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Study: Positive First-Year Orientation Impacts Overall Student Experience

In a recent survey of nearly 25,000 college students, those who had a positive experience with their first-year orientation were 17 percent more likely to report a positive student life experience. Conversely, students with a poor orientation experience were 71 percent more likely to report grades of C or lower.

Those findings came out of a study conducted by OOHLALA Mobile, a company that builds custom mobile apps for higher education. "The research is clear that student engagement in the first year on campus is critical to improving retention and completion, especially for commuter, low-income and first-generation students," said Danial Jameel, co-founder and CEO of OOHLALA, in a statement. "The data bring to light the importance of helping students navigate campus life, both at the outset of college and throughout their daily journey."

Other survey findings include:

  • 25 percent of part-time students did not participate in orientation, compared to 9.5 percent of full-time students;
  • Larger schools (10,000 or more students) saw 8.5 percent less participation in student orientation than smaller schools (5,000 or fewer students);
  • Across all age groups and institution types, students reported that time management was their biggest challenge; coursework came in second; and
  • Students were 48 percent more likely to report satisfaction when using a mobile app to find campus information, versus searching the school website.

"At Shawnee State University, we know connecting students to campus life and support is fundamental to ensuring retention and success. As we've seen from the data and our work with OOHLALA, mobile is an effective tool we have at our disposable to engage students in impactful events like orientation," commented Elizabeth Blevins, director of communications at Shawnee State University, in a statement. "We're grateful for the insights surfaced as we work tirelessly to uncover students' common pain points and challenges."

For more information on the survey, visit the OOHLALA site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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