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May 1 is Just Around the Corner. Then What?

We are twelve days from May 1.

Twelve days with a lot of activity and little sleep.

Twelve days of final strategy to influence new student decisions.

Twelve days before our enrollment management colleagues have insight into whether or not they will meet their new student enrollment goals.

Enrollment teams must consider strategies beyond new student enrollment. They must also consider initiatives and resources that support continuing student enrollment and promote student persistence.

How are colleges and universities supporting current students through this final stretch of the semester? How are institutions engaging current students over the summer to reduce the number of students who do not persist?

Supporting the Final Stretch

It isn’t surprising that college students experience more stress during finals than any other point in the semester. During these periods of high stress students often skip meals, experience a lack of sleep, and deprioritize their own self-care. The stress compounds and they often don’t know who to turn to on campus for help. In fact, in our own check-in with students we learned that 40% of students are uncertain about who on campus can help or have no one to turn to.

By using our Adaptive AI Framework, students who responded with uncertainty were provided immediate information, support, and key people to connect with. This proactive check-in provided real-time interventions and responses to help students reduce stress and anxiety.

Summer Support

Now let’s talk about what happens when the semester is over and students either (1) take a break and head home, or (2) enroll for summer courses.

For those who take a break from classes for the summer, how are you engaging them over those three months and in preparation for their return to campus?

For those enrolling in summer courses, how are you checking in and providing real-time support during a compressed, and often stressful, term?

AI-powered resources provide the opportunity to connect with students, at scale, whether they are on your campus or at home. It allows you to customize messaging to meet student needs, while also responding in real-time to what your students are telling you they need. It allows you to capture the student voice and respond accordingly - a summer check-in to let students know you’re thinking about them and available for support whether they’re at home or in class on campus.

In fact, students who engage with our AI-powered text messaging report that receiving these messages is meaningful:

  • It shows the administration cares.

  • The replies always include helpful information or names of people to connect with.

  • The text check-ins always seem to come at just the right time.

  • The interactions feel personal, not automated, and are a chance to reply honestly.

Your students need to feel connected - they need a sense of belonging - in order to succeed in the summer and return for the fall.

Fast-Forward to the Fall

As you approach the start of the fall semester, you will probably have that familiar feeling of excitement for the return of your students. Many of your students will feel the same way - excited to return to classes and activities, to see friends they haven’t seen in a while, and to come “home” to the community.

Some of your students, however, will feel stressed and uncertain about returning to campus. They may feel anxious and question their ability to return. A proactive approach to engaging students and understanding their feelings is powerful. You aren’t waiting to see who returns but rather engaging students before they’ve made a decision, while they're experiencing anxiety, and providing them with much needed support and resources to encourage their return.

In many cases, the sense of belonging students need to succeed is simply knowing there is a community of people who care about their success. Students who have received these text check-ins have reported that simply the existence of real-time responses and support made them feel better, believe that the community cares about them, and feel stronger because they’re getting what they need at that moment - a supportive environment to encourage the start of the fall semester.

For all of the enrollment managers out there who are anxiously approaching May 1, we applaud the work you are doing to support your incoming class. When the dust settles, after you’ve taken a breath, let’s talk about what you’re doing for your current students to support them in the final stretch of the semester, through the summer, and into the fall so that your returning student population is just as excited and connected as your new students are.



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