Overcoming Information Overload: Taking Action on Student Data

In our previous posts, we introduced GradSnapp’s student survey feature and outlined how it enables collective case management. We also discussed tips and tricks for incentivizing students to complete the survey with quality data, and in a timely manner, providing the information you need to support them to college success.

So, great news! Whether from student surveys or other touchpoints, you’re now sitting on a mountain of quality data – and you may be experiencing information overload. How can you translate all this data into action, and with so many students, where should you begin?

To determine the level of staff involvement required for each student, let’s take a page from the Dell Scholars playbook. Since 2004, this scholarship and college-completion program has supported 4,300 students and achieved an 80 percent six-year graduation rate, with a lean program staff (and GradSnapp technology). Because of the program’s vast scale, supporting 1,700 students nationwide, it has developed support parameters that allow staff to prioritize effectively.

These parameters take a look at each student’s persistence risk, and how that corresponds to staff involvement.

student data college success

Lowest Contact: In some cases, the data will reveal blue skies and smooth sailing. For the time being, these students are performing well with minimal support, and will be adequately supported through mass communications like webinars and social media.

On the other side of the coin, you’ll identify students who are disengaged from your program. Consider sending a bulk message to this group of students, such as a text or email, encouraging them to get involved and take advantage of your support. If they still fail to engage, despite your best efforts, you may need to consider putting them on the back burner – allowing you to prioritize those students where your support can make a greater impact.

Medium Contact: Dark clouds on the horizon? For those students who are doing well but presenting some risk, consider adding them to your watch list for check-ins throughout the semester. This group will include students entering their first semester of college and those with risk indicators such as a declining GPA. While it may not be necessary to launch an intervention at this stage, timely communications may have a powerful impact on their success outcomes.

Most Contact: For those students in the thick of the storm, expect have the highest level of contact as you open an intervention and guide them through the greatest challenges of their college journey. These students may not be enrolled, have failed to reach satisfactory academic progress, or are facing a range of situational factors that are keeping them from getting back on track – issues which will require more than a couple emails and calls to overcome.

Criteria to consider when opening an intervention include whether the student is facing a higher-risk persistence issue or one that requires multiple tasks or milestones. For example, a student on academic probation may need guidance to connect with on-campus resources, advice on managing coursework while balancing responsibilities at work or home, and someone to lean on when they’re feeling alone in the challenges ahead. Common scenarios for student interventions include financial aid issues; personal, family, or health issues; academic probation; and re-enrollments – students we’re especially excited to get back on track.