How Queue Management Systems Boost College and University Retention
Student retention can be a challenge at colleges and universities. The COVID-19 pandemic raised the stakes.
In a 2021 report, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that the rate of freshmen who didn’t return for their sophomore year rose to its highest level since 2012.,1 The problem is more acute with community colleges, but all institutions of higher learning are faced with retention issues and a shifting emphasis on what the college experience means to students.
Lost students aren’t just lost opportunities; they also result in lost revenue for the school. If 100 students don’t return after their freshman year, at a hypothetical tuition of $25,000 a year, that’s $7.5 million over three years that the college isn’t collecting. Seen this way, retention becomes even more urgent.
More than ever, colleges and universities must prove that attending their institution and staying through graduation is worthwhile. A queue management system is one way for schools and their individual departments to improve the student experience and contribute to a better rate of retention. Here are some ways a queuing management system helps:
Reduced Waits, Increased Safety
Parents want to know that when they send their children to college, those children will stay safe and healthy. That need became all the more important during the pandemic, but even before COVID-19, transmissible illnesses have long been a problem on campuses, causing students to miss classes, infect others, and miss out on the most positive possible college experience.
A queue management system can eliminate long lines and crowded waiting areas throughout the university, from the bursar’s office to the registrar to the bookstore to anywhere else physical bottlenecks occur. This reduces disease transmission risk in environments that are supposed to be safe spaces for students. Virtual queues also keep students focused and efficient—they aren’t wasting time stuck in a line or lobby, which allows them to manage their days better (and maybe get an extra hour of sleep later on).
Commuter students also benefit from queue management systems in that they aren’t rushing to get to a university office and thinking they might be waiting. They can plan their days better and travel less—which, ultimately, can positively affect their health.
Less Hassle to Receive Care
Student health, both physical and mental, has become a priority at colleges and universities over the last several years. When someone gets sick, they might go to the health center for treatment; if a student feels overwhelmed, they make an appointment for counseling services. However, if students can’t get the care they require, they will struggle—particularly if their mental health is at risk. This reduces their chances of succeeding in school and remaining enrolled through graduation.
Appointment scheduling through a queue management system cuts through health services bottlenecks to get students care faster and with less stress. Students’ well-being is essential to retention—virtual queuing is another way to show you care about their needs.
The best queue management systems don’t simply manage queues; they encourage and foster communication. In a virtual queue, students connect via text messaging, receiving updates on wait times and letting university employees know what they require. With appointment scheduling, students can describe their needs and seek guidance while they wait for their booked appointment.
With this level of communication, students are more connected with instructors, departments, and the school. As a result, they’re more likely to feel welcome, heard, and supported—and to truly believe they belong.
A Better Student Experience
If students equate their college experience with waiting, inefficiency, boredom, and chaos, they might eventually think their chosen school isn’t the right place for them. This is particularly true for commuter, part-time, and adult students, who might be fitting their studies into an already tight schedule and don’t have time for excessive waiting on campus.
A queue management system helps the student experience by not only reducing wait times but also making a good impression with students who benefit from the platform. If a student is having doubts about whether to stay at your school, at least they’ll remember how you provided a way to make their lives easier. With so much going into someone’s decision to remain enrolled—and so much at stake for your institution—every positive experience counts.
Virtual queuing and appointment scheduling are also cost-effective if they’re economically implemented. Check out our guide, How to Avoid the Hidden Costs of Purchasing a Queue Management System, to learn more.