Engaging Students and Alumni via a Mobile App

If your educational institutions is like most, you have two big questions:

  1. How do I engage my students outside of class?
  2. How can I engage our alumni after graduation?

A good mobile app can help you answer both questions—and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! The same tools can be used to involve both students and alumni, and the transition from “student user” to “alumni user” can be seamless.

One App, Two Audiences

For students, a mobile app is a great way to get information quickly, communicate with the school, and pay for things like tuition, field trips or sports gear. It’s an effective method of keeping in touch with teachers, and staying up-to-date on school activities.

For alumni, a mobile app can help them stay involved after graduation, stay connected with teachers and classmates, and donate to their alma mater. Push notifications, calendars and event locations mean that your alumni can have the information they need right at their fingertips.

Let’s look at one example of how a student could use your app to transition post-graduation.

Easy Transition

Monique’s in her last weeks of school. She installed her school’s app about a year ago, and has used it to double check class schedules, find event locations, and buy some school gear. (When her car blew a tire, she also used it to request an absence from her morning teachers.) Last winter, when the school was snowed under for two days, a push notification notified her before she’d tried driving to class! She’s registered for classes in-app, and submitted her form for a trip to New York, right from her phone. About six weeks before graduating, Monique received a new notification from the app.

“Graduating students, check out the Alumni tabs in-app for great post-graduation resources!”

Opening the app, Monique notices the Alumni tabs. One of them has a calendar of alumni events, with locations listed. Another has a store of alumni gear, including graduation rings, and an option to donate to the school. There’s even a “finding your career path” feature with resources from the school career services office, and links to employers looking for graduates like her!

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Practical Tools

Here are just some of the tools Monique’s school used to keep her engaged post-graduation:

  • Push Notifications allow for immediate, scheduled and custom messages to your students, their parents or alumni. These are especially helpful for reminding students of things like tuition deadlines, or notifying everyone of last-minute schedule changes.
  • In-app Payments allow you to sell everything from instrument rentals to game tickets. Tuition payments are also a common feature (if applicable), as are payments for field trips or extracurricular activities.
  • Donations lets students, parents and alumni give back to your school—and with one push notification, you can reach out to all your potential funders. (Sounds easier than making phone calls, doesn’t it?) Pre-selected amounts can be requested, along with custom amounts. This means both the $5 and $5,000 donations can be processed in-app, no muss no fuss.
  • Events Calendars and Locations let your students and alumni know what’s happening and when. This is a great way to keep alumni up-to-date, alerting them of events they can participate in, potential volunteer opportunities, and things like career fairs or seminars.
  • Online Services allows nearly any existing service to be incorporated in-app. Have pdfs you want to share with students? Link them to the app. Want to connect your Facebook, Twitter or BlackBoard accounts? No problem.
  • Ask Supervisor & Teacher Directory makes staying in touch with faculty and staff—before and after graduation—a piece of cake. Students can now quickly find out who their new teachers will be, and alumni can reconnect with former teachers without spending fifteen minutes looking for Dr. Brown’s email.

Your mobile app can connect you to your students and alumni in ways unheard of just five years ago, for a price your school can afford. Why not take advantage of it?