Improving Your School’s Retention

As many as one in three college freshman won’t return for their sophomore year, according to a recent study by U.S. News & World Report. This may be indicative of a lack of connection between the student and your university, so apply relationship marketing tactics to your retention strategy.

Let’s take a quick look at a few of the primary reasons students leave a university or drop out altogether. The most common reasons include:

  • Lack of affiliation, homesickness
  • Lack of guidance, advice
  • Burnout

Compare that list with some reasons why business customers leave:

  • Turned off by an apparent air of indifference on the part of the business
  • Dissatisfaction with the product or service
  • Lured away by the competition

The reasons given in both lists above point to one common underlying driver: belongingness, or attachment. Your students are not all that different from a business’s customers or clients—they’re both humans who have an underlying need to feel as if they’re a part of something greater.

Relationship marketing is aimed at strengthening, developing and maintaining relationships—fostering a sense of belonging and essentially demonstrating to your students that you care about them, their needs and their ultimate well-being.

Relationship marketing can take many forms, from one-on-one communications and check-ins to sending out recommendations tailored to a particular demographic.

There’s no one-size fit with regard to relationship marketing. But, with summer scheduling and a lighter atmosphere on many campuses, now is a good time to revisit your own retention strategy and apply it against tested relationship marketing tactics.