Enhancing Student Outcomes with the Onboarding Success Pyramid

While the transition to college is an exciting time, it can also present anxieties, uncertainties, and challenges. Studies show that a difficult start can impact academic success and student persistence. Recognizing this crucial period, Concept3D designed an innovative framework called “The Onboarding Success Pyramid” to foster stronger student outcomes. Building off of over 10 years of experience serving the education community with award-winning interactive campus maps, event management solutions, and virtual tours, this framework outlines a progressive approach to new student onboarding, emphasizing the use of technology to enhance the student experience, foster student persistence, and create an optimal learning environment. 

Bolstering Student Persistence
The Onboarding Success Pyramid aims to promote student persistence by focusing on the first 30 days of a student’s college journey. During this period, students frequently encounter challenges in four key spheres. 

  1. Academics: Challenges related to academic rigor, workload, exam preparation, and time management.
  2. Financial: Difficulties in comprehending the costs of college and effectively managing finances.
  3. Social Connections: Challenges in adjusting to a new environment, forging friendships, and adapting to roommate dynamics.
  4. Life Balance: Balancing class sizes, academic expectations, and competing priorities.

Colleges and universities have unique opportunities during orientation and move-in day activities to address these challenges. By providing resources, and fostering connections with faculty and peer mentors, they can establish valuable support systems for students.

Technology and Student Expectations
Today’s college students have grown up with technology and have high expectations for its use in their educational experience. For them, technology transcends mere information access; it embodies their identity and serves as a conduit for connecting with family, friends, faculty, and peers. To meet these expectations, educational institutions must embrace technology as a cornerstone for supporting student success.

The Four Key Pillars of The Onboarding Success Pyramid
Similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, The Onboarding Success Pyramid postulates that students must have a strong foundation for a successful move-in day, the opportunity to build relationships and receive guidance from mentors, and the ability to make connections across the community starting from day one to achieve personal fulfillment.

The Onboarding Success Pyramid outlines four pillars for a progressive onboarding approach, with each building on the previous one: 

  1. Logistics and Details: Ensure a seamless move-in day experience and a smooth transition to campus, so students have space to focus on higher priorities.
  2. Guidance and Mentors: Craft a comprehensive and engaging orientation program with peer mentors and advising to establish connections.
  3. Community Connections: Sustain support and engagement post move-in by providing digital resources, allowing students to learn about offerings ahead of time.
  4. Individual Fulfillment: With the first three pillars providing strong foundations, students ultimately seek their own path finding personal fulfillment academically, socially, and beyond. This enables true persistence. 

While adopting frameworks and technologies is crucial, the ultimate opportunity is to use these tools to create human connections at scale. By establishing this sense of belonging for each student from the start, colleges can have an outsized impact on not just onboarding, but long-term outcomes.

Read the full white paper to dive deeper into innovative strategies that leverage the framework of The Onboarding Success Pyramid and leverage technology to enhance the student experience. To learn more about the FoundationCCC’s agreement with Concept3D, please contact cbcontracts@foundationccc.org.

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