A transition to college life is a big milestone for students. With a significant amount of freedom, students are still expected to adhere to specific rules & protocols. From learning environment to cultural premise, the changes in college life are apparent.
The approach towards education at a higher education level is more evolved & holistic. Students come with high hopes & rely, for a considerable part, on their college/university to accomplish their goals. To give students an all-embracing campus life, institutions should look at education as a preparation for life, rather than focusing only on academics.
Here’s what every student looks for in a college & what colleges/universities can offer to create a long-lasting experience for their students –
1. An inspiring campus -
Traditionally, campus refers to the infrastructure of an institution that includes lush green surroundings, modern classrooms, advanced libraries, seminar halls, state-of-the-art auditoriums, student cafes & restaurants, sports centres etc. These are visible-tangible elements of the campus. A place which creates a positive aura & an environment that is welcoming for the students is equally or perhaps more important. In an ideal campus, one can feel the palpable energy & a great deal of enthusiasm.
Students, especially in their first year, have a lot on their shoulders & it is the responsibility of the institution to provide them safe & comfortable learning environment. A place of learning that puts forth mutual respect for the teaching & student community and facilitates positive interactions & relationships, implicitly plays on the students’ minds.
2. Academics -
Academic success is a combined effort. Faculty & students should work together to create a comfortable learning environment. Students come to colleges from many different backgrounds. In an academic setting, students get to learn from each other as well as the instructors. In a model campus, the faculty is continually building effective teaching strategies & develops a positive relationship with students. Participative learning & student engagement will make it a conducive environment for knowledge transfer.
3. In-campus programmes -
Workshops, conferences, seminars, research group-initiatives are proven ways to get a higher education community closer. Students at the college level have a lot of latent energy that needs an outlet. Colleges & universities must offer a plethora of choices for students to zero in on their interest. It could be performing arts, outdoor activities, intramural activities, voluntary activities etc.
4. Focus on research –
To keep pace with ever-evolving streams of study, creating centres of excellence as dedicated training centres; research & incubation centres as a repository of innovative ideas, are more than a necessity. Designing these centres in a way where not just the students, but staff & alumni also contribute to the process of idea generation, is essential. Within the campus, the people involved in research should receive unrestricted support & mentoring to stimulate a culture of innovation and creativity.
5. Strong career services
The holy grail for any higher education student is to land an appealing job. Without this component, all the other elements, however enticing, can defeat the idea of a quintessential campus. A campus filled with adequate job fairs & graduate school fairs, mock interviews, leadership-mentoring centre, career counselling centre, is an integral part of an exemplary campus.
‘Fun inside the campus’ is the primary requirement of students. By making learning an enjoyable process, both college and students are at an advantage.