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Student Retention: There’s an App for That

By Halle Tecco

In business schools around the country, there’s much ado about “social entrepreneurship” and a “double bottom-line” — profits and social good. In this space, I generally think about health and wellness and profile founders of companies doing good in the world. But, no conversation about creating social good can be had without mentioning education.

In the U.S., the past 25 years have seen a national campaign to convince children that they must attend college. And it has succeeded, for the most part, even if only two-thirds graduate from high school. Thus, I was shocked to learn that only around half of our college students graduate within six years; and if a student is from a low-income family or is a first generation college student, the likelihood of graduation within six years is below 20 percent. That’s appalling, and people as renowned as President Obama and Bill Gates have made this national challenge a top priority.

Students drop out of college for nuanced and complex reasons. Aside from the enormous cost, many name “student engagement” — or lack thereof — as the culprit. The way that we measure student engagement is remarkably clunky and out-of-date. For our nation’s large, four-year universities, there’s the National Survey of Student Engagement. For two-year colleges, the benchmark is the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. And the way we drive student engagement is equally antiquated and avoids technology for the most part — freshman seminars, orientation, counseling and advising.

Continued at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/halle-tecco/student-retention-theres-_b_838096.html

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