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  • Writer's pictureDmitry Bokhan

74 Strategies for Increasing Student Persistence in Higher Education

It is more important than ever to retain students in today's competitive higher education landscape. While there's some overlap between the concepts of student persistence and student retention, persistence specifically focuses on the internal motivation and resilience of students to continue their education despite challenges. Let's delve into strategies that foster this internal drive.

student persistence in higher education

Growth Mindset Encouragement

Promote the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. When students adopt a growth mindset, they're more likely to persevere through challenges.

Resilience Workshops

Life's a rollercoaster. Equip students with tools to bounce back from setbacks, be they academic, personal, or social. Resilient students are more likely to persist in their academic journey.

Empowerment Seminars

Give students the reins. Host seminars that focus on self-efficacy, making students feel capable of influencing their own academic outcomes.

Reflective Assignments

Encourage introspection. Assignments that require students to reflect on their learning journeys can solidify their commitment and rekindle their passion for their chosen fields.

Goal-Setting Sessions

Aim, shoot, and score. Help students set short-term and long-term goals, making the academic journey feel more purpose-driven and tangible.

Showcase Success Stories

Nothing inspires like success. Regularly highlight stories of individuals who persisted through challenges, emphasizing the rewards of resilience and dedication.

Student-led Initiatives

Allow students to spearhead projects or initiatives. This sense of ownership and responsibility can strengthen their commitment to their educational institution and their own success.

Safe Spaces for Discussion

Everyone needs to vent, right? Provide avenues where students can share concerns, struggles, or doubts, ensuring they feel heard and validated.

Mindfulness and Well-being Programs

Mental strength is key. Incorporate mindfulness exercises and well-being practices to equip students with strategies to manage stress and anxiety.

Recognition of Effort

It's not just about the grades. Celebrate effort and improvement, sending a clear message that persistence is as valuable as perfection.

Cultivation of Passion Projects

Fuel the fire. Allow students to pursue projects they're passionate about, even if they're outside the curriculum. Such endeavors can reignite passion and commitment.

Open Dialogues with Faculty

Break down barriers. Encourage open conversations between students and faculty about academic pressures, ensuring that students feel supported in their struggles.

Encourage Study Breaks

All work, no play? Nope. Remind students of the importance of taking breaks, emphasizing that persistence also means knowing when to pause and rejuvenate.

Tailored Academic Counseling

Go beyond the general. Offer academic counseling that's tailored to individual needs, helping students navigate their unique challenges and aspirations.

Community Building Events

Strength in numbers, right? Foster a strong community spirit with events that bring students together, reinforcing the idea that they're not alone in their academic journey.

Persisting through higher education requires more than just staying enrolled; it's about navigating the ups and downs with resilience, passion, and a sense of purpose. By focusing on strategies that bolster internal motivation, we can inspire students to not only stay the course but thrive while doing so.

Early Intervention Systems

Utilize predictive analytics to pinpoint students at risk. Intervene early, offering tailored support before they consider dropping out.

Combine these 74 strategies for student persistence with empowering learning techniques to enhance university student engagement.

Peer Mentorship Programs

Students often relate better to peers. Implement mentorship programs that match struggling students with high-achieving seniors.

student persistence definition

The strategies for increasing student persistence are greatly supported by understanding the connection between grit mindset and academic achievement.

Flexible Scheduling

Life happens. By offering flexible class timings and online options, institutions can accommodate students with varying needs and challenges.

Real-World Application

Connect theory to practice. Implement curricula that ties classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios, keeping students engaged and showing the value of their education.

Active Learning

Passive lectures? Kinda boring. Spice things up with group projects, discussions, and hands-on exercises. It'll help in retaining students' interest.

Holistic Support Systems

It's not just about academics. Offer counseling services, financial advice, and career guidance to address the myriad challenges students face.

Feedback Loops

Seek regular feedback. By understanding what's working (or not), educators can tweak their methods accordingly.

Cultural Competence Training

In our globalized world, understanding and valuing diversity is key. Ensure faculty and staff undergo training to make classrooms inclusive.

Financial Aid Counseling

Money woes can lead to dropouts. Providing regular financial aid counseling can ensure students are aware of grants, scholarships, and manageable loan options.

