Build a University App for Events and Year-Round Engagement
Getting students to stay connected and keeping them engaged can be difficult. Campus life offers a variety of opportunities that pull their attention in different directions. So how can your campus effectively engage with students during events and year-round?
A university app is one of the most effective ways to connect with students, faculty, staff, and guests. There are many different types of apps a university can create. This post will focus on apps for events and year-round apps. A university event app focuses on communication that is related to an event like admitted student’s day, orientation, or welcome week. A year-round university app is available throughout the academic year and offers access to necessary resources. Let’s explore these ideas a bit more.
A University App to Connect with New Students
Admitted Students Day App
Admitted Students Day is a chance to roll out the red carpet for prospective students, give them a taste of campus life, and encourage them to make your campus their home for the next four years. With multiple events and tours happening throughout the day – not to mention the long list of campus partners involved – admitted students day can be overwhelming. And with hundreds of future students and parents to connect with, exhibiting organizations can become overwhelmed as well. Your university’s branded app for admitted students day is a modern solution that serves everyone.
Increased Student Retention
Indiana Institute of Technology (IIT) created an app for their admitted students day back in 2020. But they didn’t always have an app. When they launched their admitted students day program 8 years ago, they used a printed booklet to share information.
To create the booklet, Indiana Tech Admissions started planning in October, and finalized the content by January, so they could print and mail out booklets in February. Each family got one booklet that had their schedule, session details, a map, and other essential information. They were asked to bring the booklet with them to campus and use it as a guide for their time on campus.
This process was clunky and inflexible. When last-minute changes happened, they had to reprint booklets. And if there wasn’t time for a reprint, they had to print additional papers to share the most up-to-date information. It was difficult for students and families to connect to campus while shuffling through papers and sharing one booklet with their families.
So, when Indiana Tech hosted the first admitted students day, without an app, their yield was around 40%. Since launching the app with Guidebook in 2020, they have been using it consistently each year and have seen strong results. Most recently, Indiana Tech yielded 82% of admitted students and they believe it is because Guidebook has helped them go fully digital.
With an easy-to-use app, parents and students quickly learn their way around the campus and begin to feel confident navigating without guidance. And for the admissions team, the app can be created in just a few days, updated at the last minute, and allows for push notifications to share important information.
More Admitted Student’s Day App Examples
Michigan State University and Rutgers University each also have an app for Admitted Student’s Day. Their university mobile apps included a full schedule, custom schedule, and tours. Michigan State’s Admitted Student’s Day app had a standard resources section and social links. Plus a space to interact and build community with their peers. Rutgers chose to add a to-do list, campus map, virtual tour, and parking information, and even included restaurants and things to do in the area.
New student orientation is an opportunity for incoming students to explore the campus, meet faculty and staff, and talk to an academic advisor before registering for classes. It’s a critical event that requires clear communication.
Modern students are demanding more digital communication. More than 97% of freshmen arrive on campus with a smartphone. Many student orientation leaders have found that an orientation app makes it easier to deliver the wealth of information that needs to be communicated in those few short days. An orientation app keeps students informed and engaged throughout their time on campus.
But orientation is about more than just helping students connect to campus. It’s also about helping them feel at home. And the relationships students build with each other are critical, so make it easy for them to connect in the orientation app. This could be a social feed for sharing pictures or connecting with their peers. And direct messages, so students can chat outside of the social feed. As students begin to build friendships after orientation, they start to find a sense of community and belonging, even before they start classes.
Creating an engaging orientation app with Guidebook is easy. We compiled a list of steps you can take to create the best orientation app for your campus. Want to see some examples of successful orientation apps? Check out this post.
Welcome Week App
In addition to orientation, welcome week is another chance for students to meet their peers and learn how to get involved on campus. Here’s how your university can build a welcome week app to improve welcome week for administrators and students:
- An agenda in the palm of students’ hands: Create a digital agenda that is flexible. Agendas and schedules can be updated in real-time, so students and administrators always have the latest information.
