Every Back-To-School season is an opportunity to relaunch your mobile app experience for new and returning students, increase app adoption, and ensure it provides the necessary guidance to incoming students.
This article contains a number of best practices that you can follow in order to provide your campus community with an amazing mobile app experience. Topics covered here include:
The resources you highlight in your app should never be static. With each new academic year, there are specific resources that are crucial for new student success.
One of the best ways to guarantee that these resources are easily discoverable is to create 3-5 Featured tiles that may range from Technology Access to Getting Involved (Events & Clubs) to Campus Map. Your App Banner image will be seen by every user that visits the Campus Guide. Use this image to promote an important event (Convocation) or announcement (Meet Our New President).
Regular app usage centers around resources that students regularly need. If the Campus Map is accurate and provides detailed categories, then new students will come to rely on this resource. The Events tile should be using an up-to-date RSS feed (or be manually populated with the first month of events) as students will be seeking ways to get involved. With yearly changes to academic calendars, dining schedules, and campus services, be sure to verify that high-traffic/high-impact resources are up-to-date.
New Student Resources
Encourage new students to download and register your app by giving them easy access to all of the back to school events in the palm of their hand. Everything from orientation to welcome week to Student ID pick up should be available in your app and easily accessible. Creating a back to school Calendar or using the Orientation module allows you to pull all events into one tile for your new students. Both of these methods will allow students to Subscribe to back to school events and will write them onto their calendars.
Student feedback is essential to enhancing programming. Enable Assessment for new student events and encourage your newest Community members to use their voices. Start as you intend to continue; students will build muscle memory by scanning QR codes early and often. Make scanning QR codes and leaving feedback a repeatable behavior.
There are many items that must be completed as a new student. Make this easier by utilizing the To-Do List function in the Orientation Module. Provide students with a clear task list and due dates. Tasks may include items from admissions, financial aid, technology services, and more. By using the To-Do List you are offering students the opportunity to Subscribe and have all tasks written onto their calendar.
One of the most valuable resources you can offer your new students is providing access to your current students, in the form of Community. Bring them on board as mentors and influencers in your student feed. Leverage current students as moderators for Channels designed specifically for your new students. Current students can use this time to work on communication skills and new students will gain from their wealth of knowledge. It is a win - win situation.
Ready to try something new?
App-based scavenger hunts have become a popular tool to help new students familiarize themselves with campus while also driving up app usage. Below are some instructions to get started with your Scavenger Hunt.
Community & Channels
Refer to our Channels Best Practices article for a comprehensive list of recommendations to create a vibrant Community with both Public and Private Channels.
Specifically for Back-To-School, it’s important to create spaces in your Community that are specifically for new students (Freshmen and Transfers) to meet each other and ask questions. Consider creating a hashtag or photo contest for incoming students as app users begin to introduce themselves. Student leaders can provide an additional layer of moderation and can set the tone for how students engage in this space.
Unsure of what Channels to offer new students? Ask them for ideas!
Pro Tip: Using an Orientation Group Channel in our Orientation Module will likely only be used during Orientation, however, a New Students Channel will be visible and used throughout the year.
Ready to try something new?
Private Channel Idea from San Jose State University:
Being a large university, SJSU wanted to group first-year students into smaller virtual houses in order to provide better support and foster a sense of belonging. They decided to create “Spartan Village”, which divides nearly 4,000 first year students into 57 small virtual houses (learn how to invite an audience to a channel).
Each virtual house will have its own private channel where first-year students are paired with upperclass student leaders. Those student leaders provide support for first-years in navigating the student experience at SJSU, helping in areas such as campus life, navigating schedules, and registering for classes.
Back-To-School is the perfect opportunity to ensure widespread app adoption. By embedding the app into various Orientation and Week of Welcome activities, students become accustomed to using the app as a centralized tool for social engagement and academic success.
Ideas for virtual and in-person promotion:
- Welcome Event Check-In (QR code directs to App Landing Page)
- Highlight app in welcome address
- Utilize app promotional materials from Ready Content team (submit ticket through Help Center)
- Check out examples from our campus partners here
- Refer back to Scavenger Hunt
Review the items below to ensure you meet all technical requirements and the app is ready for students to download from both Apple & Google stores:
For optimal results, we recommend utilizing our Health & Wellness Plus solution which encompasses Contact Trace Plus and Mental Health Plus. For more information regarding this product, please contact your Campus Success Consultant.