Why is Student Success so Important for Higher Education?

March 14, 2022 Watermark Insights

Student Success is an important topic for higher education. Many institutions, departments, and technology leadership teams have made Student Success a top priority for the coming year and are implementing strategic plans to optimize student success. This blog explores the reasons we think student success is so important for higher education.

Before we can determine the answer to this question, we first need to define student success. Broward College provides an example of how they defined student success from the American Associate of Colleges and Universities (AACU) here. The truest definition of student success is determined by the goals and personal situation of each individual student. For this reason, no single comprehensive statement or simple set of metrics can offer a complete and meaningful picture of the many ways in which our students succeed every year at all of our colleges.

How Does Your Institution Define Student Success?

Is student success measured through….

  • Graduation rates?
  • Successful completion of a certain number of courses?
  • Retention or persistence rates?
  • Academic achievement?
  • Educational/Degree attainment?
  • Milestone of credits completed?
  • Student advancement?

The short answer is yes…. to all of the above.

Scrutiny is becoming more intense and driving an increased focus on student success and producing more career-ready graduates. Retention and Student Success are at the forefront of many critical decisions in higher education today. Many U.S. states are now tying funding for public colleges and universities to performance measures (such as graduation rates, retention rates, etc.) with more states to follow. The figure below is from the most recent Signature report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, Signature Report

We asked our VP of Client Success the same question - Why is student success so important for higher education? Here’s what she has to say;

“The success of the students our institutions serve is not only a goal but rather a responsibility. Connecting students to the correct resources and support when needed is critical. This often comes in the form of proactive advising. While students are slow to ask for assistance, they readily receive it when offered. The common goal of our institutional partners is to ensure they are able to intervene early and often, creating pathways to success in and outside of the classroom. If you are serving in higher education, there is no doubt that your passion is to ensure students are successful.

Our goal at Watermark (formerly Aviso Retention) is to provide relevant and timely information so that staff and faculty are equipped with the information they need to be more impactful with their conversations and interventions leading to student success. If we at Watermark are able to assist in the critical work faculty and staff are already doing on campus by helping create efficiencies with student support, we at Watermark have achieved success.”


How Can Watermark Help?

  • Accelerate focus on student success through student-centered coaching strategies and the Watermark technology
  • Creates transparency across campus
  • Allows for timely intervention
  • Allows for a holistic and proactive approach to student success
  • Institutional reporting on correlation between student engagement and persistence, degree completion and retention rates.

We offer a complete student engagement software solution that “connects” to the various data sources on your campus. We then use this data to “predict” student success and identify the risks that may prevent it. And provide your campus with a clear-cut planning and tracking tool to improve student “engagement” by prioritizing student outreach to offset the risks we’ve identified.

We want our partners to understand that while technology is important in helping to accelerate the focus on student success, there does need to be continuous education and communication to the people (staff/faculty) – we want to make sure there is transparency among departments and a holistic approach to student engagement/student success. It takes the perfect combination of People, Process, and Technology to help accelerate the focus on student success and increase efficiencies.

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