Communicating with College Students During COVID-19: College Student Reflections on Communication Preferences and Institutional Best Practices



Decades of research suggests that institutional communication can dictate student success, but the COVID-19 pandemic exposed challenges to new demands. Institutions may not have been prepared to adjust communications during the COVID-19 pandemic, and given the ongoing nature of the pandemic, literature has yet to examine how higher education institutions communicated with students during COVID-19. The current study fills this gap by exploring how college students viewed institutional communication from multiple stakeholders, including staff, faculty, and peers, and whether institutional communication supported student persistence. Data suggests a majority of students were critical of institutional communication but rarely engaged with that communication or acted. Moreover, students strongly preferred communication that they perceived to be authentic and personal, while students also felt that high-quality communication from their institution would help them persist and connect with their support networks. We address implications for research, policy, and institutional communication and practice.

Author Biography

  • Elizabeth A. Rainey, Loyola University New Orleans

    Assistant Provost, Student Success



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