Higher Education

Spotselfie Wants to Boost Freshmen Retention with Social Media

By Henry Kronk
March 20, 2019

The number of undergraduates entering college has been steadily falling for the past six years. While experts are divided in their projections about the next five to ten years (with some saying enrollments will fall further and some saying they will increase), many small colleges have been closing their doors in recent years. A survey conducted last year by the Chronicle of Higher Education found that 52% of public institutions and 42% of private schools did not meet their enrollment goals during the 2017-2018 school year. And once enrolled, learners still drop out in high numbers. Currently, just over 60% of undergrads graduate in 6 years from a four-year degree granting school. A company by the name of Flying Eye Reality Inc. believes it can increase retention via their social media app Spotselfie.

Tapping Social Media to Boost Retention

The premise of Spotselfie is simple: If first-year students connect more with their campus and their peers, they will make more friends, and be more likely to return next year. 

A current MBA class at Purdue is currently testing out the app. The results of the study have yet to be published. But Flying Eye Reality is building on more than a hunch with their venture. Citing data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2014, the company says that nearly a quarter (24.5%) of freshmen and sophomore students drop out. While the data presented in the NCES document may not relate specifically to postsecondary students, College Atlas put the statistic higher, saying that 30% of college freshmen drop out

As Flying Eye Reality states in a press release, “One of the top 4 reasons students drop out during their first year of college is because of a lack of friends on campus, which can lead to isolation and homesickness. A recent study of 150,000 students found that 9.5 percent of respondents frequently felt depressed during their college stay, rising from the 6.1 percent recorded five years earlier.”

Spotselfie’s Attempt to Reverse Declining Enrollment

Even with evidence of the app’s effectiveness pending, Flying Eye Reality has released a white label version of the product, allowing universities to associate their own brand with the app.

“Now is a critical time for freshmen students to download and become acquainted with their university’s white-labeled version of Spotselfie. Moving into the spring and summer months, they can begin communicating with other members of their incoming class. This allows each student to arrive on campus, day-one, already confident that they have friends and a burgeoning social network,” said Ray Shingler, Director of Development, in a release.

Besides what one might consider more standard features of a social media app, Spotselfie also includes an augmented reality (AR) component. It allows students to capture images and video around campus. This is visible to their peers as they walk around in the same areas. 

Besides the AR feature, the app requires a .edu email to sign in to ensure security. 

Featured Image: Robin Worrall, Unsplash.