For many universities, this week marked the official return of students to campus and the start of classes. It’s an exciting time, but it can also be a complicated and daunting time, particularly for new and incoming students.
Northern Illinois University, mindful of this fact, provided its incoming students with a mobile app to help them with the residence hall move-in process. For the first time this fall NIU Housing and Residential Services fully implemented an online mobile check-in app that enables students to quickly navigate residential check-in from their phones.
According to an official university release, over 95% of incoming students checked in using the app, with 97% of new students — both freshmen and transfer students — and 91% of returning students leveraging he move-in app respectively. A survey conducted after the move-in period has also revealed that more than 98% of survey respondents were satisfied with the check-in process.
The app not only saves students time when checking in, but also reduces the amount university manpower and equipment needed to facilitate move-ins. And because students can sign the proper move-in forms in advance, NIU can deploy fewer check-in computer systems at residence halls, as well as save paper previously used for move-in forms, student handbooks and residence hall contracts.
Dan Pedersen, senior director of Housing and Residential Services, told NIU Today that the move-in app “creates greater efficiency in terms of what students used to do on paper, and it’s meeting students where they live — in a digital environment.”
The app was first developed last year before being trialled with a smaller, 30% subset of students. Following the successful pilot, NIU Housing and Residential Services boosted the marketing efforts behind the app for this year’s move-in.
Some students have even completed the check-in process after arriving to campus while waiting in the car to unload. Curt Grimes, application developer for NIU’s Housing and Residential Services, likens the app to those offered for early flight check-ins.
Once on campus, students that used the app to navigate the move-in process in advance simply show their check-in receipt on their phones. Those students can then skip the check-in line and go directly to picking up their room keys.