Today’s Students and What They Need
In December 2023, Upswing distributed a survey to learn more about our current students. We wanted to learn more about their student status, experience in college, challenges, motivations, and how they felt regarding the resources available to them. Our findings reveal some important insights into students’ needs and mindsets.
Who We Serve
Upswing exists to empower historically marginalized people to achieve their life goals. Our survey results show that many of our students belong to these populations.
Student Status – More than half of our student respondents (62.6%) are on track to graduate by 2025, and 68% are full-time students, which generally means they are taking at least 12 credits in that term. Students with heavier course loads and those nearing graduation often require higher-level support which Upswing is proud to provide.
About 70% of our students are studying either in a hybrid format or fully online. As more and more students are studying virtually since the pandemic, the tools and services they utilize need to be accessible online as well. Upswing has been focusing on this for over a decade, and we have significantly expanded upon the breadth and depth of services we offer.
Additionally, 62.6% of respondents are enrolled in a community college or junior college. These types of institutions are often much smaller than universities, and they may struggle to deliver the range of resources that students need to succeed. Upswing’s wraparound platform makes it much easier for community colleges to increase the number of students they can serve with tutoring, counseling, and more.
Identities – Nontraditional students, while bringing invaluable perspectives and strengths to college campuses, often encounter many barriers within traditional postsecondary systems. More than 40% of students identified as adult learners (over the age of 25). Additionally, 24.5% of respondents are parents or caregivers, which brings additional challenges to pursuing an education.
First-generation students are the first in their families to attend college, and they may not have as much access to support networks that help them navigate college policies and procedures. More than 38% of our respondents identify as first-generation. With Upswing’s range of products in a single online platform, we simplify many of these processes, increasing accessibility and decreasing the stigma associated with asking for help.
All Eyes on Graduation
Many of our students are focused on graduation, an obvious goal for most college students. Our survey data allows us to dive a little deeper into how students feel about this important milestone.
Confidence – 58.6% of students feel very confident they will complete their degree or program. Of those who were less confident in graduating, many cited mental health issues such as stress and anxiety (75.5%), financial concerns (64.9%), and time management (62.2%). Upswing helps connect students to mental health support and counseling with BetterMynd, and our virtual assistant Ana has shown proven success in recommending time management resources and other study tips.
Motivation – Related to confidence in oneself, we were curious about what is motivating our students to reach graduation. More than 38% said they were their own biggest motivation, a statistic that indicates an intrinsic orientation towards academic success. Friends and family were the biggest motivation for 24.3% of respondents, and 28.8% were motivated by the possibility of a better career or salary.
Resources – Students need accessible, convenient, effective, and robust support to succeed in college. Encouragingly, 76.6% of our students responded that they felt their school provides the resources they need to graduate. As Upswing continues to expand our products, we expect this number to increase even higher at our partner institutions. Most students also responded that the resources they needed to complete their degree were academic support like tutoring (70.3%), study skills (63.5%), and time management (60.8%). Upswing is designed to provide all of these areas of support for colleges and universities.
This survey helps us understand the students we work with and how to improve upon our platform and products. We know that a large portion of those who use our services are nontraditional students, a diverse population we have focused on serving since our founding.
Many have numerous responsibilities outside of their education, such as taking care of families or working full-time, which makes accessing campus services much more challenging. Plenty of students seek academic support, but they also are in need of mental health support and soft skills development like time management.
Upswing’s range of products empowers all students to take control of their educational journey by seeking the help they need, in and out of the classroom. To learn more about how we can support your institution, please contact us here.
Notes on Survey Methodology: All data referenced in this post was collected in December 2023 from an anonymous and voluntary 11-question survey that was distributed via email to some of our currently enrolled students at our partner institutions. Some questions allowed respondents to select more than 1 answer.
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