3 Characteristics of Great Universities


In 2018, Aalborg University was ranked 194 on the Times Higher Education list of the 200 best universities in the world. On the same list, Copenhagen University was ranked 116. So first of all, congratulations to both of our clients on their great achievement.

The universities were judged on 13 different parameters, each of them representing characteristics that can help assess the quality of a university. While the quality of scientific research and number of citations in international journals are somewhat out of our area of expertise, we do understand the importance of reputation. As studies show that 87% of prospective college students want a tech-savvy institution, we’ve looked into some of the characteristics of great, modern, and technology-forward universities.

1. Information, Information, Information!

Most new students are young people, whose lives are changing rapidly during the first semesters. They’ve flown the nest, they’ve started a new education, they’re meeting new people and are overall in the middle of setting the course for the rest of their lives. Chances are that these young people are feeling at least mildly stressed out, and that the best service you can offer them is adequate information. Studies have shown that 75% of university enrollees believe quality of communication on campus is “important” or “very important”, while 73% think the same of access to information on campus.

Today’s students have options, opinions and expectations. As a result, today’s academic environment is competing for the attention of prospective enrollees, which is why it’s important for institutions to improve their service quality. In addition to the attention of potential students, high student satisfaction has also shown to have a positive impact on student motivation, student retention, recruiting efforts and fundraising.

There are lots of technology-supported options for providing information. Various university apps allow students to easily navigate through admissions, course-registrations and scheduling as well as physical campus facilities. By integrating indoor and outdoor wayfinding in the app, universities let students get routes to specific classrooms or meeting rooms and search for points of interests, such as canteens, printers and restrooms. In addition, the university can support students in their university experience through push-notifications of events, canteen menus or health tips.

2. Provide Centralized and Personalized Digital Experiences

When we say that more communication would benefit your students, we don’t mean that students should be bombarded with information. This can’t be stressed enough.

The first step toward good digital engagement with students is to provide information from a centralized platform. In a survey from Ellucian, 42% of students reported having to log in to 3-4 different platforms to access campus information, and on average, students reported having to ask up to 4 people to get an answer to a single advising question. Imagine being a new student and having to search through the university’s website, the course management system, your mailbox and the social media page of the individual course, just to find your book list. And then having to do it all over again for the next course because different professors use different platforms. A centralized mobile app can help streamline your students’ digital experience, ease transition to university life and help students become more involved on campus.

The second step is to tailor information. Even with a centralized mobile app available, 68% of the students felt overwhelmed by the amount of information as they started their new campus life. A data-driven approach can help tailor the available information to the individual user. About 66% of the students in the survey wanted their university to use their personal data like businesses do. They want customized services regarding career preparation, finance support, academic support and student life. Your university has the data - it’s just a matter of using it.


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3. Go Mobile

Mobility is a necessity of the modern age. In fact,  98% of 17 to 24-year-olds and 97% 25 to 34-year-olds are said to own a smartphone and they’re hugely mobile-focused. Aside from the advantages of fulfilling students’ expectations to your digital services, implementing a mobile strategy also presents an opportunity to reduce spending on printed orientation guides. For the digital generation, physical maps are unhandy - they’re easily lost or forgotten, they’re not as accessible on the go, they don’t show the easiest route and they don’t respond to the reader’s location. To the digital immigrant (individuals born before 1985), this may seem like insignificant cries of a generation spoiled by convenience. But convenience is the reality of millennials, and they expect the same ease-of-use from their surroundings as they do from their digital devices.  Going mobile means eliminating much need of printed schedules and campus maps, which poses a significant expenditure cut.

If you want to know more about our wayfinding solution for your university app, please contact us or help yourself to more information by reading about our university solution and see what we did for City, University of London.

University solutionCity, University of London