Successfully engaging your newest students is important for their long-term satisfaction, retention, and success. Campus Labs Engage can help you in that mission. From centralizing orientation events to helping students easily find organizations to join, there are many ways our platform can facilitate the engagement of your newest students. Check out a few of the examples below for some inspiration!
Introducing the Site
The first full-time event your student will experience on campus is Orientation. Showcasing your Engage site to incoming students can help improve student buy-in and overall usage of the platform. In contrast to when you first implemented to existing students, introducing the platform to new students is a relatively easy task. A few examples of how to introduce the site are outlined below.
- Have students use their ID or Event Pass to swipe/scan into different orientation sessions, including social events or mandatory workshops. This will provide real-time tracking of attendance. *Requires Card Swipe or Mobile Check In within Engage.
- Introduce your student life/involvement department's organization site within Engage. You can promote upcoming Welcome Week activities, the Student Org Fair, and fall campus traditions. Encourage students to download Corq and log-in to RSVP for these events. You can also highlight the iCal/Outlook integration and teach students how to pull upcoming events into their calendar. If you have the mobile check-in module, this is also a great time to have students download their event pass.
- Host your student orientation teams or groups within different organizations in Engage. This allows students to be introduced to one another before orientation begins and allows for continued networking after. Teach students that their orientation leader is a resource for them throughout their first semester, not just that weekend.
Showcasing Traditions and Introducing Resources to New Students
There is a growing trend on campuses of a co-curriculum targeted towards first-year or transfer students. Often this takes the shape of a “First 40 Days” or a “30 Things to Do Before You Graduate” program. Administrators, sometimes with the help of active alumni, identify common traditions and tips for students in their first few weeks of school. Building school spirit, organization involvement, and academic support best practices into one path allows for a truly integrated experience for incoming first-year students. You can see an example of how one of these paths might be configured below. These paths are assigned specifically to the incoming first year students as they register for orientation sessions and introduced to them as part of orientation programming.
Continuing Student Development Past Year One
Once your first-year students have successfully completed their first year, it may be time to look at their continued development as engaged students on campus. Several institutions use the end of the spring semester as a good time to place all first-year students in a sophomore experience co-curricular path. In the case of St. Edward's University, students are also invited to a "Getting to Year Two" seminar at the end of their first academic year. Other campuses use this time as an opportunity to place students in one path for the rest of their academic career at the institution. This path focuses on developing marketable skills across various areas of growth and involving cross-campus collaboration. A great example is Texas A&M International University and their co-curricular path, Trailblazers. The Trailblazers program aims to make make students experts in the development of five measurable areas -Career Development, Civic Leadership, Global Perspective, Health & Wellness and Personal Enrichment. Campuses also often create a separate path focused on leadership development for their Orientation Leaders, specifically in spring and early summer, before they meet the incoming students.
*For campuses not utilizing the Paths module, involvement can be measured through organization participation and self-reported experiences.
Incorporating Campus Partners
Getting your campus partners to host organization pages in the site can be a great way to easily give students information about upcoming events across campus. In addition, we have seen success with offices showing their office hours, location, and common documents on those organization pages. Remember, the more content and the more widespread your platform, the easier it will be to promote student adoption. If you need a resource to introduce Engage to more departments, check out our Introduction to Engage for Campus Partners.
Several campuses have also created organization pages for first-year seminars, Living Learning Communities, and service learning opportunities. Inviting students into these organizations creates a centralized location for discussion among student leaders and participants and moves communication out of group chats, which can overwhelm students. Using Engage also keeps student emails and information confidential, protecting student privacy and preventing them from having to utilize a smart phone or data plan to participate in activities.
Regardless of which of the above method(s) you choose to utilize, introducing students to your Engage platform early on in their collegiate career is important for their long-term satisfaction, retention, and success. If you are having a hard time deciding on which method(s) would work best for your campus, we encourage you to reach out to your consultant!