In recent months, we’ve talked a lot about attracting students to our beautiful campus and helping them decide to become Salukis. Equally important to our efforts to grow enrollment is keeping the students we already have and guiding them on the path to graduation.
In recent years, SIU Carbondale has invested in student retention. We opened the nationally recognized First Saluki Center for the 40% of our students who identify as first generation. We have implemented software to better track students’ progress, improved advising and UNIV101, and are using an early warning system to identify and assist students who might not be doing well during those critical first few weeks of college.
Another important part of our retention efforts is to encourage students to register for fall classes before they leave for the summer. It is a campuswide effort. You may have noticed the signs around campus. You may have noticed graphics and videos of professors and students on social media.
In addition to the social media posts, students may have seen digital ads, read about registration in the weekly e-newsletter that goes to every student’s inbox or heard from a relative who saw an article in the e-newsletter for Saluki families.
A lot is happening behind the scenes. Advisors and admissions professionals are communicating with students by phone and text, and UNIV101 instructors are reaching out to former students. As students sign up for housing, they are reminded about registration. Colleges are reaching out to their majors, while university leaders are getting in touch with other students. The SIU Foundation’s student callers will urge fellow students to register.
We’re also working to remove barriers. Financial Aid is talking to students who have holds on their bursar accounts, and Student Affairs is working with students who need to update health records or resolve other issues to remove holds. In residence halls, resident assistants are directing students to resources to address personal concerns.
If students register for fall classes now, they are more likely to return after summer. Of course, this is in our university’s best interest. Growing enrollment provides the foundation to address other institutional priorities such as equitable and competitive compensation and hiring people to fill essential needs. This is why you may have read brief articles in SIU Today about encouraging students to register.
Many times, I have heard faculty and staff ask how they can help with enrollment. One simple step you can take is to ask students you teach or supervise at work if they have registered for classes. If they have yet to do so, provide them with a friendly reminder that if they sign up for courses now, they are more likely to get the classes they desire at the days and times they want. If a student expresses a concern, you can refer them to Saluki Cares at salukicares.siu.edu.
It is also in our students’ best interest to register now and continue to see a return on their investment of time and resources. We must do everything we can to set Salukis on the path to earn their degrees and achieve success after graduation.