Addressing Data for Student Success: The Use of Campus Resources

Big changes are ahead for the Fall 2019 College Enrollment season. Mental Health issues, declining readiness, and a host of other issues will factor into your enrollment numbers. Read on to learn about these issues and how you can use data to address them.

Topics Covered in this Essay:

Upcoming Challenges for Fall 2019
Mental Health Problems
Bipolar Disease
Resiliency (or lack thereof)
Getting and Using the Data to Address These Challenges
Demographic Data
Millenials and Gen ‘Z’
Data and Planning
Big Data
Focus Groups
Sharing Data

Fall –2019 — will be a very surprising START for everyone.

There will be changes in programs and the use of technology, but the biggest changes may be in the students who will enroll this fall.  This essay addresses those issues, including how you will get the data that you need at your school and how you can address the needs of students.

Here are a few of the issues
you may need to address:

Changes in the Characteristics of Incoming Classes
  • The number of students may decrease for several reasons including the fact that the number of students graduating from high schools is declining.
    This means that the spring recruitment may extend into summer, but do not lose your planning or staff development time.
  • Preparation for college or the University is declining. The number of graduates thinking about a college or university is declining.
  • Increased segmentation: fewer traditional students, more older students, more women, fewer international students. Students may return for programs as they get older and wait to pursue degrees for general reasons.
  • The goals of students in terms of credentials may change. Job’s and careers options are available for students with certificates’ These students may come later for the degrees.
    Watch registration and number of credits and resident students CAREFULLY. Look at anything that changes the regular pattern.
  • The four-year experiences will be less common. A combination of distance options and off-site attendance will become more common.
  • Many more students may not really be ready for college: 75 Percent of Freshmen Not Ready for College emotionally
Mental Health Issues

We can be assured that the Mental Health needs of students will be greater than LAST year which was a record year.  Since it is not possible to hire enough doctors, nurses and other health personnel, everyone needs to be of assistance to learners in recognizing these issues and advising learners seeking help. We do not advise everyone to be counselors but we do advise you to pay special attention to the data and information that suggests there may be a problem. Everyone involved in contact with students should have a sense of responsibility for making sure these issues are addressed. (stay current on special issues by reading the More Insights resources in the right-side navigation pane).

These are the issues that generally may be addressed as mentally related. We are going present some of the more critical problems and how you might recognize them.


Number Experiencing Major Depressive Episodes

One can see that the number of depressive incidents has leveled off, but the number is still high. It has been said that it is one of the largest mental health issues for students.

Identifying people with serious depression might not be easy but at least people of concern would have someone to talk with.

Depressed, Sad, Tired
Take a Close Look
Bipolar Disease

This has moved to be a concern of health professionals at colleges and universities.

People in this group can often be recognized from their behavior as it moves between manic behavior and depressive behavior.  Other characteristics are covered in the illustration below.

Other symptoms associated with Bi-polar are delusional, hyperactive, elevated mood, and suicidal behavior.

Resiliency (or lack thereof)

Resiliency has become a serious issue for many colleges and universities. 

“Emergency calls to counseling had more than doubled over the last five years. Student were apparently having emotional crises over the problems of everyday life. Recently a student was having a crisis over the fact that her roommate had called her a  name.

There has been an increase in mental health problems and there has been an increase in the number of students who could not handle an everyday  bump in the road.”

What Data Do You Need
to Address These Issues?

You need to know as much as you can about the students you wish to enroll.  You may not have the resources and options at this time to run a full research campaign, but you might consider the following options.

An approach writers and research people have generally looked at is the access of data through classifications such as “millennial” and group “Z” classifications. Social scientists follow the “imprint hypothesis” of generations, which can be traced to Karl Mannheim‘s theory of generations. According to the imprint hypothesis, generations are only produced by specific historical events that cause young people to perceive the world differently than their elders. It is how they perceive the world, that we are looking for and the generations approach can help us in thinking about this issue.

This allows one to think about the characteristics and develop strategies about how to communicate with them and to maintain or develop interest.

Traits of Millenials

Taken from “7 Positive Qualities of Millenials that can Help You Improve Your Business

1.  They think of innovation as a science.

Millennials love to tinker, and they are incredibly disciplined about innovation. In the 2014 survey they found that 60 percent of U.S. millennials say innovation can be learned and are repeatable, rather than being spontaneous and random.

2.  They believe in the profit motive.

Millennials said that it is acceptable for businesses to make a profit from innovations that benefit society, especially if it’s done ethically and has a positive social impact.

