How Can Higher Education Aid Student Success?

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Universities can leverage AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze historical student data and predict the likelihood of applicant success at their institution. Additionally, institutional data, behavioral engagement data, and the combination can help predict student retention.

But, higher education must also aid in student success right from the classroom by reducing the barriers to timely completion of a college degree, promoting a sense of belonging, and early exposure to career planning. 

Reduce Barriers to College Degrees

One significant barrier to college access and success is affordability, as college prices and student debt levels have risen to alarming heights. Only 24% of four-year and 40 percent of two-year public colleges are considered affordable, according to a 2022 National College Attainment Network (NCAN) report

The average college student spends between $628 and $1,471 annually for books and supplies as of the 2021-2022 academic year. Hard copy books can cost as much as $400, with an average price between $80 and $150. 

One way colleges can reduce cost barriers is by offering digital textbooks to students. For example, Apple Education helps professors and students research and analyze data, transform learning environments, push the boundaries of athletics, and save money on a new Mac, Macbook, or iPad by shopping at the Apple Education Store, which offers discounts all year round.  

Additionally, colleges can educate students about financial aid. About 70% of administrators at four-year institutions stated that literacy of financial assistance was “limited,” according to the 2015 Administrative Budget Survey.  

Schools could encourage or require students to meet with a financial aid adviser before signing off on financial aid packages to ensure students understand their packages and make informed financial decisions. 

Alternatively, schools could also offer webinars or videos that walk students through an example of a financial aid letter and discuss common questions or issues that students face to help them better understand their financial aid packages. 

Knowing the source and requirements of financial aid enables students to make better financial planning decisions.

Promote a Sense of Belonging

The term “belonging” may be less familiar than “equity,” “diversity,” and “inclusion,” but it is just as important in terms of accessibility and student success.

A sense of belonging is most closely correlated with student success. A sense of connection can be encouraged by organizing and supporting student interest groups, expanding supervised undergraduate research opportunities, and increasing on-campus employment.

Group programs focusing on personal, academic, and career development, peer and professional mentoring, and local community volunteer work can also provide extra support and a sense of belonging to students at the start of and during their studies.  

Additionally, mandatory diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging training for all students and staff members demonstrates an institution’s commitment to inclusion and its importance on campus.

Assist With Career Planning

College helps students enter the workplace, advancing careers and earning aspirations. 

Student affairs professionals use the NACE Career Ready Competencies as a framework to prepare students for postgraduate success. They help students develop and articulate academic and co-curricular accomplishments to demonstrate career readiness.

According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities, students who work with career services are more likely to find a job quickly, find their profession fulfilling, say that their alma mater prepared them for post-graduate life, and donate to their alma mater. 

Additionally, college students know internships can be the “golden ticket” to finding a job after college. 

An internship is a temporary job role generally related to one's academic field of study or career interests, offering a beginner practical experience within a professional role. An internship could lead to a permanent position at the company.

Many institutions have databases students can access to find an internship or career cluster that best fits their needs. 

Implement a Fair & Inclusive Applicant Selection Processes

Students create immense data when applying for universities – from personal statements and essays to interviews, recommendation letters, and more. Traditionally, evaluating applicants has been very subjective and time-intensive, with few concrete data points to measure – GPA, standardized test scores, and little else. 

Today, technological advancements have made it possible for universities to objectively evaluate applicants across a wide range of skills, attributes, and motivational traits, including both professional competencies such as leading and deciding or analytical thinking, as well as critical soft skills like empathy, enthusiasm, and openness to new experiences. 

“Student Select AI makes it possible to accurately measure data that has historically been extremely difficult to assess,” explains Emily Campion, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management & Entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa. “As a result, universities can look far beyond test scores to gain a holistic view of each applicant.”

Technology like Student Select AI helps university admissions teams foster a more inclusive admissions process and diverse student body. In fact, users have reported an 80% increase in applicant selection from underrepresented groups simply by looking beyond traditional success metrics like standardized test scores to evaluate each applicant as a whole person. 

“Student Select AI cuts time-to-decision in half by using natural language processing and automated text analysis to pull complete personality, professional competency, and motivational trait scoring right from the words they use in their application essay, interview, or other application materials,” explains Chief Technology Officer Will Rose. 

“Our goal is to give admissions teams more time to focus on meaningful interactions with applicants while also providing more and better data than has ever been available so you can select the applicants who are most likely to succeed in your unique program, cohort, and institution.”

Ready to start measuring what matters?

Schedule a discovery call with one of our admissions experts to learn how Student Select AI can help you reduce decision-making time, improve inclusivity and diversity, and increase confidence in admissions decisions and outcomes.

Higher education institutions can aid student success by reducing barriers to college degrees, promoting a sense of belonging, helping with career planning, and implementing a fair and inclusive applicant selection process.


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