University Support Services

Student Retention

We know that competing priorities, course planning, and life events can sometimes knock a student off course. Using learner-focused, data-powered solutions, we work collaboratively through the challenges learners may face, supporting their needs all the way to graduation, and beyond.

Enhancing Both On-Campus and Online Student Retention

The ongoing needs of online students are very different from those of on-campus. We draw on two decades of experience to keep online learners motivated and on-track to graduation.

A happy student thinks about her career.
Portrait of a young female student dressed casually with colorful books during the break in crowded corridor at the old university

In the online environment you cannot rely on cues such as eye contact and body language to recognize when a student is struggling. This means we must use a different way to connect. By combining theories from both psychology and counselling, we’re able to fully engage with students online, providing a vital lifeline to support their growth. And it’s working—programs using our compassionate retention solutions have an 89% term-to-term student retention rate.

Engaging students online and on-campus

Once a learner enrolls in a program, one of our advisors contacts them to identify their strengths and motivations for pursuing their chosen degree. Those conversations help us personalize the analytics-driven support we provide, which helps learners stay on track through to graduation.

Using a combination of our learner success resources and personal coaching, we will help you boost persistence rates and help your learners cross the finish line.

Our team works to:

  • Align retention strategies with best practices

    Through proactive communication and real-time monitoring of student activity in learning management systems, learner success is strengthened. Our advisors develop meaningful relationships with your students, providing motivation and encouraging momentum every step of the way.

  • Provide consistent support to meet retention goals

    We will work with you to develop standard procedures to achieve your retention goals. These will define how we help students tackle the academic challenges they face online, on campus, and beyond.

  • Build on outcomes for student success

    Academic performance data allows us to continuously refine the ways we empower learners. This ongoing improvement strengthens our support throughout their journey.

  • Provide field placement support

    For programs that require placements, we can provide learners with the support they need to find and secure successful roles, while taking the administrative tasks out of your hands. We will also help them stay motivated as their field work progresses.

Find out how our Clinical Placement Support can streamline the placement process.

“My advisor is absolutely amazing! She has been attentive, knowledgeable, proactive, and responsive—and that alone has allowed this process to be an easy one.”
- Wiley-supported Student
“My academic advisor is the reason I have continued [in my program]. He was the key at the beginning and then everything else fell into place. I feel like he ‘has my back.’ I appreciate his attention and promptness very much.”
- Wiley-supported Student

Preventing student attrition

Education is a long and sometimes challenging journey. Many learners will face hurdles along the way. But our student support team is here to keep them on track, all the way through to graduation. This ongoing commitment to attrition prevention begins on their very first day. Our advisors follow our Online Learning Advising Model (OLAM) to keep learners on track. It brings together four different areas of theory and research to create a new approach to supporting online students. These areas are:


  • Appreciative advising

    This stems from the psychological principles of positive reinforcement. Our advisors help their learners understand their strengths early on and how to use those strengths to overcome their obstacles.


  • Proactive advising

    This is a great way to reach out to “at risk” students, i.e. those who would not normally seek help on their own. By building relationships and supporting these students, our advisors can help remove any doubts about their ability to achieve their goals.


  • Shame resilience theory

    The main feeling contributing to disconnection is shame, often linked to depression, anxiety, and anger. By helping students recognize and talk about these issues without judgement, our advisors can get them back on board.


  • Cognitive behavioral theory

    Distorted perceptions are the biggest trigger of negative emotion and behavior. Following a gentle questioning process, our advisors can help students identify and re-evaluate their perceptions to match the world around them.

How we support students in practice

OLAM ensures learners know we are here to support them. It also helps us provide the solutions necessary to keep them on track until graduation. The steps below—known as the five Cs of OLAM—may seem simple, but it’s important not to underestimate the impact they have on learners in the online environment.


  • Connect

    We keep students connected, by checking in regularly and really listening to their concerns whenever they arise.


  • Create

    We encourage students to see a positive outcome to each of their problems by reminding them of—and playing to—their individual strengths and motivations, and helping them recall why they started in the first place.


  • Challenge

    We challenge misperceptions and tackle defeatist attitudes head on, offering a safe space for students to explore alternative views and solutions.


  • Collaborate

    We work together to plan the route ahead, putting in strategic and achievable milestones and breaking obstacles down into manageable steps.


  • Commit

    Once everything is in place, we encourage students to commit to a plan, assuring them of our ongoing support. Once they are on track, we will hold them accountable, gently encouraging them with regular check ins.

The 5 Cs in practice

24/7 technical support for learners

Tech problems are always distressing, but in remote environments they can cause serious trouble. We are on hand 24/7 to help alleviate potential stresses for learners. With seamless access to learning platforms, our team are always available with on-call help. When needed, we will direct learners toward financial aid resources and student services too.

Are Your Learners Staying on Track to Graduation?

How do your conferrals compare to your competitors? To find out, complete our short market assessment form. We’ll schedule a call to walk you through a detailed analysis of where your university sits in the market, and what solutions can help you be competitive, and reach your goals.

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