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Predictive analytics is nothing new to colleges and universities. Over the past few years, educational institutions have used big data and predictive modeling software in their admissions process. Even high school students employ algorithms to find the college that could be the best fit for them, according to U.S. News and World Report. Schools are now taking the power of predictive analytics to another level by using it to assist their pupils through their academic careers.

"The software can give staff early warning signs."

Better student engagement
Colleges such as Wichita State University use predictive modeling tools to keep track of teacher as well as student performance, according to Fast Company. Crunching these numbers gives counselors and advisors the information they need and provide it early enough to make strategic decisions. The software can give staff early warning signs of pupils having trouble with a particular class. After the school receives the notification, it may then use its resources to assist the struggling students and get them back on track.

In fact, WSU adopted IBM predictive analytics tools to identify potentially at-risk students before the university even accepted them, IBM noted in a white paper. This shows how data analytics empower both students and universities by bringing better engagement and pupil retention to the table. 

New tools to help
Educational institutions need something in their tool kit to prepare students not only for their classes but also to assist undergraduates in graduating on time. If current data is any indication, students are no longer taking four years to get their bachelor's degree – they're taking six or even more years. Only 52.9 percent of students who entered college in 2009 completed their degrees within six years, according to the latest four-year report from the National Student Clearinghouse. 

By using predictive analytics for engagement and retention, colleges can head problems off at the pass and potentially bump up their graduation rates. Schools such as Colorado State University already employed these tools to generate better communication between students and staff members, which in turn increased pupil retention and graduation, Campus Technology noted.

Predictive analytics give college instructors and guidance counselors a bigger picture by breaking down the walls that separate them. It allows everyone to work toward the same goal easily. Students get the help they need to succeed and graduate on time.