Dec 21 2017
Digital Workspace

Students Find University Apps Helpful, but Want More Personalization

Survey finds that college attendees want their schools to use data to make for better tech services.

Students expect their colleges to be tech savvy, and a new survey from Ellucian indicates that it is influencing how they pick their schools. In the survey of 1,000 college students, 87 percent said the technological prowess of colleges was important to them when applying. With nontraditional students, that number increased to 90 percent.

When universities and colleges use this technology to support their students, usually in the form of an app, some big benefits are found. Centralized mobile apps from their schools eased the transition to college for 85 percent of respondents and it helped 73 percent become more involved on campus.

Rutgers University senior Jordan Cohen told EdTech that his university’s transportation app made it easy for him to get around campus from the moment he arrived.

“It’s great to reach for the stars with technology, but make sure students say ‘Hey, this really fits my lifestyle, this really fits what I’m doing and this will make my college experience better,’” Cohen advised IT leaders in EdTech’s EDUCAUSE video.

While the students surveyed indicated that their institution’s use of applications has benefited them, there’s clearly still room for improvement.

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More Personal and Streamlined Tech Tools Are a Must

University apps have nothing on Netflix. More than half of the students surveyed by Ellucian said that of all of the entities they engage with, their college is furthest behind in using tech to personalize their experience.

About three-quarters of the students surveyed want their colleges to use their personal data like businesses do. Students want to see data-driven customization in four areas:

  • Career preparation, such as job assistance and interview training

  • Finance support, such as tuition and financial aid

  • Academic support, such as course registration and grade tracking

  • Student life, such as housing and student organizations

In addition to personalization, Ellucian also found that students are in need of a more streamlined technology experience.

While 85 percent of students said their school offered a centralized app for campus services, 42 percent still reported that they had to log into three to four platforms to access campus information.

“Of the students who were offered a centralized app, 68 percent claimed they were still overwhelmed by the volume of information their colleges provided when they first started,” Ellucian reported. “Students benefit when colleges are able to tailor how they interact digitally with their students outside the classroom.”

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