A Gallup report published last year confirmed the positive impact established career and mentoring programs have - not only on alumni, but also schools. Findings such as ‘alumni with access to such programs are twice as likely to feel their university was worth the money’ highlights incredible opportunities for alumni relations.
Employing richer measures of post-grad outcomes, including life and job fulfillment, Gallup tracked success and noted key areas of correlation to student experiences. Six factors were identified which strongly reflected life success, career and mentoring programs being two consistently referenced.
Not only do these provide the best foundation for long term alumni happiness, but they can be the cornerstone for a strong, long term alumni-alma mater bond.
How do you fare?
Gallup found that only 9% of graduates find their alumni network to be helpful in the job market, and only 31% "strongly agree" that they gained "important job-related skills" while in study.
Sadly, this suggests that a majority of students feel they are lacking in this area when they graduate.. Nearly half (49%) of recent graduates regret not having received more networking-specific training, more than any other skill. .
To help foster these skills, universities need to take the lead and coach students to build relationships in their spheres of academic and professional interest.
The new academic year, with the changes in social interaction that comes with it, provides an excellent opportunity on which to capitalize.
The era of digital connections and online communities is already here. Students are being forced to interact exclusively online. Without guidance, they may not develop effective networking skills that are critical to success. But by facilitating connections within student-alumni communities, universities can foster coaching and mentoring to empower students and alumni to take control of their futures and flourish.
Helping form the connections with alumni, schools can reassure new students of 2020 who may feel disconnected due to distance learning and set the stage for their university experience - one of support, guidance, and encouragement.
Gallup’s past research has linked meaningful mentoring relationships during college with positive long-term outcomes for alumni after college — including well-being, employee engagement, and more positive perceptions of their alma mater.
By providing students with these programs, schools are literally setting them up for a better life. By paving the way to a more prosperous future, schools secure more positive perceptions from students feeling their education was worth the investment, and provide the opportunity for alumni to give back in a meaningful and valuable way.
Such an opportunity to raise alumni engagement is welcome news, especially with the uncertainty this coming year presents.
Focusing on this fall semester, with student anxiety around their futures at an all-time high, establishing systems known to help them succeed will offer valuable relief.
The effect nurturing students has on alumni outcomes is another point touched on in the study. The perception alumni have that their alma mater cares builds goodwill in the hearts of graduates. In ensuring this focus, the school can expect higher levels of appreciation for their efforts, fostering stronger, longer-lasting relationships, and leads to more engaged alumni.
Whether schools choose to go it alone, or employ experts such as 360Alumni, with over a decade of experience in helping organizations create, engage, and expand their alumni communities, providing easily accessible programs that foster relationships can have a huge impact on alumni engagement.
Schools who embrace the opportunity to plan for the fall and put in place the foundations of an engaging network will see their alumni and students more fulfilled down the road. With better prospects and a greater ability and desire to give back to the institution that set them up for success, a lasting bond is ensured.
If the only question that remains is ‘how’, we at 360Alumni have the solution. Reach out today for advice on how to establish or strengthen your alumni network.
360Alumni - Connections for Life.