Optimizing Student Retention from Undergraduate to the DPT Program within the Same Institution
University stakeholders such as academic advisors, admissions staff and undergraduate (UG) faculty have the ability to influence student retention from undergraduate to graduate school. The previous groups of this multi-year project identified that there were gaps in knowledge and resources available to these stakeholders. Prospective UG students wanted increased opportunities to interact with CSP DPT faculty and students. UG Faculty and staff desired additional information and resources that they could share with prospective students. The needs assessment that was conducted drove the main goals and products that this project implemented.
The purpose of this project was to improve the connectedness between the CSP DPT program and university stakeholders. This project had three primary goals:
- Increase stakeholder awareness of the CSP DPT program
- Enhance marketing of the CSP DPT program
- Create a peer mentorship program for UG students
Stakeholder groups involved in the development of these products included CSP academic advisors, admissions staff, Kinesiology and Science faculty/staff, and UG students.
The goal of this product was to improve the DPT social media page and to highlight unique features of our program. This consisted of the following:
- Creation of a social media committee
- Established a shared folder of resources and social media best practices based on the literature review that was conducted
- Consistent utilization of CoSchedule and Canva for ease of social media creation and posting
This portion of the project worked towards goal one by creating and implementing products to target identified stakeholder groups. This included the following:
- Creation of Stakeholder Presentation
- Stakeholder Meetings with UG students and Faculty
- Information Sessions with prospective DPT students
- Distribution and creation of informational handouts
Peer Mentorship Program
This is an ongoing portion of our project at this time and includes:
- Construction of a detailed CSP DPT Mentorship Guide for the DPT student mentor and UG mentee
- Creation of a tracking form to ensure participation and completion of mentorship program requirements
- Dissemination of mentorship flyers around campus to increase awareness of program
DataBox, an online performance tracker, was used to show the trends in performance of 2020 to 2021, over a 304-day period. The resources and best practices established contributed to significant growth in page reach, impressions, engagements and clicks.
Nine total events were hosted throughout 2021 with stakeholder groups. There were over 50 staff and faculty and 20 student engagements.
This project was designed to enhance the connection between the CSP DPT program and UG stakeholders. The creation of a social media committee and assigned faculty and student leadership will enhance the long-term sustainability. The establishment of a shared drive with access to templates, photo sharing, and organizational tools will allow future students to have the resources necessary for social media best practices. The CSP DPT program will continue to use subscriptions to Canva and CoSchedule to allow for consistency in social media posts.
Stakeholder meetings with academic advising, admissions, and UG faculty were an effective way to educate these groups about the CSP DPT program. Meetings with UG students interested in DPT school were less effective due to lack of interest and attendance. Utilizing an indirect method of communication with these students through faculty and professors may work best for future interactions. The success of the mentorship program will be determined by the level of participation of UG students and analyzed by future groups.
Currently within the institution, direct matriculation from UG to the CSP DPT program is less than 10% per cohort, falling 10% short of the institutional goal. These products were created to help increase retention within our institution as well as optimize student-faculty relationships.
Vandenberg, Lyndsey PT, DPT, EdD; Boss, Brittany SPT; Cameron, Kellen SPT; and Simonson, Lauren SPT, "Optimizing Student Retention from Undergraduate to the DPT Program within the Same Institution" (2022). DPT Capstone Posters. 14.