3.  They could build a business.

In a Reason magazine survey, 55 percent of millennials say they’d like to start their own business one day and 61 percent say hard work is the key to success. The survey showed that roughly 70 percent of millennials see themselves as working independently at some point, rather than being employed within a traditional organizational structure. Capturing that entrepreneurial spirit can energize your business while these future leaders are beginning to build their careers.

4.  They’re motivated.

As a generation, millennials have a lot of education and a lot of debt. The Pew Center says that the millennials have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than the generation Xers and baby boomers at this stage in their lifespans. A generation this hungry to work is a generation that will work very hard.

5.  They hate bureaucracy more than you do.

CEOs usually want to build a culture of innovation and risk-taking and get rid of bureaucracy. They’ve got a friend in millennials, who, according to our survey, believe that the biggest barriers to innovation are management attitude (63 percent) and operational structures and procedures (61 percent).

6.  They will put some muscle into your corporate culture building.

Every company wants a more authentic and stronger brand, especially when it comes to community involvement. But how can you actually achieve it? Hire some millennials, because it matters a lot to them.

According to the Case Foundation, one of the top motivations for millennials to stay with their current jobs was belief in the company’s mission and purpose — a belief that rests on outcomes achieved, not just promises made.

7.  They want to lead, and we all need more leaders.

Our survey showed that almost one in four millennials are “asking for a chance” to show their leadership skills. Additionally, 50 percent believe their organizations could do more to develop future leaders. I don’t know an organization anywhere that wouldn’t want to build a stronger cadre of leaders, ready to take on new challenges.

Traits of Generation Z 

Taken from “10 Generation Z Traits to Prepare For

1.  Technology comes naturally.

“The things we have had to learn – communications, downloading content, online transactions, research, networking – is entirely natural to them…They were born into it,” shared Walsh in an interview. “The first thing parents now do when children cry is give them a smartphone as a pacifier.”

2.  It’s about radical transparency

Today’s consumer — including Generation Z — is in total control. Because of this, Walsh said, “Not only is there no room for a lack of authenticity in the stories that brands tell about themselves, they may not even be able to influence the stories being told at all. But equally, consumers are also more transparent and exposed to brands today as well. The real point of Big Data is not increasing the surveillance of consumers by marketers, but the beginnings of a true, two-way dialogue between brands and consumers that turns insights about behavior and action, into preference and personalization.”

3.  They’re challenging tradition

Generational change brought about by these emerging Generation Z traits in your workplace is also inevitable. Your future co-workers and employees will both test the limits of your management models as well as challenge your traditional beliefs about your company culture. “This is an entirely new way of thinking about communications, content, and commerce,” said Walsh.

4.  They want to get personal

“Marketing will be one of the most interesting, but also one of the toughest jobs in the 21st century. The future will be shaped by the colliding forces of adtech (algorithms and digital technologies that bring efficiency to advertising), and martech (brand-based platforms that support customer data collection and engagement),” advised Walsh. “The opportunity for marketers is to move beyond traditional forms of media to leverage emotional, contextual, and highly personal moments in a consumer’s daily life – where their messages will be relevant, reinforcing, and directly actionable.”

5.  They’re not afraid to unfollow

At Vodafone Digital Transformation Summit in 2015, Walsh said this about Generation Z characteristics: “They will expect us to offer them better, faster, richer, and more personalized experiences, and ‘unfollow us’ the moment that doesn’t work.”

6.  They’re future freelancers

In an interview, Walsh spoke of the big economy. “One of the most profound changes for organizations is that most people will not be working for any particular company full time. In the United States last year, some 15.5 million people declared themselves freelance. By 2020, some 40% of the U.S. workforce is expected to be freelancers.” This changes the way organizations communicate with their hires, as well as the reliance on external resources.

7.  The pressure for change is on

The pressure for change will only accelerate, as the demand created by Generation Z traits will drive the need for continuous disruption and reinvention. For tomorrow’s CIO, the challenge is clear: can they balance emerging technologies and the digital transformation agenda with everyday challenges of operational stability and security? For companies in the B2B space like CloudCraze, not only will they have to keep empowering their customers to sell online anywhere, anytime, on any device, but also infuse every step of the customer’s journey with intelligence.

8.  Customization is key

“This age group is of particular interest because they were born in 2007 — the same year the iPhone was introduced. They are the first generation to be connected from birth, so they are growing up with a much different outlook on shopping, cooking, and eating than other generations. They will expect products that are customized, readily available and—as already apparently on Instagram—look good enough to be photographed and shared on social media,” said Walsh.

