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The Power of Data: How Tracking Can Improve Student Retention

February 6, 2023

Student retention has been a struggle for many universities, especially with the pandemic concerns over the last few years. To tackle the issue, more and more universities have started implementing new tools to track, monitor and analyze the data to reduce dropouts. If universities are able to identify students at risk in an early stage, it can have a major impact on their likelihood to still graduate.

The main data that universities have always been analyzing are all academic-related. Although tracking results & progress is of course not new, universities have become better and better at efficiently tracking matters such as student attendance, academic performance, and engagement with campus resources. The earlier you can detect trends, the earlier the university can intervene and provide support. 

A more recent and interesting development has been tracking student engagement outside of the classroom. For example, are students members of an association? How many events have students attended? Did they join any student introduction programs? This data can actually be vital in assessing a student’s likelihood to graduate, especially when combined with the data from their academic performance. If a student is well-settled and enjoying their experience as a student, research suggests that they are also much more likely to end up graduating. Of course too much fun can also lead to students not passing, but a healthy balance is key. There has therefore been a great shift within universities to not only measure academic success, but also ‘student success’. 

In conclusion, data tracking has enormous potential to improve student retention rates by identifying and intervening sooner. After all, students are your greatest brand ambassadors. Universities that are able to find the right balance between keeping students socially active and challenging them academically are likely to see a great increase in student retention. 

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