Comparable to companies like eHarmony and Netflix, universities like Arizona state are offering a new tool for college students. Arizona state University offers what they refer to as “eAdvising”, a system which uses data from a variety of sources, including Facebook, to help students stay on track with their major and suggest classes. According to the New York Times, only 31 percent of college students graduate with their B.A. in four years, compared to 56 percent who graduate within 6 years. These statistics combined with consistently rising tuition make the need for efficiency clear.
Here’s how the eAdvisor system works to help students efficiently complete their degrees at Arizona State University:
- College freshmen must pick a major (or five broad “exploratory” majors if they have yet to make a decision) and course recommendations are generated.
- They must complete 45 credits in their chosen field.
- If the student fails to complete the needed credits, the eAdvisor marks them as “off track” and if the problem worsens, the student may have to change their major.
In an interview with the New York Times, Provost of Arizona state University Elizabeth D. Capaldi uses the example of students majoring in psychology and putting off the more difficult courses to explain the eAdvisor. She says: “Kids who major in psych put that off, because they don’t want to take statistics. They want to know: Does their boyfriend love them? Are they nuts? They take all those courses, then they hit statistics and they say: ‘Oh, God, I can’t do this. I can’t do experimental design.’ And so they’re in the wrong major. By putting those courses first, you can see if a student is going to succeed in that major early.” According to the provost, since using the eAdvisor system, the university’s retention rate has increased from 77 percent to 84 percent.
Other colleges that offer similar programs include Austin Peay University, the University of Florida, and Rio Salado College. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas is also developing a similar program.
Read the whole New York Times article here.