Freshmen year dropouts are a problem that many colleges have to deal with on an annual basis, and some, like Columbia College in Chicago, are looking to technology to hopefully lessen the blow. A company called Inigral, which recently received a $2 million investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to create school-based Facebook networks that add an extra layer of community to the typical college experience.
These school-centric Facebook networks are different from regular Facebook groups or fan pages in that they are exclusive to students who are enrolled in each specific college. Everyone in these networks is at the same point in their academic lives as everyone else, making for a low-stress atmosphere where students are hopefully comfortable to speak their mind.
Both the company and the schools hope that having a built-in network of peers like this could be the key to keeping students enrolled and hard at work on their degrees. With a friends list full of people who are having the same day-to-day experiences, successes, and frustrations, it might be easier to tough out the rough spots, rather than give up altogether.
[Image Credit: Michael Oh]