Improving the higher student experience shouldn’t be a band-aid solution or a temporary priority. Regular optimization is necessary to provide a first-rate educational experience for your students and thereby boost retention rates and decrease attrition rates.
If your school could use some help improving the quality of life for its students, here are nine ideas you can implement immediately.
1. Take Bold, Original Steps
Prioritizing students’ well-being has a significant impact on their college experience. Although most people probably anticipate a week-long awareness campaign for a specific issue (like mental health), you can still engage them by coming up with novel approaches. Here are some examples of possible approaches:
- Workshops foster self-assurance and open dialogue
- Collecting for strolls
- Practices of Yoga
- Mentoring schemes
- Hang out for a while and have some coffee, cake, and conversation
- In comparison to the help they already receive, students may find these ideas more meaningful and individualized
2. Make Space for Alumni Involvement
According to research conducted by Randstad, 45% of students have considered abandoning their studies altogether. Financial difficulties, isolation, homesickness, and job insecurity were all factors in their consideration of suicide. The latter can be aided by providing opportunities for alumni involvement.
It’s natural for students to be anxious about their future. Is it likely that they will complete their degrees? Can they get a job that suits them? Will they be able to make a living in this profession? Students want to see that their education can lead to a fulfilling career, so facilitate opportunities for them to network with graduates who have gone on to achieve great things.
A student’s ability to feel comfortable enough to ask questions receive constructive criticism and new ideas, and generally relax is a key factor in keeping them interested in and committed to their work.
3. Create Virtual Discussion Groups
In a classroom setting like a class, seminar, or workshop, not all students will raise their hands or speak up. If they have something to say, they’d rather do it in private or at the computer. Make use of the Internet to host a forum where students with similar interests can meet and talk about things that are on their minds outside of class, thereby strengthening their bonds with one another.
Students benefit from online forums because they allow them to continue their education at their own pace, foster closer relationships with peers in group projects, and facilitate knowledge sharing in an atmosphere that is conducive to each learner. Participating in online discussions like these has also been associated with higher exam scores.
Build and publicize a venue to get the word out. More frequent use of such a site by students has the potential to encourage camaraderie among them.
4. Embrace Differences in Opinions and Backgrounds
Every student at your school deserves equal treatment, so don’t forget about those from underprivileged backgrounds or members of racial minorities.
To give them the best possible shot at success in the working world after graduation, you should center your efforts on easing their way through the final stages of their time at your university. It’s important to consider not just classroom issues, but broader contexts that may have an impact on their learning.
One area where higher education institutions can do more in combating hate crimes. Nearly a quarter of students from underrepresented groups in higher education report experiencing racial harassment on campus, according to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. A National Union of Students survey from a year prior found that one-third of Muslim students had been victims of a hate crime while attending college.
Extra help, tailored to the specific requirements of ethnic minorities, is something you must provide. One way to do this is by establishing multicultural and diverse student support centres. You can gauge your community’s sense of belonging, well-being support, and inclusivity by conducting regular surveys.
5. Solicit and Use Critiques
The opinions of students should weigh heavily in shaping their educational experience. Offering a forum where students can voice their concerns and suggestions can help higher education institutions make improvements to their student’s educational experiences.
You can conduct polls via email or the student portal, as well as external tools like SurveyMonkey and Google Forms. It’s a great way to get a feel for how the students are feeling about the course thus far, what they’re worried about, and what they’re enjoying.
It’s great to gain this kind of insight, but it’s even more important to put that information to use. Make use of helpful feedback to enhance the learning environment and demonstrate your dedication to implementing student-requested changes.
6. Provide Supplementary Support Services
A university’s mission should extend beyond merely educating its students. Since students’ sense of well-being is so important to their educational experiences as a whole, this may be an excellent opportunity to hone your approach and expand the range of services available to them.
Since students’ own lives have the potential to get in the way of their schoolwork, they must know all the resources available to them at your HE institution. Include both internal and external services and resources in your marketing strategy, whether through the prospectus, the student portal, or regular emails.
7. Improve Your Relationship With the Student Union
You may already have a close working relationship with the students’ union at your institution; if so, consider exploring additional avenues of collaboration to assist in making students feel more engaged in their HE experience from the very beginning. By working together more closely, for instance, we might make it much simpler for students to find appropriate societies.
It’s a good strategy for attracting more students of different cultures and beliefs. It can be difficult for first-year students to find a social group in which they feel accepted because of the barrage of information they receive, especially during Freshers’ Week. You can simplify the search by partnering with the student union to advertise multiple unions that offer specific services for students.
It guarantees that they won’t be lonely, allowing them to take part in activities and have a more positive experience overall.