How Predictive Analytics Helps Improve Student Enrollment & Retention

March 29, 2023 Watermark Insights

How Predictive Analytics Helps Improve Student Enrollment & Retention

Colleges and universities are under a lot of pressure to meet enrollment targets, retain existing students, and see them through to graduation — all while operating under strict budget constraints. Walking this tightrope isn’t easy, but increasingly sophisticated predictive analytics programs can help. 

Each year, colleges lose a percentage of the students they accept to “summer melt,” which leads students to change their minds about enrolling in college. A rise in the cost of living and mental health issues has made things even more complicated. However, using data analytics and business intelligence programs empowers your institution to make smarter student enrollment choices and reduce your summer melt. 

The Role Automation Plays in Increasing Student Success 

Today, nearly 40% of students drop out of college for reasons including financial concerns, medical or mental health issues, or prioritizing family or career obligations. Predictive analysis improves student performance by helping administrators better understand student needs and expectations through the collection and measurement of relevant data. 

In the past, colleges and higher education institutions collected student financial aid information, demographics, and graduation rates to meet federal reporting requirements. However, many institutions may not have leveraged this data to improve retention and engagement while reducing dropout rates. Today, they're using predictive analytics that alert administrators when students show signs of dropping out. Georgia State University, for instance, was able to raise its retention rates by 8% and boost revenue by over $3 million thanks to predictive analytics in advising.

1. Identify Your At-Risk Students

The first step in preventing students from leaving their program before they graduate is to determine which ones are likely to drop out. With predictive analysis, you can easily identify students who may need extra academic support, such as those who are working full-time, have children, or have recently transferred. 

2. Calculate Their Risk Level

Once you've located your at-risk students, your predictive analytics technology enables you to calculate their individual risk level. With this approach, your administration can offer personalized, specified outreach efforts to students. For instance, you can use predictive analysis to target a student whose grades are slipping before they get too low. If this particular student has other risk factors or has been struggling academically for some time, they may have a higher risk level. You can quickly take action and send them details about academic success services to help boost student retention.

3. Connect Them With the Resources They Need

One of the most beneficial parts of using predictive analytics software is to make your students aware of helpful resources on campus that make it easier for them to adjust to the challenges they face in college. Understanding more about your students and their needs with the right data enables you to strengthen student abilities and promote a successful college career for all learners. 

To help engage higher education students who may be considering dropping out, you may want to highlight your advising, counseling, financial aid, career planning, or tutoring services to meet their needs.

Prompt Better Conversion Rates

Prompt Better Conversion Rates

Predictive analytics increases student retention by helping administrators better understand students' needs when it comes to recruiting and marketing efforts. Higher education institutions can use this platform to identify which students are most likely to enroll and persist, as well as where to focus their marketing efforts to achieve the most impact. This enables institutions to be more strategic in their approach to enrollment.  

Software built for higher education institutions can aid in predicting student performance using personalized analytics. For example, if a student has an issue, your student success solution acts as a guide for tracking their educational needs, including their courses, attendance, and financial aid information. This means your advisors and administrators can more effectively plan the students' future semesters and create a personalized pathway to success

In addition, using an innovative platform will streamline communication across the board. Higher education retention software seamlessly integrates with platforms like Canvas, Blackboard, Tableau, Ellucian, and more so you can avoid duplicate information and make it easier for students and faculty to keep in touch. As a result, your entire administration is more equipped to support students on their individualized journeys — from registration to move-in day to graduation. 

As an administrator, you're likely always seeking ways to increase your institution's conversion rate at each stage of the enrollment process, resulting in more students who are a good fit for the institution and therefore are more likely to graduate. Predictive analytics helps you determine the best prospective students — and, in the future, it will also indicate which ones are most likely to enroll.

Develop More Informed Nudging for Struggling Students

Many students are stressed and exhausted trying to balance their education with other priorities. This is why many institutions need to adjust their policies and practices and become more flexible in their approach.

Community colleges, particularly, face a different set of challenges in enrolling and retaining students: Many community college students have full-time jobs, must juggle family obligations while attending school, or both. Community colleges are using predictive analytics to guide their intervention strategies to help students complete their degrees as they manage economic and social obstacles.

The implementation of higher education software can be the nudge that many students need to keep the momentum going and finish their education. A student success solution pulls data from the college’s student information system, learning management system, enterprise resource planning system, and other sources to make informed predictions about course completion and student persistence. 

It also captures data from each student interaction with college staff to quantify their engagement. Using this information, it suggests when and how campus staff should intervene in order to reengage students.

This type of technology can also help with enrollment, using geo-demographic information and other factors to give enrollment and marketing staff better insight into where to focus their efforts for the best yield. In addition, reporting tools and predictive data make it easy for college administrators to seamlessly communicate, implement interventions, and make data-informed decisions. 

Use Predictive Analytics to Boost Student Success With Watermark

Use Predictive Analytics to Boost Student Success With Watermark

As an administrator in a higher education institution, your number one priority is student success. With the right tools and solutions, you can drive the transformational change you desire and create a support system for your students from day one. Watermark enables student success by empowering colleges and higher education institutions with meaningful data collection, measurement, and review. 

With our predictive analytics tools, you can help your students prepare for their courses and careers, track their records, and easily review student data to identify learners who may need assistance. With student insights at your fingertips, your entire administrative team is better able to meet student needs and expectations, boosting retention and engagement. Request a demo today to see how we can help you drive change at your institution. 

About the Author

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut euismod velit sed dolor ornare maximus. Nam eu magna eros.

More Content by Watermark Insights
Previous Article
How To Use Data To Improve Campus Learning
How To Use Data To Improve Campus Learning

Connected data is changing higher education and allowing schools to continually review and reflect on the s...

Next Article
Discover the Secrets of Faculty “Buy-In”
Discover the Secrets of Faculty “Buy-In”

Want your faculty to embrace your new online faculty activity reporting system? These tips can help you get...