Finding success with behavior-based predictive analytics

Jenzabar GPS provides an end-to-end student lifecycle platform to boost success at Idaho university

When leaders at Brigham Young University-Idaho searched for a student success solution in 2012, they could not find an end-to-end system that encompassed every step of the student lifecycle. In 2013, BYU-Idaho partnered with Excelsoft, a technology solutions provider, to custom-design a comprehensive product for the institution’s 44,844 students.

“We had the manager from each of the relevant departments working directly to develop the solution,” said Amy LaBaugh, vice president of student life at BYU-Idaho.

The eventual result of that collaboration was Jenzabar Guided Pathways to Success. The data-driven platform helps institutions address challenges around college readiness, retention, on-time graduation and career preparedness. The embedded predictive analytics provide students with recommendations for making and accomplishing the right academic and career goals. Students can work independently in the eight different modules, making requests for tutoring appointments or mapping out course plans without needing to make an in-person appointment. The intuitive system was designed with a mobile-first, no training necessary mindset.

“Jenzabar GPS meets the student where they are and gives them the tools they need when they need them,” LaBaugh said.

Creating more meaningful interactions
Hosted on-premise or in the cloud, Jenzabar GPS removes unnecessary administrative burden. Previously, it took an advisor five hours to approve one graduation plan for a student seeking a two-year family history degree. In fall 2016, graduation plans for 167 family history degree-seeking students were approved in one week through Jenzabar GPS’s self-service model.

Now face-to-face time is spent more thoughtfully, LaBaugh says. Previously, course selection made up most of the time when students met with their advisors.

“Students come to their advising appointments empowered with data and have deep conversations about their plans and goals,” she said.

The behavior-based data on the administrative end allows advisors and student success counselors to offer proactive outreach to struggling students.

“We can pull reports on students who are getting low grades on key assessments, and then reach out to those students and let them know that 90 percent of students who come to the tutoring center get a B or better on their next test,” LaBaugh said. “It allows us to be more effective in our communications.”

A new approach for new success
Jenzabar GPS facilitates a model wherein students are asked to start college with a career in mind.

“When students are connected to a career, it helps them stick to their coursework,” says LaBaugh. “They have a greater understanding of the purpose of their academics.”

The Career and Internships module provides job market data on locations where students are interested in living post-college, allowing them to make well-informed decisions. When a student is considering a particular career, the system connects them to an alumnus or friend of the institution who can serve as a mentor. Jenzabar GPS presents the whole package by merging a data-driven solution with relationship solutions, says LaBaugh.

“Jenzabar GPS takes students from ‘Are you prepared for college courses?’ to ‘Here are jobs that are available to you,’“ LaBaugh said. “It’s a robust solution that supports the entire student lifecycle. It encompasses everything a student needs to do to be successful in one system.”

This piece was produced for Jenzabar Inc. by University Business. For more information, visit


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