Taking Advantage of College Resources Can Help Students Succeed
By Alicia Wanek
If your son or daughter is headed to a college campus this fall, whether as a new freshman or a returning upperclassman, perhaps you should ensure they can locate more than their classrooms and the cafeteria. It may be that there are other facilities that offer services that can help your student ultimately cross that stage, diploma in hand.
In much the same way that corporations have begun to recognize that employee success includes supporting both professional and personal needs, the same can be said for colleges and universities. Resources to ensure student success abound on practically every campus, addressing physical and mental health, classroom assistance, and professional guidance as they move into the workforce.
Almost all campuses have a health center. The medical staff on campus can usually treat minor illness or at least direct the students where to go. No one can focus on their classes if they’re sick, so this is a resource your student should find early.
The fitness centers on campus are a great resource to ensure student wellness. Usually free to enrolled students, this is an opportunity for students to stay fit and healthy without costly gym fees.
College is often stressful, and most campuses offer counseling services that can address a myriad of concerns. Whether it’s test anxiety, complex life choices, or more major concerns such as substance abuse or depression, the counselors are trained to address the concerns of students. An office of spiritual life can also offer students a place to get the spiritual support they need.
Help in the Classroom
We may live in a technical age, but the library is still essential to student success. The librarians can be invaluable in helping with research, with access to materials your student may not find in a Google search, and many have employees whose sole job is to help students find the resources they need.
Some classes are just difficult by nature. Colleges want students to be successful academically and likely offer math labs, writing centers, peer tutoring, etc. for almost any class. The key is to seek help before the student is overwhelmed.
Finding A Place on Campus
Students who are involved in campus activities are more likely to graduate, so getting involved in organizations such as cultural clubs, student government, services organizations, or sororities/fraternities can give your student a sense of belonging. There is something for everyone. The Student Affairs department can help your student find what fits their interests.
Preparing Students for Life After Graduation
Many campuses offer programs to teach money management and financial responsibility, such as the Smart Money program at Collin College. This program was designed after recognizing more students were abandoning or postponing their academic pursuits due to the combination of higher educational costs and increased personal debt. Knowing how to handle personal finances is a lifelong skill.
Warren Osby at Richland College’s Career Services department says, “Why do you go to school in the first place? To get a job. We can be the resource to set you on your way.” Most career planning and placement offices can help students identify their ideal jobs via career interest surveys to find the academic plan that best fits their skillset. Osby’s office also helps students research and identify the credentials, skills, and educational training needed for careers in which a student has an interest and goes so far as to identify geographic locations where that industry is expected to grow. Career services offices will often help students with resume writing and interview skills as well.
Tamicah Tuggle, alumnus of Richland, says, “The advisors at Richland were invaluable in helping to create a visual educational map for my career as a teacher…. Even though my career had not yet begun, Richland College helped me take the first step with confidence.”
The four years of college are a life-changing time for young adults, and it takes a lot of support along the way. Perhaps if they take advantage of all colleges have to offer, they can also be confident as they step out into the “real” world.