers.
TEXT, TEXT, TEXT!
The students are texting so you should too! “Texting” has developed from a buzzword into a full blown movement towards embracing technology with students. In the coming weeks, we will share information and host webinars that explain everything you need to know about texting your students. Embracing technology is not just about online classes vs. in-person classes. It’s more a matter of using technology to personalize each student’s college experience.
We’ve always believed that technology is an important factor to the success of any industry. This belief helped lead us to create a tool that companies and organizations can use to change the way they communicate with members, customers, or, in your case, students. We are constantly striving to stay ahead of the curve and to challenge ourselves and we hope to see Higher Education adopt our viewpoint. Rather than fighting the change, adopt the mindset that industry changes are an opportunity for institutions to grow and to innovate traditional and sometimes ineffective processes.
How can we help?