Attracting new students to your higher institution involves a lot of work, but it’s equally important to keep the ones you have. Colleges and universities that involve students and faculty in a campus-wide community see the most success with retention.

The thinking behind creating a campus-wide culture is to make students and faculty feel like a family rather than individuals on a personal journey. When students and staff are a part of something bigger, it reduces the chance that they will drop out or transfer to another school. Everything they need is right on campus, and their purpose extends to others beyond themselves.

Let’s discuss some of the ways that you can encourage student engagement and increase retention on your campus.

Determine the Best Route of Communication

How do your students prefer to be reached? Track the various channels that you use to communicate with your students and the ones that see the most engagement. By understanding student retention data, you can determine which channels students are most responsive to and which ones to leave out. For instance, if you find that students respond to push notifications or text messages, you know to build more mobile aspects into your higher education digital marketing strategy.

Create a Communication Strategy

When you know the channels students are most interactive on, you can build a communication strategy around them. Focus on information that your students will find helpful and relevant. Also determine the types of information you will relay through these channels and how often. Do students enjoy hearing updates from the latest events? Do they want to know what’s being served in the cafeteria? Are they interested in leadership opportunities?

Identify Students Who Need Personalized Attention

Some of the students entering your program will be considered at-risk. Pinpointing these students is the challenge. You can use data to identify students at risk for not completing college. These might be students who have low grade point averages or are the first in the family to attend school. By identifying them early on, you can reach out to these students and offer them the 1:1, personalized support they need.

Embrace Technology

Students are largely dependent on technology, whether it’s to check the weather, organize their project calendar or stream movies and music. Knowing that students are always on their devices, make technology a vital part of your retention strategy.

Use text messages, emails, app alerts, social media, etc. to stay connected to students and remind them that you’re there. When the time is right, students will know when to reach out to you and get the guidance they need to successful students.


Not all students who are accepted at your school will finish with a degree, but you hope that the majority will. Engagement plays a key role in positive learning experiences. When students are more engaged, they are less likely to search for alternative options, helping you to improve retention rates.