By Sarah Wallace
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 255,000 jobs in July, continuing a period of strong job creation. And, for the first time in more than eight years, the U.S. unemployment rate has remained below 5 percent for several consecutive months.
This is good news for the 1.9 million students who graduated this past spring Also good news is the fact that employers are estimated to hire about 5 percent more graduates from the class of 2016 than 2015. However, if the 2016 spring graduates are still looking for work, they need to become more aggressive as the new academic year is now here and the class of 2017 soon will be gearing up to begin their post-graduation job searches.
To prepare for their entry into the workforce, today’s students are spending a lot of time with their academic advisors and at campus career centers. Colleges and universities have a great deal at stake in this annual process, since the ability for graduates to find good jobs is a key recruiting point for most schools. And one of the key ways schools are enhancing their connection with students is through personal technology.
Leading schools understand that technology and student services go hand-in-hand, as mobile devices are now ubiquitous (a study by Pearson Education indicates that 9 out of 10 college students own a smartphone). Colleges and universities must recognize that smartphones, iPads, and social media are the ways today’s students communicate with the world, absorb and use information, and even communicate with their professors, academic advisors and career counselors.
As the demands and expectations of students evolve, those responsible for technology in education must respond quickly and effectively to these trends. For example, as campuses try to meet students’ needs in a more efficient manner, self-service options for students will become even more popular. Self-service portals will help automate many campus functions, making it easier for students, faculty and administrators alike.
Among the technologies institutions are increasingly relying on to enhance personalized communication with students is online appointment scheduling. It’s being used to schedule everything from prospective student tours and admissions interviews, to appointments in the career and health centers, to office hours with faculty. Students can use any device to schedule an appointment for these services at a time that is convenient for them. Institutions that use online appointment scheduling software find that it drives student enrollment beginning with a highly personal recruitment and admissions process and retains students by enabling them to take advantage of all campus services more easily than ever.
Known for its entrepreneurial spirit, the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado is setting itself apart from its competition through a campus-wide strategic plan that focuses on its academic and career advising programs. Appointment scheduling makes it easy for Leeds’ professional career coaches to meet with students to help identify their strengths, maximize their potential, help them make smart career decisions, and stand out in the job market.
Online appointment scheduling that includes text notifications for students enables easy delivery of relevant appointment details and reminders, which reduces the number of no-shows, and improves overall communication with students. Text notifications make sense as industry statistics show that 99 percent of text messages are opened and read within 3 minutes of delivery.
On the surface, it might seem that a heavy reliance on mobile technology could make communications between a college or university and its students more impersonal and sterile; in fact, the opposite is true. Leading colleges and universities realize that using mobile technology in education actually enhances personalization by making it easier for students to meet with faculty and administration, including the advisors who will help them launch their post-college careers.
Today’s colleges and universities recognize how to attract and retain students by offering superior services in all areas of campus life. An increasingly big part of delivering those services involves leveraging technologies that enable students to get the information they need online or on their mobile devices. With rising tuition costs and student loan debt a growing concern, students are becoming even more selective about where they enroll. So enhancing communication by offering services such as online appointment scheduling can help students make the most of their educational choices.
As the job market in the U.S. continues to grow, college students will have more opportunities from which to choose. Being well-prepared and finding the right job match will be key. Campus career centers that provide resources—and access to staff—across multiple channels will provide their students with an optimal job hunting experience, which will enhance their overall campus experience and help them become successful alumni.
About the Author: Sarah Wallace is the principal market analyst for TimeTrade. Wallace provides market research and analysis of the banking, financial services, health and wellness, higher education, retail, insurance and telecom vertical markets.