Engaging Campus Life

All work and no play? Nah. Foster a vibrant campus life with clubs, activities, and events that engage students beyond the classroom.

Personalized Learning Paths

Recognize the uniqueness of each student. By personalizing learning paths based on individual strengths and weaknesses, we not only bolster understanding but also create a sense of belongingness within the academic realm.

Faculty Development Programs

The best educators never stop learning. Organize regular training sessions to keep the faculty updated with the latest teaching methodologies and tools, ensuring a progressive learning environment.

Hybrid Learning Models

Combine the best of both worlds. Integrate online digital resources with traditional classroom teaching to cater to varied learning preferences, and to provide students with a multifaceted approach to education.

Learning Communities

Foster an environment where students can bond over academic pursuits. These communities, or study groups, can enhance understanding, promote group learning, and forge deep friendships, encouraging students to stay.

Adaptive Learning Technologies

Tech's the way forward, isn't it? Use AI-driven platforms that adjust content in real-time based on a student's performance. This ensures that learning is always at the right pace and complexity for every individual.

Service-Learning Opportunities

Connect academia with community service. Allow students to gain academic credit by solving real-world problems. It’s a win-win, enriching both the learner and the community.

First-Year Experience Programs

The freshman year can be daunting. Create specialized programs aimed at helping newcomers adjust to college life, emphasizing academic expectations and campus resources.

Regular Check-Ins

It's not just about attendance. Proactive check-ins, be it through faculty, advisors, or mentors, can offer students a touchpoint, ensuring they feel seen and valued.

Streamlined Communication Channels

Ditch the red tape. Simplify and clarify the lines of communication between students, faculty, and administrative bodies, making sure students always know where to turn for guidance.

Student Success Workshops

Equip students with life skills. Workshops on time management, study techniques, and stress-relief can make the academic journey more navigable.

Collaborative Projects

Teamwork makes the dream work. Encourage collaborative endeavors that not only build academic acumen but also foster teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.

Transparent Grading Rubrics

Nobody likes guesswork. Maintain clarity by sharing grading criteria and rubrics. When students understand what's expected, they're better poised to deliver.

Strong Alumni Networks

The past can shape the future. Forge strong alumni relations that provide mentorship, internships, and potential job opportunities. It reminds students of the long-term benefits of their educational journey.

Lifelong Learning Initiatives

Education doesn't end at graduation. Offer continuous learning opportunities, workshops, and online courses for alumni. It cements the idea of education being an ongoing journey.

Integrated Career Counseling

Don't wait until graduation. Introduce career counseling early, linking curriculum with career paths, and highlighting potential opportunities. When students see the practical application of their studies, they're more likely to stick around.

Scaffolded Assignments

Break tasks into manageable steps. By offering assignments in progressive stages, students can tackle complex projects without feeling overwhelmed, fostering a sense of accomplishment at each stage.

Visualize the Finish Line

Help students envision their end goals. Whether it's graduation, a dream job, or a research opportunity, reminding students of their final objectives can reignite their motivation.

Encourage Interdisciplinary Studies

Broaden horizons. By connecting disciplines, students can find renewed interest and see the bigger picture, understanding how diverse fields interplay and add value to each other.

Establish Peer Accountability Groups

Together is better. Create groups where students hold each other accountable for academic progress. This shared responsibility can act as a driving force for persistence.

Incorporate Real-Life Challenges

Bring the outside world in. By introducing current, real-world problems into the curriculum, students can see the immediate relevance of their studies.

Faculty Accessibility

Ensure faculty members are approachable and available. Regular office hours and open-door policies can make students feel supported and less isolated in their academic journey.

Interactive Digital Resources

Utilize modern tech. Interactive e-books, simulations, and virtual labs can make learning engaging and dynamic, rekindling student interest.

Empathy Training

Teach the art of understanding. When students are trained in empathy, they can better support their peers, creating a more cohesive and understanding academic community.

Encourage Extracurricular Involvement

Beyond the classroom. Push students to engage in clubs, sports, and arts. These avenues can reignite passion, offering a balanced academic experience.

Feedback as a Two-Way Street

Encourage students to provide feedback on courses, teaching methods, and resources. This involvement can make them feel integral to the educational process, enhancing commitment.

Incorporate Soft Skills Training

Equip them for life. Workshops on communication, leadership, and critical thinking can make students feel more competent, enhancing their confidence to persist.

