A Welcome Win: How Baylor Achieved Nearly 90% New Student Buy-In with Raftr’s Community Platform
You only get one chance to make a great first impression — discover how the team at Baylor strengthened student engagement & retention during Welcome Week, while making a first impression that really rocked.
Baylor University prides itself on its traditions, including serving as a true home for its students via their new student programs. And nothing is more crucial to that effort than the school’s Welcome Week for new students.
But years of cobbling together Baylor’s Welcome Week program using disconnected tools (everything from unauthenticated advertising-driven platforms like Facebook to Excel schedules and yard signs) was wearing thin on over-stretched staff, and leaving a lot of valuable data on the table.
The prime directive of Baylor’s Welcome Week is to foster a sense of genuine belonging among new students. Arriving on campus for the first time can be an unnerving experience for anyone. And with so much to take in, new students appreciate anything a school can do to lower the stress factor during Welcome Week.
“Students have that innate desire to form belonging and connection. I think part of our jobs at an institution is to provide every opportunity we can for students to be able to find those things. For us, Raftr met and exceeded our expectations for that need.”
Associate Director for Orientation Programs
Baylor was in search of a suite of tools that would help new arrivals find community, connect with student leaders, meet fellow students, navigate the week and breathe easy – right from the start.
The tools also needed to help program organizers:
- Keep tabs on new students – logistically and as mentors
- Provide students with real-time information
- Minimize the confusion that new students inevitably experience
- Empower Welcome Week leaders in charge of new student programs
Along the way, Baylor’s Welcome Week interface had to meet the aesthetic and functionality standards of the school’s app-savvy new arrivals.
Finally – and crucially: When all the Welcome Week confetti had been swept up, Baylor’s new student program’s staff wanted actionable data that they could use to determine which onboarding activities were delivering as intended, which weren’t, and how they could do things better next time.
During Welcome Week, Raftr empowered undergraduate student leaders to moderate their own small group messaging channels, giving the staff at Baylor more time to focus more on overall program implementation and optimize their communication strategy.
By leveraging Raftr during Welcome Week student leaders were able to:
- Provide a single “Mission Control Center” where new students could access relevant information about Welcome Week programs.
- Create shared experiences for student groups to help foster a sense of belonging among new arrivals.
- Save time by implementing automations including auto-generated content creation, in-app extensions to other Baylor resources and custom integrations.
- Chat 1:1 with new students, while encouraging student-to-student communication.
- Stop relying on email and send announcements directly to the palms of students.
- Coordinate meet-ups before and outside of school-sponsored programming.
- Build and conduct polling
Users (88% activation)
Avg Session Duration
Private Messages Sent
“Student Belonging” is the holy grail of higher ed. The more at-home a student feels, the better they’ll perform in their studies, the greater the chance that they’ll receive their degree, and the more likely they’ll be to remain a loyal part of a school’s community beyond graduation.
Raftr helps Baylor University make a new student’s first taste of campus life significantly less stressful and a lot more fun and meaningful. With Raftr as its home base, Baylor’s Welcome Week equips new students with robust information, resources and community support that power their journey into their first days of higher education, and all the days to come.
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