How Higher Education Leaders Can Boost their Graduation Rates
Getting students to enroll in a university is important, but the real test of higher education’s impact on learning is the graduation rate at every college.
University leaders can boost their graduation rates with these strategies.
Seek edtech solutions
One of the ways colleges are improving their graduation rates is with software solutions like Starfish. By measuring continuous progress, academic achievement, student engagement, and providing feedback, the company has shown efficacy in helping universities increase retention rates with early alerts for college students. Starfish connects students with measuring progress toward meeting goals toward finishing degree programs.
Get a life coach
Having a coach who can help you overcome obstacles and meet the milestones you set in completing your degree can help you acquire that sheepskin and move forward with your career.
Surprisingly, the academics aren’t the most significant challenges most students face when trying to complete a degree. Non-academic obstacles can thwart hopeful candidates from getting their degrees.
Unlike therapists, who work on issues from the past with their clients, life coaches work in the present to help a client identify barriers to graduation. The coaches also help these students identify solutions and implement them so they can reach the higher education finish line.
Positive peer pressure works.
Research at DePauw University in Indiana revealed that the students most likely to drop out of college were the ones who did not identify with any one particular group. Students who were members of sororities and fraternities, however, were more likely to complete the college degrees.
By encouraging involvement with Greek societies in college or creating structured engagement opportunities for non-Greek students, universities can improve their graduation rates.
Merge and integrate rather than separate
Students complain about increasing tuition costs, but the cost of operating a university is rising as well, thanks to reduced funding.
Although a merger between similar schools can raise college costs, a merger may make sense when it comes to attracting, enrolling and graduating students. The most effective mergers take place between two- and four-year schools, like Perimeter College and Georgia State University, where there is a strong academic rather than a vocational focus. Because they have similar, shared goals, the merged system can save money. Systems are expanded rather than replicated.
As a result, students have a pipeline to graduation. Course credits transfer easily throughout the system, which helps students stay focused on completing their degrees with as little frustration as possible.
Boosting graduation rates in higher education can be done. Leaders have to be willing to explore new alternatives or tweak those attempted in the past. The end result of graduating more students will be worth the effort.