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Distance education plays an important role in the digitalized field of higher education. Although online courses have increased and the number of non-traditional students has grown in higher education institutions, dropout rates tend to be higher than those of traditional students. Therefore, support for non-traditional students, by virtual academic advisors, and the use of appropriate technology tools, are necessary for their retention and success. The objective of this presentation is to analyze various reasons for implementing a virtual academic advising model (a virtual advising hub) to reduce dropout rates in distance education programs, and explore solutions to increase student success, retention, and graduation rates. It begins with an explanation of the functions of academic advising and the different styles of advising, to later examine virtual academic advising and the main technology tools that can help increase the retention rates and academic success of the non-traditional students. Finally, practical advice is presented to implement a successful virtual advising hub.

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Georgina Arguello 1464
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