Now is the time of year when juniors begin to focus on what they are looking for in a school and start to build their college list. As students visit campuses or participate in virtual visits, it’s important to look beyond the manicured quads and amazing athletic facilities and recognize what the school offers to facilitate being independent and successful when students arrive on campus. As families research schools and determine fit, ascertaining what is available in terms of student support should be an important part of this process. Student support can come in many forms: academic, health and wellness, and professional development. Should your child need help in any of these areas once they are enrolled at a college, knowing where you can go to get it will be crucial to your enjoyment and success as you navigate through your four years.
At some point in your college career, you will struggle in a class and find yourself in need of assistance. Colleges provide this assistance in a variety of ways. There are writing centers where students can submit a paper prior to the deadline and have it reviewed for content and quality. Many schools also have math centers where you can go when faced with a challenging problem set. Tutors are also available to assist in a particular subject. And bigger seminar classes are broken down into smaller sections where teaching assistants review class material and answer questions. And be sure to ask about professor office hours and how they help their students succeed. If you enter college with a diagnosed learning disability, knowing what types of accommodations are available to you is vital and should be looked into prior to enrollment.
Health and Emotional Wellness Support
Just like at home, you may get sick at college and need to be seen by a doctor, so knowing the location and hours and scheduling for student health is a must. It’s also a good idea to look into the location of the nearest hospital. Even before the pandemic, mental health was an issue on college campuses with students suffering from more than just homesickness. Many colleges offer on-campus counseling sessions to students. Recently, the welfare of students as they navigate the Covid mask and vaccination requirements, as well as the virtual learning hurdles, is proving difficult, so it’s even more important to be aware of these resources and take advantage of them.
Admissions representatives and college tour guides often highlight the successful employment rate of graduates within six months of graduation. This is an important metric to consider when looking at schools as it relates to return on investment. If getting a job right out of college is your goal, the campus career center should be your home away from home! Often, the office provides workshops or one-on-one support with resumes, mock interviews, and campus recruitment opportunities, like Hand Shake. They may even let you borrow professional attire for an interview in some cases!
So as you look at all the different schools that could be your “home away from home” for the next four years, be sure to look carefully at all the facilities and programs they have in place to help you thrive.