Finding ways to amplify student engagement both in the classroom and with the campus is increasingly vital to student achievement and persistence. Most students come to campus with the same goal: they want to earn their degree and graduate. However, a significant percentage of students do not persist through their entire educational journey.
The National Center for Education Statistics found that in fall 2015 the average retention rate was:
- 82 percent at private 4-year institutions
- 81 percent at public 4-year institutions
- 62 percent at institutions with open admissions
- 62 percent at 2-year institutions
There are a variety of factors that go into a student’s decision to leave school, such as finances, changing career goals, educational disconnect or a sense that they don’t fit in at their school. According to the Achieving Success for Non-Traditional Students research report, only 44 percent of non-traditional students and 61 percent of traditional students feel connected to their school.
The bookstore has one of the longest lasting relationships with students. From the moment students receive their acceptance letters to graduation and beyond, the college store is a steady, consistent representative of the campus. It offers a welcoming space for students, faculty, alumni and parents, hosting an array of events designed to engage students in campus activities. More than that, though, college stores boost student preparedness, ensuring students have the materials they need to be successful.
COLLEGE STORES INCREASE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT WITH THE CAMPUS
Students want to hear more from their school as soon as they receive acceptance letters. They are on the lookout for campus information, exclusive offers and useful tips that help prepare them for their first-year. The college store is in a position to boost incoming student enthusiasm and help strengthen their connection with campus before they arrive.
Incoming first-year students are excited to start the next chapter of their lives. When that coveted acceptance letter arrives, many can’t wait to share the news with loved ones and friends. Timely communication from college stores welcomes the newest class to the campus community and provides exclusive offers on logoed merchandise for students and parents.
New student welcome events
Meeting with students and parents early allows bookstore personnel to demonstrate that the college store can be an important campus resource and to explain the various course material options available through the store. According to a study published by the Journal of Vocational Behavior, incoming first-year students who feel a connection to their school during orientation are more likely to stay enrolled at their institution.
“Textbooks are a critical component of the entire student experience. We have surveys that tell us that typically less than a third of the students have books for the first day of class, which is unfortunate and can put them behind in their courses — not the best way to begin a semester,” UConn Bookstores General Manager Len Oser said. “That’s why it is important for the bookstore to get the message out. We are trying to not only enhance the educational experience but save students money at the same time.”
COLLEGE STORES BOOST STUDENTS’ SENSE OF BELONGING
Students need a sense of social belonging to feel like they are truly a part of campus. According to Barnes & Noble College Insights research, only 20 percent of non-traditional students and 41 percent of traditional students feel socially connected. Clubs and organizations might be too time-consuming for some students; offering stand-alone bookstore events can inspire students to get involved who usually wouldn’t participate.
One such event is the popular de-stress fest. Designed to give students a mental break, this event helps alleviate end-of-term anxiety and promotes student wellness. The William & Mary Bookstore holds a De-stress Fest every semester that features dogs from a local shelter.
“It’s very hard to get in to William & Mary, and once you’re in, the pressure is on. You’ve got to do the best you can. We’ve seen our fair share of stressed students. They come into our store, sit in our café, put their headphones on and just … work,” Assistant General Manager Torian Keller said. “The De-stress Fest has been a great hit ever since we started. Who doesn’t love coming in and hanging out with dogs?”
THE COLLEGE STORE IS A STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICE
Students need ample support services, resources and opportunities to connect with their campus as well as the sense that their school values their presence. A great college store can help you achieve these goals. Proudly displaying the school brand and creating comfortable, convenient places for students to study, meet and gather, your college store should be ready to support all aspects of campus life.
“The bookstore is an incredible facility,” said James Frazier, the University of Kentucky Executive Director for Risk Management and Administrative Services. “Whether you’re buying essential materials for that classroom assignment, purchasing coffee or the latest gear as part of Big Blue Nation, or engaging in dialogue at Starbucks, this store has what you need.”