Why Using a Proven Student Engagement Maturity Model Matters

When implemented thoughtfully, behavioral intelligence can be a critical component to a higher education institution’s student engagement strategy. If you’re ready to take your communications to the next level, following a framework is the key. Using a proven model is the most efficient way to mature your communications strategy from where it is currently to where you want it to be. 

Frameworks first became popular in the 1980s, when computers became widespread throughout the United States. As the U.S. military adopted new systems, several of their projects were seriously delayed because of technology challenges, and many wound up significantly over-budget. As a result, the federal government commissioned the development of a so-called “maturity model” — a framework for understanding and optimizing new processes for the effective use of technology. 

That model, and the key actions it outlined for advancing an organization, vastly improved software processes across government and the private sector. 

Based on AdmitHub’s work with our partner institutions, along with new research, and a thorough examination of tried and true techniques, we have built our own maturity model. This framework guides you and your institution through the journey of selecting and implementing a world-class student engagement platform, and using behaviorally intelligent chatbots to achieve your student engagement goals. 

How to Ensure Behavioral Intelligence Will Work for Your Institution

Many higher education institutions utilize behaviorally intelligent chatbots to increase quality applications, reduce summer melt, improve retention rates, and much more. However, building an inspiring student engagement strategy takes more than just the right technology. 

AdmitHub’s student engagement maturity model enables higher education institutions to assess their own communication strategies across four key criteria:

  • Student-centricity
  • Communication process
  • Technology
  • Strategy 

Based on your honest evaluation of your engagement maturity in each of these areas, the framework helps you determine whether your overall strategy is unstructured, aware, proactive, consistent, or inspiring. 

Once you know where your institution fits within this model, it’s easy to determine the next steps to mature your strategy to your desired state. For example, you may need to adopt new technology that will enable your strategy to become more student-centric, or it may be necessary to develop stronger collaboration across the various departments that communicate with students at your institution. You may find that your communications are already in the ideal state for your institution, and you don’t need to do anything at this time. It all depends on where your strategy stands today, and how you want to mature your student engagement in the future. 

The Student Engagement Framework in Practice

In 2015, Georgia State University set out on an ambitious journey to reinvent the way it served students. They were grappling with summer melt that had increased to nearly 19% in a few short years. They realized that text messaging was the most effective way to engage Gen Z students, but they didn’t know how to manage personalized conversations with every individual student who was admitted. 

GSU needed not only a technology solution to achieve their objectives, but a true partnership that could guide the institution along the path to their goals. That’s why the university implemented a behaviorally intelligent chatbot from AdmitHub to support students throughout the admissions process. This resulted in a 24 percent reduction in summer melt — and especially strong engagement from student populations that were traditionally the most likely to disappear over the summer: Pell-eligible, first-generation, and underrepresented minority students.

Energized by this success, GSU set out to mature their strategy. This time, they would use chatbot technology to take on another challenge in the student lifecycle: Retention. After digging into student data and working with various departments, GSU identified several behaviors that seemed to be key indicators for student success, like completing the FAFSA by the priority deadline,  resolving FAFSA verification quickly, and more. 

Next, GSU worked with AdmitHub to launch a chatbot for student retention that would influence students to adopt the beneficial behaviors that were most critical to their success. As a result, the students who received targeted messages from GSU’s retention bot proved to be 3% more likely to register for the subsequent fall semester. Across their entire student body, that translates to 1,300 students who may have otherwise failed to continue their education each year. 

How to Choose a True Technology Partner 

Most world-class technology for higher education is not plug-and-play, so it’s important to select a technology partner that can provide the right support for your institution’s unique needs. 

Choosing a true partner — instead of just a technology vendor — lays the groundwork for your success from the very start. That’s because a partner takes the time to identify the maturity level of your institution’s current student engagement strategy, understand your objectives, and then collaborate with you on a process that will enable you to achieve your desired outcomes. Ultimately, for your communication strategy to be successful, your technology partner needs to be as invested as you are in your students’ success

Explore the Student Engagement Framework

The Road to Inspiring Student Engagement

Download the free white paper, “The Road to Inspiring Student Engagement,” to assess your existing communications strategy, identify realistic objectives, and begin planning for the future of student engagement at your institution, today. 

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