9.  They expect shareability

Food, for example, must not only be good enough to eat, it must be good enough to be Instagrammed. “It’s all going to be very connected to their experience on that smartphone,” Walsh said. “Look at the way the next generation forms their views on food today. Look at Instagram: there is some extent to which the next generation doesn’t want to eat a meal unless they are going to take a picture of it.”

10.  They’re motivated by change

“It’s our anthropology, not our technology, that is driving the fundamental transformations we are seeing in our business and industries,” said Walsh. “Interesting as it is when things change, the real magic happens when people do. In other words, they’re thinking about how to change the world. The next generation…is more motivated by mission than money.”

As you look at your students can you tell what classification they might belong in and how to work with them in terms of messages, illustrations, and themes.

Generation approach can also used to develop ways to communicate and work with older students as they proceed with their education.

As you work with students of different ages, gender, and interests, you may want to work with surveys and other tools to produce your own data now.

Desire and Curiosity 

This is a time for the people at your school to understand your students and be ready to act. The table below represents the spring and summer segments of an enrollment effort; nail down the class for the fall ’19/20 and prepare for next fall ‘20/21.

This table is a planning outline of activities through the spring and summer months for an enrollment program.  Data, for example, should be available before formal planning starts.  New staff need to be in place when the training and development of staff is to start.

Normal Follow UpConsider Student Management ProgramTraining and Staff DevelopmentNormal Follow UpNormal Follow UpNormal Follow Up
PlanningDevelop Communication PlanNormal Follow UpPlanningPlanningPlanning
Some Travel PlanningSome TravelSome TravelSome Travel
Evaluate Office Processes Some TravelEvaluate Office ProcessesEvaluate Office ProcessesEvaluate Office Processes
Special Events Evaluate Office ProcessesSpecial EventsSpecial EventsSpecial Events

The data you need for planning, training, and the development of communication programs needs to be available for conversations as you start the process of development.

Data and Conversations 

If you are going to use old data, it will be not up-to-date, but that’s OK.  It is what you must work with.  Some relates to other schools and some may relate to schools in various regions around the country.  That is likely to be helpful, but it may not relate directly to your students.  It helps you to think about your students and what they may expect.  Here is a list of the types of issues students may have:

  • What is expected in terms of age?
  • What do they want in terms of faculty?
  • What do they expect in general?
  • Gender Issues
  • What should the facilities be like?
  • What should advisers do?
  • Are advisers important?
  • Preparation for careers
  • Good financial aid
  • How many chances are there for them to take online courses?

The following are some concepts and issues to think about as you carry out your effort to understand and help students of all kinds.

  1. Big Data: people talk about this at meetings, in papers, or presentations. This usually includes large amounts of data analyzed with sophisticated advanced models and statistics. You can likely get this type of data from others.
  2. Your Data: Will most often consist of tables and graphs that show trends and relationships. Statistics will usually include averages, mean, and correlations.
  3. Your People: The staff, students, faculty, and alumna are generally included. Interviews are usually done before and after the surveys.
  4. Testing: Testing should be carried out on all instruments and processes.
  5. A team should be used to develop the materials and processes. If possible, include students in the process.
  6. Interviews can be done any time. If anything occurs that is a possible restraint or driving force, it can be explored.

This is a good way to use the restraints/driving forces concept.


Focus Groups

Focus Groups are small groups that can dig deep on areas of important issues; for example, what they want from faculty would be further developed.

The Questions

Developing and testing questions should be done on selected individuals or small groups.  You are looking for any questions that are confusing, vague, or may be misunderstood. You also need to look for questions that are not helpful in working with the areas concerned in the study.

  • Are your faculty good? (leads to yes or no answers and little discussion).
  • Could you share with use some of things that faculty do that are helpful or make them effective teacher/learners for you?

Sharing the Data and Information

Ways need to be found to prepare, present and use the data in conversations. Some presentations may be needed for larger groups and executives. Also remember that institutions are systems and that the data has different meanings to various people and groups.

Using the data

  • What is expected in terms of age?
    • Example: should you change your marketing materials differently for Gen X vs. Millennials?
  • What do they want in terms of faculty?
  • Differences by gender
  • What will the faculty be like?
  • What should the facilities be like?
  • What should advisers do?
  • Are advisers important?
  • Preparation for careers
  • Developing themes (mission statements, marketing messaging)
  • Developing any content
  • Developing messages
  • Developing understanding of restraining forces
  • Developing knowledge of driving forces
  • Who can you offer good financial aid?
  • How much opportunity is there for students to take online courses at your school?

It is Not Too Late.  Put a plan together and ACT.


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