|New students socializing the focus of Inigral app|
|Written by Erin Hogg, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Sunday, 20 March 2011 19:02|
Recently named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 most innovative companies in education, Inigral’s Schools App on Facebook allows for universities to raise retention rates and enrollment.
Aiming at prospective students in the class of 2015, Schools App allows for college and university admissions to send invites to people via Facebook. Once the student accepts, the goal is for them to make as many friends that will also be attending the same university before the first day of school.
“It’s like a combination of Twitter, Yammer and the Dating Game, in respect to how we suggest other prospective students to the user of Schools App,” Michael Staton, co-founder and CEO of Inigral, said.
Schools App appears on the side panel of the student’s Facebook page and they can add and share information with someone.
“People apply to so many schools and admissions have a hard time knowing who will actually attend – as many as 94 percent of students who join the app end up enrolling.
“One of the biggest reasons students drop out is that they never get involved on campus. This app engages students to meet other people with the same interests and get involved,” Staton said.
Students can find their niche community before they even go to their first day of classes, he added.
Schools App takes information from students’ profile interests and they can also add in other interests in the app as well.
In 2007, the Inigral team launched their first application on Facebook called Courses. Students could post their course schedules and find others in their classes.
“The problem with Courses was some students who wanted to add courses were the more motivated students on campus. Other students wanted to connect at their school in a more social aspect,” Staton said.
Schools App launched in 2008, Staton said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has directly invested in Inigral to bring the Schools App to institutions serving recipients of Pell Grants.
According to Jennifer Detweiler, social media assistant at the Office of Admissions and senior public relations major, ISU uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a blog to interact with prospective and current students.
“For some students, social media is their main connection channel. So, it’s important for ISU to interact with students in the social media realm. It’s more convenient for students to receive campus news and event information through social media,” Detweiler said.
“It’s been useful because it gives students quick information about university news and events in a convenient location,” she added.
This year, the Office of Admissions bought a Flip video camera to create videos that highlight the ISU experience.
“We also have been tweeting live at open houses and using the hashtag #ISUOpen. This helps students interact with one another during the event and allows them to ask us questions throughout the program,” Detweiler said.