Promote Work-Study Opportunities

Blend academics with professional experience. Work-study programs can give students a taste of real-world applications, making their studies feel more immediately relevant.

Create an Inclusive Environment

Celebrate diversity. Ensure that every student, regardless of background, feels valued and included. This sense of belonging can be a cornerstone for persistence.

Celebrate Small Wins

Every step counts. Recognize and celebrate small achievements, reinforcing the idea that every effort contributes to the bigger picture.

Promote Self-care Practices

Mental well-being is pivotal. Regular workshops on sleep, nutrition, and mental health can ensure students are fit, both mentally and physically, to face academic challenges.

Contextual Learning Experiences

Ground theories in reality. Using real-world contexts to teach abstract concepts helps students see the relevance, thus amplifying their drive to learn more.

Student Advocacy Programs

Empower through representation. Establish programs where students can voice their concerns and advocate for changes, making them active stakeholders in their education.

Curate Inspirational Talks

Invite industry experts and motivational speakers. Their stories of persistence and success can offer students fresh perspectives and a boost of motivation.

Regular Self-assessment Opportunities

Allow students to gauge their progress. Self-assessment tools can help them identify strengths and areas of improvement, keeping them on a path of self-directed growth.

Optimize Learning Environments

A conducive atmosphere matters. Ensure classrooms, libraries, and labs are comfortable, well-lit, and equipped with the necessary resources, making learning sessions more effective.

Promote Curiosity and Inquiry

Stoke the flames of curiosity. Encourage questions and explorative projects, making learning a journey of discovery, which can boost persistence.

Offer Modular Courses

Break the monotony. Instead of long courses, modular formats can offer variety and flexibility, allowing students to tailor their learning experiences.

Emphasize Collaborative Learning

Learn together, grow together. Group assignments and projects foster teamwork and can often make complex tasks seem more achievable.

Prioritize Mental Health

Establish robust mental health support. Regular sessions, workshops, and accessible counselors can help students navigate stress, anxiety, and other challenges.

Incorporate Gamification

Make learning fun. Using game elements in courses can boost engagement, motivation, and consequently, persistence.

Flexible Assessment Methods

Diversify evaluation. Offer a mix of quizzes, presentations, projects, and exams, catering to varied strengths and reducing undue pressure.

Integrate Real-world Exposure

Internships and field trips. Offering practical exposure can reignite the sense of purpose in academic pursuits.

Encourage Academic Conferences

Allow students to present papers and attend conferences. Such platforms can boost their confidence and offer a broader perspective on their fields of study.

Build Support Networks

Foster connections between students, alumni, faculty, and industry professionals. These networks can offer guidance, mentorship, and resources, enhancing the will to persist.

Continuous Curriculum Review

Evolve with time. Regularly update the curriculum based on industry trends, feedback, and advancements, ensuring students always see the relevance of their education.

Higher education's path can be both rewarding and challenging. By understanding the dynamic needs of students and introducing multi-dimensional strategies, institutions can craft an environment where persistence is not just encouraged but celebrated. The final leg of our strategies awaits, as we continue to champion the cause of unwavering academic commitment.

Encourage Interpersonal Skills Development

Host workshops that hone skills like conflict resolution and effective communication. Strong interpersonal abilities can boost students' confidence in group settings and further their commitment to collaborative projects.

Digital Literacy Programs

In an increasingly digital world, ensure students are tech-savvy. Offering courses on digital tools and platforms can enhance their academic experience, making them feel more competent and connected.

Provide Time Management Tools

Equip students with planners, digital calendars, and training sessions. Effective time management can reduce feelings of overwhelm, promoting a steady academic pace.

Establish a Student Ombudsman

Appoint an independent advocate to address student concerns. This neutral entity can mediate conflicts, offer solutions, and ensure that student voices are always heard and valued.

Incorporate these 74 strategies for student persistence into the methods for fortifying the foundations of team trust.


The journey through higher education is as intricate as it is transformative. Ensuring students persist through this journey requires a blend of supportive measures, innovative strategies, and genuine understanding. By adopting these 74 strategies, educational institutions can foster an environment where every student feels empowered to persist, grow, and ultimately, succeed. The future of higher education rests on our collective commitment to championing each student's unique path.


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