How tech can make university dropouts a thing of the past

As tuition fees steadily rise, so do students’ expectations. Here’s what universities can do to keep their ‘customers’ happy

Put yourself in their shoes

Imagine you’ve bought a band new high-end laptop from an online shop. Then, when it arrives, you notice that under the shiny exterior is an old machine, running Windows 95. You’d probably send it back, right? 

Nowadays, we find the same situation in education. When students pay for a service, they expect to get their money’s worth. And the more they pay, the higher their expectations will be.  

The cost of not meeting expectations 

As a provider of higher education, you need to ask yourself three questions:

1.     What will students do if the university experience doesn’t meet their expectations?
2.     What do students expect to get for their money?
3.     What can you do to meet students’ expectations? 

The answer to question one is actually quite simple. Many students who find that university doesn’t deliver what they expected will simply drop out. And you don’t need us to tell you that this is bad news. A single dropout can cost universities in the region of £33,000. And in the 2014/2015 academic year, eight per cent of first-time students dropped out of their courses.

What students want

To avoid these losses, you, as a provider of higher education, need the answer to question two:  what do students expect to get for their money?

There are many answers to this question, but two, in particular, stand out. First is the fact that younger generations, such as millennials, who make up the student population, have grown up with technology. To give you an example of what this means: they don’t just use mobile devices — they use multiple devices at the same time. And when these younger generations collaborate (an important part of higher education), they want to do it through technology.      

Second is the fact that students are putting more stock in a university’s connections to the jobs market. In fact, half of students go as far as picking their course based on that university’s links with employers. And, as well as having a connection with the jobs market, students also want their university to prepare them more fully for the working world; to give them the real-life skills they’ll need when they leave. 

Meeting these expectations 

This brings us to question three: what can you do, to meet students’ expectations? One thing’s for sure: giving students the experience they want is no easy task — but it is important, and it is possible. One answer is our technological solutions. They can help your university give students the technological experience that they expect, and which will help prepare them for the world of work. It’s called our blueprint for the Connected Campus, and you can read about it, here. And, if you want more information about what students are looking for in higher education, then make sure you take a look at our infographic on the topic.

Contact BT’s education specialists on 0800 032 0025 to find out more.

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