- Campus maps and landmarks for easy navigation: Equip students with digital maps and key landmark information. The sooner they feel comfortable navigating campus, the better! A welcome week app can help to get your students started off on the right foot.
- Interact, discussions, and sign-ups to connect: Your students are looking for ways to connect with one another. Make it easier for them by encouraging dialog from day one. Get students talking with interactive chats, social media, and, more!
- Efficient to-do lists: What do your students need to accomplish before classes start? Create checklists that outline everything your students need to do, from moving into their dorm rooms to visiting the campus clubs.
A welcome week app is an effective way to help new students connect to the campus and build new relationships. There are so many opportunities for incoming students to explore and a university app makes it easy for them to decide how to spend their time.
Go Beyond Events with a Year-Round University App
Not all apps are created for one-time events. Some apps are used to connect people to resources and support throughout the year. And when it comes to environmental health and safety (EHS) apps, the ReadyKey platform makes it easy for organizations to build an engaging app that actually gets adopted and used by employees.
ReadyKey is Guidebook’s sister company. And it focuses on helping companies in a variety of industries manage EHS compliance, training, and reporting through an app. The no-code app-building platform makes app creation simple for anyone. So, when the University of North Texas (UNT) reached out to ReadyKey to build a campus safety app, the team was ready to help bring this idea to life.
The safety of students, faculty, and staff is a top priority for any university. Traditional campus safety measures, such as campus police and security patrols, are important. But universities are now turning to technology to enhance campus safety measures. Read how UNT created its app for year-round safety communication.
But, year-round communication isn’t just about campus safety. Sometimes it means creating a unified campus experience. Many university departments are disconnected because of multiple communication channels. In turn, students are becoming frustrated with having to create multiple user accounts, download different apps, and receive too many email notifications. Building an app with Guidebook can streamline all University communication in one app. This includes having separate spaces for events, departments, and more. Allowing your app to follow the student life cycle – from the time they are interested all the up to commencement.
NC State Creates a University App
Mobile apps originally made their debut on the North Carolina State University campus when Cameron Hill, Associate Director of New Student Programs, introduced a mobile guide for Wolfpack Welcome Week as a new way to get students interacting with a large, diverse schedule. She says, “Guidebook was a great solution because it helped students customize their own schedule, get connected to other offices on campus, and connect to each other through social media and photos. Right away it felt like the right fit.”
Three years later, NC State boasts its own mobile app with more than 34 separate mobile guides inside. With uses ranging from a New Student Orientation guide to homecoming to a guide for the campus recreation center, campus units now have a place to quickly publish information in a mobile format, and students are connecting with information in innovative and unexpected ways. Read how New Student Programs is a great place to start with Guidebook.
Not Just an Event App
The university event apps we discussed previously for admitted student’s day, orientation, and welcome week, can be used year-round as well. Once students have the apps downloaded on their smartphones, they can reference important information like maps, code of conduct, club lists, and more, throughout the year. And the interactive features on those apps can be used year-round too, helping students stay connected through posting pictures on social feeds or starting conversations in direct messages.
Start Building Your University App
Adding important content, like a detailed schedule and well-organized, and informational custom lists, are the backbone of a great university app.
Ensure that your app is as useful and engaging as possible for students, faculty, staff, and guests. Enhance your users’ experience with interesting features in a personalized way to boost the success of your app. Create a more intuitive guide to encourage users to spend more time engaging with your content.
So, what are the features that bring your guide from good to game-changing? Here are some of some of our most loved features that you can add to your app:
- Notifications – Send out quick updates that appear as push notifications to Guidebook App users
- My Schedule – Parents and students can select the specific events they plan to attend
- Gallery – Upload pictures throughout the event enhancing the community feel for the college
- Program PDFs – share documents digitally and reduce printing, saves money, and is environmentally friendly
- Trends, Engagement, and Metrics – Get detailed insights on usage
Want to learn more about what we can offer? Request a demo to schedule a meeting with one of our representatives.