Algonquin College Targets Student Retention with Vocantas IVR

Algonquin College in Ottawa has again deployed Vocantas' interactive voice response (IVR) solution to reach out to its students. 

“With student retention at the forefront of issues facing colleges throughout the province, the Vocantas IVR solution enabled us to quickly and efficiently reach out to thousands of new students in September, just as their college education was getting under way,” said Robert Gillett, president and CEO of Algonquin College. 

The IVR system made thousands of outbound calls to freshman students in their first few weeks on the Algonquin campus. The system asked a series of questions designed to identify areas of greatest need.  For example, students were asked if they would benefit from college administration support in academic advisement, tutoring, note-taking skills, time management skills, financial assistance advice, personal counseling, or career counseling. More than half of the student respondents reported one or more areas of need and requested further assistance from college administration. Responses came in via email, text, or Blackboard, the college’s blog and email system.  The results of the survey are handled directly by Algonquin’s “Here to Help” Student Success office, by reaching out to students through individual student advisors and specialists. 

Student attrition costs universities and colleges millions of dollars every year in lost revenue. Innovative programs, such as the Algonquin College student support efforts, are addressing this issue while offering new students and at-risk students the very best support possible to increase their chances of graduating from their chosen program. 

“Once again Vocantas and Algonquin partnered to implement an effective outbound interactive voice response survey that would quickly identify students at risk of exiting a college program prematurely.  We are pleased to work with Algonquin Colleges’ administration team to offer the best support possible to new students and help ensure that every student is offered excellent support in their early days of college life,” said Gary Hannah, president and CEO Vocantas. 

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