We have yet to meet a school leader who wouldn’t like his or her district to be better connected to former students. We have also never met someone who tried to do so without experiencing quite a bit of frustration.
Even in today’s vastly interconnected world, it’s remarkably easy to lose contact with people. Folks move. Phone numbers change. Social media trends come and go.
There has been little research dedicated specifically to the question of how to track down former students, let alone any evaluation of specific strategies. There is a tremendous wealth of knowledge and practice, however, in longitudinal social science research. And time and time again, the conclusions of researchers charged with tracking individuals over long periods of time can be summed up in two words: flexibility and creativity.
That’s what we’ve found at Graduation Alliance, too. We’ve had great success in locating disengaged students through a flexible and creative approach that employs a team of re-engagement recruiters who use phone calls, post-cards and letters, email, social media, associate networking, and advertising campaigns to refresh connectivity between students and their schools.
“It’s not just that we need multiple methods of contact to locate students,” Graduation Alliance chief academic officer Rebekah Richards said. “It’s also that some students need to hear our message in multiple ways before they’re ready to pick up the phone, visit a website or return a social media contact request.”
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