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Advantage Design Group
Advantage Design Group
800.657.1338 | 904.722.8200
6877 Phillips Industrial Blvd | Jacksonville, FL 32256

Student Retention is UP at this Community College

Student Success Leaders Attribute Higher Retention Rates to Online Orientation

As community college leaders who focus on ensuring student success, Nancy Luthe and Dr. Logan Maxwell from Grayson College, Texas, are passionate about empowering students with information to forge their academic paths at the public community college and beyond.

In a recent webinar, the pair discussed how their online orientation platform is empowering new students in measurable ways. Higher retention rates and lower withdrawal rates are just two of the outcomes resulting from their high-impact onboarding system, centered on Advantage Design Group’s Advantage Orientation®.

In Search of Tech-Enabled, Personalized Orientation

New student orientation has always been considered a critical juncture in their mission. In the past few years, however, attempts to enhance this process through technology have not achieved the desired results. Alternative means of delivering orientation online did not meet their requirements.

The student population was simultaneously changing and growing at Grayson. The college was facing significant shifts within demographic groups, especially among minority students. So, not only was the onboarding technology important for operating at a greater scale, but the creative approach to messaging was also needed to appeal to diverse audiences in a way where students felt recognized and included.

Nancy and Logan kept investigating options until they discovered Advantage Design Group’s online orientation solution. During a recent webinar, they shared the results of the customized orientation they developed and the immediate impact they’ve seen since its implementation.

Advantage Orientation® creatively blends videos, graphics, quizzes, and dynamic style options with practical information and discovery tools to stimulate student engagement. The platform enables students to progress at their own pace and is accessible on any device, providing convenience and encouraging completion.

From Orientation Completion to Greater Student Success

New Student Success Rates at Grayson College

Nancy and Logan shared data showing a direct correlation between online orientation completion and essential success metrics for their first-year student population after deploying Advantage Orientation®. Here are just a few of their findings.

  • Retention
    • Fall-to-Spring increased from 74% in 2018-2019 to 78% in 2022-2023
    • Fall-to-fall increased from 47.7% in 2019-2020 to 50% in 2022-2023
  • Withdrawals
    • Decreased from 7.2% in fall 2020 to 4.7% in fall 2023
  • Course Completion
    • Increased from 74% in 2019-2020 to 77% in 2022-2023

In addition to retention metrics, Logan says she has seen fewer students changing majors or remaining undecided after completing the Advantage Orientation®. She attributes this partially to information in the orientation regarding Grayson’s pathways program, which sets them on a course toward selecting and completing their major.

“When students get more information about those pathways and can make a more educated decision about their majors on the front end, they are less likely to change majors,” Logan says.

Funding Online Orientation for Future Returns

As budget concerns continue to drive large institutional initiatives, Logan explains how Grayson’s quality enhancement plan was used for initial development and implementation while the annual subscription fee will be paid from the annual operating budget. The annual subscription is a low, flat fee, with no restrictions on the number of users. She encourages other administrators to secure grant funding or look for unused dollars that may still be available toward the end of the fiscal year.

In terms of return on investment, Logan says, “We realize it can take two to three years to really show progress through hard data. Now that we have the data, we can already see initial progress in year one of using this product going into year two. So, we're really excited about what the future holds.

The platform is available in a variety of production packages tailored to each institution's budget, timeline, and creative services. Grayson’s online orientation includes a set of core videos, student testimonial videos, interactive quizzes, and games.

Why Advantage Orientation®

If you want a quality product to keep students engaged that's accessible and gives you the ability to promote what you want to focus on, whether it's securing your brand, addressing imposter syndrome, or providing students with the information and the resources to make them more successful in a convenient and engaging way, this is your product. We've been very happy with what we've seen and moving forward.

By partnering with Advantage Design Group, you will not only provide your students with the most accessible and engaging orientation available but also easily track their success and gain insights that will help you make the best decisions for your student orientation program. Request a live tour today!

Related Story: 5 Strategies to Improve Student Retention in Higher Education