It’s no secret that school and college pupils have had a raw deal through the pandemic. Lockdowns, closures, lesson disruption, no face-to-face teaching, exam cancellations.
While a lot of students might have been relieved when they received their teacher-assessed grades and were able to go to uni, there are concerns that some are now suffering from impostor syndrome, feeling worried that they aren’t equipped for university after all the disruption, and even that they might not truly deserve their place.
The big risk is that this can lead to mental health and identity issues, such as anxiety, self-doubt, and a sense of not belonging.
The UK’s student mental health charity, Student Minds, recently released research findings in which two thirds of student survey respondents said they ‘often felt isolated or lonely since March 2020’.
With all of these factors at play, more and more students could be at risk of dropping out if they don’t get the right support.
Can you use your website to better engage worried students?
Enrolment and welcome activities can quickly fly by in a blur for new uni students. So even though these are great ways to introduce the support services available, you’ll no doubt be considering all the ways you can follow-up and reinforce what help they can access throughout their first year of uni.
Naturally digital content is going to be key any engagement and retention plan.
So, how can you increase engagement with your Student Support Services content?
1. Narrow down to their key concern
The spectrum of stress and anxiety that students can experience, particularly in their first year, is vast, and so your Student Support content will no doubt be substantially written to help address this broad range of topics. However, in giving students all of the information signposts they could possibly need, how do you avoid overwhelm so that you’re not losing their attention when they arrive on your site for help?
Cues.ai is based entirely on this fundamental principle – improving the content journey for users, to drill down from ALL content to the RIGHT content at that particular moment. Using simple cues, you can ask the user short questions to find out more about their area of concern, sending them on a content journey that removes irrelevant information and starts that supportive process of making them feel listened to.
2. Find out WHO you’re trying to help
With one simple cue, you could get a whole lot closer to understanding more about a student’s background, which in turn can help you provide them with content that’s going to address one of their biggest worries. If a cue instantly tells you that the user is a local, commuter student, start their personalised journey by offering them direct routes to content that addresses common challenges for local students, e.g. how to join social groups when you’re not living in halls. You’ll know what concerns your local, commuter students have the most, so help them to get to the right content (and the right help) while they’re actively looking for it.
3. Breakdown any unfamiliar terms or barriers
The ‘snippets’ we create for clients can be really effective in this scenario. For example, a student that’s feeling anxious or overwhelmed might feel more panicked by any terms or concepts they’re not personally familiar with. On pages that use potentially unfamiliar language, adding a snippet can give simple ‘in the moment’ context and explanation. So, if you have paragraphs of copy about how to book a ‘Counselling Session’, for example, a simple snippet might pop up to reinforce / breakdown a key point: Our counselling sessions are informal one-to-ones in a relaxed space where you can talk privately.
Want a chat about how you could better help students with the transition to university and support student retention rates this Winter? A trial of cues.ai can help – contact us to get set up.