Colleges and universities have endless resources for students. There’s so much available on campus these days, including peer mentors, tutoring services, study groups, writing centers, first-generation student programs, TRIO programs, career centers, and campus involvement opportunities.
Colleges and universities aren’t seeing students take advantage of resources the way they had hoped. It leaves faculty and staff wondering if students are just lazy or if there’s a deeper problem.
There are two major factors at play here. Campus resources are largely underutilized due to:
- Access (students don’t know how to access resources)
- Availability (resources aren’t available when students need them)
Access to Higher Ed Resources
Technology aims to simplify access to information, but it has actually overcomplicated the search for information due to the sheer number of communication outlets. Students get information from their school via email, text, Instagram, Twitter, student portals, the university website, individual departments’ websites, chatbots, the university app, and early alert systems. These are all good and helpful tools, but it’s a lot to keep up with. Students are usually on the receiving end of a constant flow of information, and when it’s time to reach out to faculty for help or find a particular resource, it’s unclear where to go. It’s often a process of trial and error spanning hours or days.
The ability to access resources in a quick, timely manner directly correlates to a student’s sense of belonging. Staying in school and graduating hinges on easy access to the support and resources needed to succeed.
Availability of Higher Ed Resources
College is structured for 18-year old high school graduates who live in a dorm, attend classes full time, and whose parents also attended college. The system is navigable for them, but not for the growing post-traditional student population. This population includes first-generation students, adult students, working students, students with families or dependents, online learners, veterans, and anyone who doesn’t fit the so-called traditional student profile.
The idea of traditional students is becoming antiquated, but university systems are still structured around this one particular population. It’s evident in the availability (or lack thereof) of resources at the right time. Consider those who are balancing a full-time job or raising kids while in school. They often have short, specific windows of time to study outside of class, and when they need help, they don’t have time to wait around. If they can’t find the resource or support they need right then, there’s a good chance they never will. Plus, tutoring centers, writing centers, and library resources have limited daytime hours that aren’t conducive for students who have to pick up their kids from school or have to be at work all day.
Post-traditional students should have the opportunity to get the resources they need when they need them. Their success depends on the university offering the right tools and faculty at a moment’s notice so they can keep up with their coursework and get to where they want to be.
A Way to Improve Access to and Availability of Resources
Ordinarily, access and availability would be difficult to address with just one tool given the existing technology landscape. But now, the best new way to address access and availability at the same time is EVAN360. EVAN360 gives students access to what they need and is available whenever they need it. Want to see how? Request a custom recorded demo here.