Our partners implemented strategic advising campaigns at 40 schools in 27 states. Here’s what we learned.


Our partners implemented strategic advising campaigns at 40 schools in 27 states. Here’s what we learned.


Are your sophomore athletes falling behind? Are students on your campus repeating College Algebra and still not progressing through the curriculum successfully? Are the persistence rates of your transfer students lowering? Strategic advising campaigns have long been a common use case for Navigate—but partners often don’t know where to begin when it comes to identifying the student groups most in need of intervention or providing these interventions at scale.

We recently convened a group of about 40 Navigate partners to analyze historical trends standing in the way of student success on their campuses—coaching them on best practices as they developed and executed strategic intervention campaigns to tackle these barriers head on.

Here I’ll share the impact their focused efforts had on student outcomes and three steps to design your own strategic advising campaigns.

About the Data-Driven Student Support Cohort

The objective of our inaugural Data-Driven Student Support Cohort was for institutions to come together and use their data to identify and complete a successful intervention to positively improve outcomes for their students. Participating partners received dedicated guidance from EAB experts to define and execute their chosen student support strategy. More than 40 Navigate partners committed to producing intervention campaigns for focused subpopulations.

The cohort convened nine times over a nine-month period, a mixture of virtual EAB-led meetings and optional office hours to ask questions and discuss progress. Based on survey responses:

  • 82% of participants agreed the cohort helped their intervention strategy
  • 4 out of 5 left with a better understanding of intervention tools, strategies, and best practices

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3 example campaigns

Here are three notable case studies from the cohort that demonstrate how strategic interventions can significantly impact student success.

1. Improving retention of undecided freshman & sophomore football players

A private university in the Midwest used Navigate’s Population Health Dashboard to narrow its focus to the 2022 Spring Freshmen and Sophomore students classified as undecided and playing on the football team. They then selected students from this group that were predicted to have a high need of support, which yielded a focus population of 37 students.

Actions taken:

  • Held a “My Major” night to encourage students to declare their major
  • Special incentive program for the entire football team
  • Students with two or more Ds and/or one F were contacted by a football coach
  • Midterm alert reminded them of study options and asked, “Do you need to drop class?"

Population in focus:

37 undecided freshmen and sophomore football players

Campaign impact:


of students registered for Fall '22 (compared to 73% average the previous 4 years)


more students were retained than expected based on previous years, leading to $200k in additional tuition revenue

2. Ensuring success for students repeating an introductory math course

A public university in the Southeast used Navigate’s advanced search, historical course analytics, and enrollment reports to find its focus population: students who were enrolled in College Algebra for the second time due to an unsuccessful first attempt. This produced a focus population of 61 students.

Actions taken:

  • Faculty submitted alerts immediately following exams
  • Targeted appointment campaigns and emails

Population in focus:

61 students enrolled in College Algebra for the second time

Campaign impact:


of students earned a C or better (100% had been unsuccessful in the previous term)


tutoring appointments scheduled, a 2.5x increase from the previous term


increase in average credit completion percentage

3. Improving persistence and retention for Black and Hispanic males

A private university in the Northeast utilized Navigate data from the previous semester to narrow their focus to new and transfer Black and Hispanic males in need of greater academic support after the Fall ‘21 semester.

Actions taken:

  • Emailed short survey with relevant resources
  • Monitored alerts and progress reports
  • Reviewed cohort registration for Fall ’22
  • Offered support and tutoring when appropriate

Population in focus:

New and transfer Black and Hispanic male students

Campaign impact:


current retention rate for the focus population, up from 63.5% in Fall 2020

Lessons for designing a strategic advising campaign

Using the Data-Driven Student Support Cohort's experiences as a roadmap, here are three steps to implementing a strategic intervention campaign at your institution.

Step 1: Define your focus population

  • Brainstorm a group of students that might need intervention.
  • Select the parameters that will define this population and generate your list.
  • Articulate objectives for the short-term (e.g., rounds of outreach, advising sessions) and long-term (e.g., retention, tutoring appointments) impacts of your campaign.

Tip: Create parameters that generate a manageable group of students. We recommend 30 to 75 students.

Step 2: Plan your outreach strategy

  • Determine interaction type and frequency (track different types of outreach to inform future campaigns)
  • Craft the message keeping in mind the resources you want to provide (e.g., outreach, advising sessions); and the action you want the student to take
  • Identify next steps for follow up
  • Utilize mass communication functions within your technology

Tip: In successful campaigns, institutions outreached to students 3 to 5 times over a six-week period during the semester

Step 3: Evaluate and share success

  • Identify metrics for measuring the outcomes of your campaign and targets that will define success
  • Determine how you will communicate your strategic campaign’s outcomes, including communication format and audiences (e.g., other advisors, deans, Navigate consultant)

Tip: We recommend selecting 3 to 6 metrics to track.

In conclusion

The outcomes from the Data-Driven Student Support Cohort prove that focusing effort on a specific insight in your student data can have a substantial effect on student outcomes. Using this roadmap, institutions can focus limited staff and faculty time of specific groups of students in need of support.

Is your student outreach inclusive and supportive?

Improve the effectiveness your strategic advising campaigns with the recommendations in our white paper, Missed Connections.

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