Taking a holistic approach to university research
When students start thinking about university research, sometimes academic (and often familial) pressures can take centre stage. Some students feel like they should apply for the most prestigious universities, or to the courses which will lead to a career their parents envision for them.
Part of incorporating student wellbeing into university guidance is steering them away from these paths and pressures. Student wellbeing encompasses a whole range of factors outside of academic and professional prestige or financial reward, and university guidance should take all of these into account!
So when you begin the university research journey with students, try to ensure they consider all the different characteristics of different universities, and how attending each one might shape their lives for the next few years. After all, finding students’ perfect university match isn’t just about applying to the universities whose grade requirements are their target grades!
Instead, encourage them to think about bigger questions, like whether they’d be happiest living in a city, a closed campus, or a rural location. Do they want to be with lots of other students, or in a smaller community? Does the proportion of international students matter to them? What about the accommodation options?
And because wellbeing means feeling fulfilled and productive, they should also take a look at the extracurricular offerings of different universities, and see if there are clubs and societies they’d like to join.
Of course, prioritising wellbeing doesn’t mean dismissing academic criteria altogether! In fact, to maximise students’ productivity and wellbeing you’ll want to help them find courses whose subject matter interests them, that align with their long-term goals, are delivered in line with their learning styles, and use the assessments they respond the best to.
So if you’re looking to add Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning and student wellbeing into your guidance strategy, make sure your university research process considers all the factors that their decisions will affect!