Breaking Barriers: Implementing Student Engagement Strategies in Higher Ed
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6 min read
February 5, 2024

Breaking Barriers: Implementing Student Engagement Strategies in Higher Ed

An engaged student and a professor interacting in a college learning environment
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Staying on top of classes, clubs, enrichment activities, and enrollment deadlines can be challenging for many college students. And when college becomes challenging, it’s easy for students to fall behind and disengage with their degree program.

If you’re an advisor or an administrator in charge of student engagement, you can do more than sit by and watch your enrollment numbers drop. Instead, you can implement creative student engagement strategies to keep students engaged with their program and, more importantly, enrolled.

Why Do Institutions Need Student Engagement Strategies?

Student engagement strategies are strategies higher education institutions can implement to help keep students active on campus, engaged with their classes, and enrolled in their programs. This is important because having active students on campus leads to increased enrollment, student retention, and higher graduation rates. 

For many public universities and colleges, these three metrics (enrollment, retention, and graduation rates) translate to greater public funding that they rely on to help offset students’ college costs and run the organization. So, given that funding is tied to enrollment, it makes sense why college campuses need to implement student engagement strategies.

Unfortunately, the tried and true strategies of the past, like calling and emailing, are less effective than they once were. 

Constant Contact, an email marketing service, found that of the entire education industry, only about 40% of emails were opened in 2023, meaning 60% of emails were left unread. 

Now, remember the Constant Contact stat was for the entire education industry as a whole. But if you think about that stat regarding emails to students, it’s safe to infer that higher education institutions need new, creative ways to interact and engage with their students.

Here are three student engagement strategies your campus can use to create connections with students to keep them engaged. 

3 Student Engagement Strategies for Higher Education

Keeping students engaged throughout their time on campus is paramount to achieving success– for both the students and your institution. 

Enrolling in classes, whether as a first-time attendee or an established student, is stressful for students. Many students lack experience and the proper guidance to complete their initial enrollment forms and, later, to register for classes. Without the appropriate help, students quickly become overwhelmed, leaving many unmotivated to continue their degree program.

But student engagement strategies don’t just benefit the students. Institutions need students to stay connected with their alma maters long after graduation. 

Why? Because engaged alumni can make a huge difference for a college campus. That’s why student engagement strategies are necessary– to keep students active and motivated, no matter where they are in their degree program.

Here are three student engagement strategies higher education institutions can use to keep students active on campus.

1. Create Meaningful, Personalized Messaging 

In a time where every notification competes for attention, colleges must do what they can to create a deeper, more meaningful connection with their students.

To do that, institutions must make a concentrated effort to get to know the students who are interested in attending or enrolled on their campuses so that they can personalize their messaging to their students.

Students will be more engaged with a message if it feels more personal and less like a mass email or text. For example, students on a nursing track are more likely to pay attention to a message aimed at their specific medical program than a general mass text or email to all enrolled students. 

This is why partnering with Mongoose is an excellent way to implement creative student engagement strategies.

Cadence easily integrates into an institution’s existing technology and gleans pertinent information to help advisors send personalized messages to students. Plus, the two-way SMS messaging makes staying in touch with students easy and convenient.

2. Focus on Responsive Messaging

Speaking of SMS messaging, one way to keep students engaged and, ultimately, enrolled is to be readily available when students need help.

Nothing is more frustrating or discouraging for students than needing help to complete a form and not receiving the help they need. Unfortunately, lack of communication and feeling like they’re navigating the enrollment process alone can be a reason for many students to hang up the towel on their chosen degree track before they even begin.

That’s why having someone available to answer questions when they arise is critical. Students will be appreciative of the support and satisfied with their experience on campus.

But what about when a human can’t do responsive messaging, like texting a student back? For example, on weekends or holidays?

There’s no need for a delayed response when Mongoose is integrated into your system.
Backed by natural language processing, Cadence’s Al technology can provide students with immediate answers anytime. The best part is that advisors can monitor the conversation and jump in whenever it is convenient or needed.

3. Implement Data-Driven Insights to Boost Student Retention

In the past, the only way colleges or universities knew if students were unhappy and disengaged was to wait until students skipped class or dropped out of their program entirely. By then, it was too late to implement student engagement strategies that may have helped motivate students to finish their programs.

These days, though, campuses can use social media polls, comments, and emailed survey responses to understand how students feel about their classes and any new initiatives on campus. This way, advisors and administration can understand a problem before it escalates into something more significant. 

Monitoring social media or emails for complaints is a full-time job. Although it provides valuable information, many campuses need more staffing for such a task.

Thankfully, you can monitor student sentiment 24/7 with Cadence.

Cadence can monitor student interactions to gain insight into student sentiment. With Cadence in your corner, you’ll gain insight into questions like:

  • Are students happy? 
  • Are they satisfied with the service they receive on campus?
  • Did they appreciate the new initiatives?

With knowledge of how students feel, your administration team can implement meaningful change to keep students engaged and active on campus.

Partner with Mongoose to Boost Your Student Engagement Strategies

Implementing student engagement strategies is vital to maintaining a campus of active and engaged students. There are better engagement strategies colleges and universities can use than emailing students and hoping they’ll read their emails. 

That’s why colleges and universities must find creative ways to connect and communicate with their students. Reach out today to learn how your campus can partner with Mongoose to increase student engagement and enrollment.