How Higher Ed can Encourage Students Stopping Out During the Pandemic to Return to College

by Molly O'Shaughnessy | April 6, 2021
How Higher Ed can Encourage Students Stopping Out During the Pandemic to Return to College

How higher ed can encourage students stopping out during the pandemic to return to college

Most people working in higher education right now are aware that the number of students stopping out during the pandemic has increased. COVID-19 has affected us all, whether that be physically, financially or emotionally. As a result, people are finding it harder and harder to keep up with their workload and stay motivated. This is especially difficult if students are juggling school and multiple jobs.

While the official national dropout numbers for this year have not yet been released, it appears that enrollment was already down around 8% as of this October.

What can you do for students stopping out?

This decline is likely not permanent. However, there are actions people in higher education should take to encourage students who stopped out to return more quickly. One of the priorities higher ed should consider is that students want to feel heard and want clear communication.

Our webinar earlier this month and the "Students Perspective" recap by one of the student panelists tells us that mental health awareness and staying connected is especially important right now. This is relevant for higher education members concerned with the number of students stopping out during the pandemic.

Focus on communication

Keeping students who stopped out during the pandemic in the loop even when they are not currently taking classes is extremely important. If communication with these students is continued, they will be more willing to return as soon as they are able.

It will be helpful for them to be kept informed about easy ways they can complete their degree. It will also be helpful to know about resources that will help them return smoothly. Communication like these will help them realize that returning and completing college will be the best decision for their future.

Using technology to create personalized attention

As a result of technology, today's students expect a high level of personalization in the communication from their colleges. Personalization helps them feel like they are a part of the community, rather than just another number in their graduating class. According to an article on college interactive, 79% of people are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized and reflects previous experiences.

Technology, and specifically texting, can help with that! Texting those students who stopped out during the pandemic can encourage them to return to their university soon. Maybe even as soon as this upcoming year as the vaccine becomes available and life returns to “normal”!

Learn more:

If you want to learn more about a students perspective on online learning and the importance of communication and engagement, check out the "Well-being: A Student's Perspective" webinar. Or you can read more about how to engage online learners in a virtual environment.

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