Students’ orientation experience plays a significant role in their perception of their overall college experience, according to data from a new survey released this week. The survey, which explores student life on campus, was conducted by Ready Education, a higher education company founded by former student affairs professionals that partners with colleges and universities to develop custom mobile apps to improve engagement and retention.
According to the survey, students who had a positive experience with orientation were 17% more likely to report a positive student life experience. Students with a poor orientation experience were 71% more likely to report grades of C or lower. The impact of orientation also raises important questions for universities serving part-time students: more than twice as many part-time students (25%) did not participate in orientation, compared to full-time students (9.5%).
“The research is clear that student engagement in the first year on campus is critical to improving retention and completion, especially for commuter, low-income, and first-generation students. But engagement is often a black box. This survey was designed to identify meaningful insights directly from students,” said Danial Jameel, Co-Founder and CEO of Ready Education. “The data bring to light the importance of helping students navigate campus life, both at the outset of college and throughout their daily journey.”
In addition to shedding light on the importance of student orientation, the survey also addressed other barriers to engagement on campus. Time management was the biggest challenge faced by students across all ages and institutional types. In addition, students are 48% more likely to report satisfaction with student life when they can use a mobile app to find information, versus searching the school website—reflecting that nearly 9 in 10 undergraduates own smartphones.
Conducted during the Fall 2016 semester, the survey captured data from nearly 25,000 students at more than 150 of Ready Education’s partner institutions in North America.
“At Shawnee State University, we know connecting students to campus life and support is fundamental to ensuring retention and success. As we’ve seen from the data and our work with Ready Education, mobile is an effective tool we have at our disposable to engage students in impactful events like orientation,” said Elizabeth Blevins, Director of Communications at Shawnee State University. “We’re grateful for the insights surfaced as we work tirelessly to uncover students’ common pain points and challenges.”
Ready Education works with more than 200 colleges and universities to build custom mobile apps designed to streamline and improve the student experience. The Ready Education platform enables schools to create a single portal for students to access academic calendars, events, and other services, and uses native mobile technology including customizable alerts and GPS to help students navigate campus life.
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