Effective Student Management needs to be more than managing student administration. As a key touchpoint between your digital native student cohort and your institution, it plays an essential role in shaping student learning experience and their perception of your institution.
Across the tertiary education sector, institutions have come to recognise that students don’t just associate with them for the few years of their study. It is, and should be, a much longer-term relationship and your student systems have an important role to play in managing that student journey.
With that in mind, if you’re reviewing the suitability of your current systems or evaluating prospective systems, here are some factors to consider.
A Single View of the Student Journey
Effective student management should enable a single view of the student from their first enquiry as a prospective student through their time as a current student and to graduation and beyond.
Higher Education organisations are now starting to understand the importance of prioritising students; the educational equivalent of putting the customer first. Most institutions are now working on mapping the student journey, slowly and painfully leveraging the benefits of prioritising student experience – a call to arms that has been a digitisation cornerstone of retail and commercial companies over the past ten years.
Whilst the ideal might be a single system that manages every part of the student management ecosystem, that is currently not a viable option. This may start with having a quality Student Management System (SMS), the priority is to ensure that your SMS integrates effectively with other applications and systems to enable you to present a holistic view of the student journey.
A Source of Information
Your SMS should be the single source of truth for student data, but following integration with other systems, it should display key data through visual, easily understood formats, such as dashboards and charts, showing progress, performance measures, and other relevant information at a glance. For your stakeholder groups, it is important to have student information available through a single interface by effectively integrating with these other core systems.
With many mature CRM or Student Relationship Management tools already in use in higher education institutions, choosing a Student Management System that already has integrations with your existing platforms is the most effective option. Similarly, you should consider whether you need an SMS that provides integrations to manage finance, student support, learning management and analytics tools.
Personalised Information for All Stakeholders
The student face of your integrated student systems should provide appropriate, personalised information to all students. It should be easy-to-use and engage the student from their initial enquiry until graduation, streamline their administration while they are studying, and enables staff to make their learning experience the best it can be. To keep your students engaged, provide them a modern, easy-to-use portal for all their admin tasks in one place. From enrolment, fees and courses, through assessment, progression and placements to graduation and beyond. Having all these in one place, using a common interface, will minimize frustration, and improve student satisfaction.
For staff (teaching, admin & management), your combined systems should provide integrated information and tools to simplify processes, streamline operations, improve efficiency and automate reporting. Teaching staff are time-poor, and the more that can be done to free them from administrative burdens of the better. The system should provide a full range of preconfigured and ad hoc reporting to streamline and automate regulatory and compliance reporting, making the system work for the organization. Staff want to see individual student data, but also collective data from cohorts, classes, topic and course level.
For your institution, it should be a tool to effectively and simply manage student information, and integrate seamlessly with other systems to aid acquisition, retention and progression, increase engagement, improve collaboration, support students and student wellbeing (e.g., identify students at risk for early intervention).
The best student experience occurs when the student is engaged with their study and graduates with lasting positive memories and friendships. Effective systems working together to manage the student journey without frustration and hitting home runs while the student is at your institution will go a long way to making sure that they have every chance of the best learning experience with a like-minded cohort and teachers. And that can only help with building that lasting relationship.
Implementing successful Student Management depends on:
- Understanding stakeholders’ requirements
- Choosing a range of effective solutions that meet those requirements out of the box, or have options, add-ons and integrations with existing systems to provide the system you need
- Ensuring your system is implemented in line with your business requirements from the start, including appropriate integrations.
While many organisations either do this in-house or rely on vendors for implementation, a better result may be achieved more quickly and cost-effectively by using experienced, specialist consultants and project managers.
DVE has extensive experience helping higher education organisations to select and implement effective software solutions to maximise their business benefits. Contact DVE to discuss how technology can assist your institution with effective student management. Please download our SMS checklist to evaluate systems against your requirements”.