Obie goes to college part 3: First-year student orientation
Welcome to part 3 of the Obie college story. In the second part of this story, our fictional friend, Obie, received an admissions acceptance letter from his preferred institution.
With this wonderful news, the institution also informed Obie of the financial aid award they’re able to provide to him. Obie and his parents, without delay, tackled the complicated financial aid verification process. And as the story unfolded, Obie’s financial aid advisor at his new institution was able to rely on enterprise content management (ECM) technology to get quick visibility into a tax reporting error found in Obie’s FAFSA form.
Via this technology, Obie’s financial aid advisor fixed the error with the IRS in no time, completing Obie’s verification and readying his financial aid package for fall matriculation.
Now, Obie immediately is thinking about and planning for all of the amazing classes, activities, clubs, programs and more he will experience in college. As you can imagine, he’s truly excited (and, to be sure, a bit nervous) about beginning his new life as a first-year student!
So, no surprise, his institution has the full attention of both Obie and his parents at their on-site, first-year orientation on campus during the summer.
The first year of a college or university student’s life is typically a wonderful, exhilarating, confusing and terrifying mixed bag. The fact is, for most students, it’s their first time making important decisions and choices on their own about setting a course ahead for their lives.
With all this life change and addition of new responsibilities, it’s critical students have strong advising and counseling resources, plus technology, to help them stay on track across the span of their academic careers.
In fact, only 59 percent of those who begin studying at four-year colleges and universities graduate within six years. At community colleges, just over 30 percent of students who begin a two-year degree program complete it within three years.
The institutional perspective: Information, retention, graduation
As you well know, it’s easy to understand Obie’s mix of excitement and stress as he starts his first year at institutions like yours. One of your primary concerns, though, is making sure you start things off on the right foot with Obie by tracking and collecting accurate data digitally of his first-year student profile.
The more you know about Obie as a first-year student – such as whether he’s a veteran, an athlete, a disabled person, an international student or even the first in his family to attend college – the better for his advisor to help Obie get a good start at your institution.
The fact is, if students like Obie and his first-year peers become well grounded early in their academic and extracurricular programs, you’re more likely to retain these students for their second years and then on to completion of their degrees and graduation.
For example, the University of Notre Dame accomplishes this by using ECM technology to help protect their legendary student retention and completion rates.
Using ECM to manage each student profile
In education, the bottom line is student success. Yet, with the amount of important information you need to track and collect on students like Obie throughout their college careers, paper-based systems and spreadsheets only bog down your team’s ability to optimize student service.
Ultimately, rather than a fragmented informational view of Obie’s profile as a first-year student, you need a holistic view that is accessible, and secure, across your institution. Using case management software embedded within an ECM solution, for example, your institution can empower your staff to provide 360-degree views into the information that deans, department heads, faculty, advisors, coaches and others need to help Obie succeed at each stage of his college career.
By providing this holistic view of all student-related information – including data records, documents, notes, conversations, emails and history – the right ECM solution increases productivity and empowers your staff to work more efficiently, giving them more time to devote to student service. Rather than toggling between various systems or managing scattered spreadsheets, your staff work within the same intuitive interface, logging student activities and adding notes and updates.
With these new efficiencies, Obie can take comfort he has his institution and its people behind him every step of the way. That’s what you call student service – and it’s what will help Obie be the best student he can be as he progresses towards completion of his degree!