Big data analyzes an unusual group: Successful students

Colleges hope to identify the secret of their success

While predictive analytics is a growing trend on campuses, many institutions focus on students at risk of dropping out.

But a few schools are taking the opposite approach, Lekan Oguntoyinbo reports for University Business. They're tracking the most successful students in an effort to understand the secret to their success—and develop recommendations to help those who are struggling.

Indiana-based Ivy Tech Community College has CRM software that tracks students through enrollment, advising, and course attendance. In the last 18 months, the school has started analyzing patterns in the data of successful students.

Officials have already noticed that students who attend more campus events also perform stronger academically. The college plans to continue gathering data and looking for more patterns over the next year.

Lasell College in Massachusetts revamped their advising structure five years ago to offer students several opportunities to visit their academic advisors. Since then, administrators have learned that students who meet with their academic advisor five times in a semester have higher retention rates. Lasell officials have also noticed that GPA is a stronger predictor of an incoming student's performance than test scores.

Other institutions are thinking about how to ensure successful students stay engaged. Maine's Thomas College established a leadership training academy for incoming students with high school GPAs above 3.0 (Oguntoyinbo, University Business, accessed 10/20).

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