SOURCE: EducationDynamics


September 22, 2009 11:22 ET

EducationDynamics White Paper Reveals Ways to Add "Purpose" to Social Networking Communities to Boost Academic Success and Student Retention

"University Purpose Networks: Online Communities for Student Retention and Success" Marks the Most Recent Addition to EducationDynamics' Online Resource Library

HOBOKEN, NJ--(Marketwire - September 22, 2009) - Colleges and universities working to combat the nation's lagging student retention rates are adopting new online mediums at a rapid pace, however few marketers have proven methods from which to draw upon, until now. Released today, EducationDynamics' ( new white paper, "University Purpose Networks: Online Communities for Student Retention and Success," reveals the four best practices for building effective purpose networks, or academically purposeful social networking communities, to optimize academic success and student retention.

Now available for download at, the white paper is co-authored by preeminent experts on post-secondary retention and addresses a vital question in today's dynamic higher education landscape: How can institutions effectively harness the power of social networks to serve an academic purpose, and engage students to create a meaningful school-student connection to heighten academic success and student retention?

"University Purpose Networks: Online Communities for Student Retention and Success" explores best practices to optimize the use of purpose networks, particularly in relation to:

--  Orientation -- Leveraging purpose networks prior to matriculation can
    facilitate meaningful connections for incoming students to engender a
    positive adjustment to college.
--  Learning outcomes -- Academically purposeful online communities
    cultivate students' commitment to their institutions by regularly and
    uniformly communicating institutional characteristics, goals and values.
--  Mentoring -- One-to-one or one-to-many mentor relationships developed
    through the messaging and discussion board components of a purpose network
    provide critical academic and social support for students.
--  Intrusive academic advising practices -- Purposeful online communities
    track student engagement and flag students displaying at-risk behaviors,
    thereby assisting student success administrators execute proactive

Additionally, the white paper cites preliminary results from an EducationDynamics study across 20 schools indicating that students involved in purpose networks were retained to their sophomore year at a nine percent higher rate than students not involved in the network. Additionally, more than 13 percent of students surveyed reported that the purpose network was "very important" or "extremely important" in their decision to remain enrolled at their college or university.

"Social networks are changing the way postsecondary institutions interface with admits and enrollees, and progressive universities are capitalizing on web-based platforms through which to engage students," explains Dr. Adam Troy, co-author of the white paper and director of research at EducationDynamics. "Purpose networks, unlike generic social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, are bi-directional communicative platforms designed to support critical student learning outcomes that are essential for success in the modern university setting."

"University Purpose Networks: Online Communities for Student Retention and Success" is the latest white paper to be added to EducationDynamics' Sharing Center. Additional white papers are also available for download, including "Hindsight, Insight, Foresight: Understanding Adult Learner Trends to Predict Future Opportunities" and "Closing the Gaps: Meeting Emerging Student Preferences and Increasing Yield in the Post-Inquiry Enrollment Process." Visit to browse the resource library.

About EducationDynamics

EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is higher education's leading marketing services company dedicated to helping institutions find, enroll and retain students. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including,,,, and its more than 50 special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of Web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition. Through its Market Research and Advisory Services division, the company brings a decade of proprietary research, unparalleled market and student intelligence, and best practice insights to its clients. For more information, visit

Contact Information