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Part 2: The Impact of Proactive Support and Student-Driven Metrics

Updated: May 18, 2023

Connecting the Dots

Last week we discussed the importance of wellness and gave sentiment to the much-needed awareness that May brings to mental health awareness month. We also shared the importance of proactively checking in with students and the eye-opening responses that we received.

Now it's time to share why the data and insights matter. There is a large correlation between the predictive data and insights that these proactive check-ins generate, and the significant impact they have on persistent outcomes. Measuring and getting ahead of the barriers to persistence (wellness, finances, academics, and sense of belonging), allows us to ensure that students not only feel supported, but feel comfortable returning for another term.

To gain a better understanding, at the end of each term, we ask students yet another simple question that delivers powerful responses:

"Do you plan on returning next semester?"

We uncovered that the numbers are alarming when it comes to students' assessment of their mental health and their perceived ability to persist or not. Students who rated their mental health as "poor," were 4x more likely to drop out compared to students who rated their mental health as "good."

As you can see below, more than 50% of students students stated that their mental health was the largest area of struggle for them. Again, why does this matter? If we never uncovered that students were struggling with their mental health, how could we then get ahead of that barrier and connect those students to resources?

The Challenge of Scaling With Traditional Outreach

Traditionally, educators and administrators would rely on face-to-face interactions or email outreach to assess the well-being of students, hoping the few responses they received would speak for the entire student population. However, as class sizes continue to grow and resources become stretched thin, manually asking every student how they are feeling becomes impossible.

The risk of missing crucial signs of distress or struggling with mental health issues can have a significant impact on a student's overall well-being, academic success, and motivation to persist. If we are unable to uncover students who are struggling with wellness, how can we connect them to targeted resources?

The Power of AI Texting

By leveraging the power of AI texting, institutions are able to get a pulse on their entire student body, at scale, never missing a single student who is at risk. AI-powered texting tools such as EdSights can provide educators with a scalable and efficient way to capture each student's voice and proactively connect them to targeted resources at the first sign of distress. As our AI continuously learns and adapts from the voices of over one million of our students across the country, we are able to:

  • Identify exactly who is at risk for wellness and persistence in real-time and automatically connect them to resources

  • Use AI for custom campaigns for specific resources or certain action items throughout the semester such as forms and deadlines

  • Automatically analyze each conversation that a student has to help uncover trends within specific demographics or groups as a whole that may be struggling more than others

A Success Story and a Case Study: Unknown Areas of Struggle

We've talked a lot about how to leverage all of this data and why it matters, but what does it actually look like when we leverage AI-powered texting? Jacksonville University shows us exactly what it looks like with the help of "Nellie!"

For context, EdSights utilizes an AI chatbot that is named by each institution, usually after a mascot or a figure that promotes community and a sense of belonging to conduct these check-ins. Jacksonville University's chatbot, Nellie, was able to identify in real-time which student groups were facing particular challenges across the areas EdSights measures; academic fit, social engagement, financial distress, and wellness.

Nellie found that students in a particular Greek Group, on average, have a 14% higher "Wellness" risk score than their peers. From this data, Student Life at JU has created targeted programming specifically for Greek Life houses in an effort to improve Wellness among this population.

Read all about Nellie's engagement across JU's campus, students' thoughts on Nellie, insights that were generated, and much more in JU's case study.

Initiatives and Customizations Like Never Before

The possibilities are limitless when it comes to customizing outreach, programs, and initiatives across your campus when leveraging the data that AI-powered texting offers. You witnessed all that JU unlocked with their check-ins, but don't just take our word for it! Check out how other institutions view the implementation of their chatbots on their campus:

As BusinessNH Magazine explains, "with the generational gap growing ever wider, there is a significant need to reach students in a new, innovative way to keep them engaged in their learning environment and the campus community." Given the personalized nature of these interactions, students feel understood and supported, leading to increased engagement and a sense of belonging throughout their college journey.

If you're still left wondering, "what is adaptive AI?" Or more importantly, "how can I leverage adaptive AI on my campus?" You can learn even more about our approach here!



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