University of Findlay:
Digitally attracts, engages and retains incoming students with mobile

In the midst of unprecedented upheaval, colleges and universities are seeking effective ways to keep current and admitted students engaged. University of Findlay in Northwest Ohio with approximately 4,000 students has found a solution in the mobile app it launched four years ago using the Modo Campus platform.

Findlay originally launched its campus app to keep up with the times, but did not rely on it heavily for communicating with and engaging students and their families. However, when the coronavirus hit, the app became an essential link between the university and its constituents. In fact, the school has more active app users than ever and has seen a 10x growth: 5,000 compared to the 500 or so just two years ago.

Winning the battle for hearts and minds

Like every higher education institution, Findlay must convince admitted students and their families to trust that their investment in the university still makes sense. Harnessing its mobile campus app, the school has been able to build relationships, stay connected, and drive incredibly high rates of engagement.

Using a combination of Instagram live chats, virtual visit days, videos of school programs, and push notifications, Findlay is building communities from laptops and smartphones. In some cases, it is seeing higher levels of engagement than it would via traditional means.

To replace the in-person visit day for its popular Pre-Veterinary Medicine Equestrian Riding Program, Findlay arranged a virtual webinar. While 150-200 potential students typically attend in person, the webinar drew 50 students. However, the result was a much livelier interaction with students asking over 100 questions. As Rebecca Jenkins, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at the university says, “We had much more interaction than typically happens in an in-person group setting where students sometimes are too intimidated to ask questions.”

Driving engagement with personalized communications

Even before the coronavirus crisis, Findlay had developed personas for its different audiences: current students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff. These personas enable the school to send customized, relevant messages to each audience and drastically increase engagement. It leveraged the personas successfully with incoming students last year and plans to do the same with admitted students this year. It also took advantage of an Admitted Student Starter Kit and Engagement Playbook from Modo to fully harness the app for maximum engagement. The combination of push notifications and a single, trusted source of information from and about the school has proven invaluable to keeping both students and parents engaged.

The mobile campus app features a range of information and resources to prepare students for orientation. From the palms of their hands, students and parents can find everything from campus maps and student and parent calendars to introductions from admissions counselors and instructions for how students can upload photos and introduce themselves to other students. Throughout the summer, Findlay will send push notifications about opportunities to engage and learn more about the school’s programs and faculty members, paving the way for new student registration days in the fall.

By using its app to develop a sense of community, the university is keeping admitted students and their families excited about the Findlay experience. From Jenkins’ perspective, the app’s authentic and “coolness” factor signals to students and their families that they can feel confident about their choice in the university.

Addressing an essential rite of passage with a virtual commencement

The university’s mobile app has been a critical connection point with all constituents, including upcoming graduates. Last year Findlay enhanced its traditional commencement ceremony by pairing it with a digital version on the school’s mobile app. Students, friends, and family could access a digital commencement program, and watch the ceremony live, including the march through the arch. Push notifications reminded app users to tune in at the right time and greatly reduced the number of questions the school typically fields leading up to and on the day of its commencement. On commencement day, Findlay saw 6,000 screen views.

For this year’s commencement, the app will present the program and message from the president, host videos from students and parents, and show a virtual arch ceremony. By encouraging graduates to download the app, Findlay sees an opportunity to keep graduates engaged even as they transition to alumni.

Watch this on-demand webinar for more insight into how the University of Findlay is digitally engaging and retaining admitted students. Download the university’s campus app for a firsthand experience of how the school is driving engagement. Read what other customers have to say about Modo here.

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