As teaching practices have changed significantly with the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions are finding themselves with a new challenge: getting students to come to campus. While online learning has allowed universities to continue educating their students, it has also made it easy for students to skip out on physically attending classes. However, there are steps universities can take to make students actually want to come to campus. We share with you 5 ways to convince them!
Create a Sense of Community
One of the most important aspects of college life is the sense of community it provides. Students want to feel like they belong to something larger than themselves, and that their university is a place where they can find like-minded individuals. To foster this sense of community, universities can host events that allow students to meet each other and participate in activities that interest them. For example, a club fair or a volunteer fair can introduce students to different organisations and activities they can participate in. This can help students feel like they are part of something larger than themselves and create a sense of belonging on campus.
Dedicate Class Time to Discussion and Activities
Wanting to make students return to campus is one thing. But making them actually want to come back is another thing… To address this need, be aware that delivering 100% of your class on campus won’t help at all! On the contrary, what you want to do is to make their time on campus valuable!
To do so, we recommend you to try the one format that allows students to truly engage with your courses and better retain what they are learning: flipped classrooms! This format is structured around the idea that direct instruction (e.g. lectures) is not the best use of class time. Instead lectures could be replaced by short pre-recorded videos that students would watch before class to learn the theoretical concepts, and class time would be dedicated to discussion and activities to put into practice what they have learned at home.
So basically, what you should do is create interactive and engaging learning experiences that can’t be fully replicated online. This could include incorporating group discussions, interactive activities, and hands-on exercises. Additionally, providing opportunities for students to interact with the teachers in person can foster a sense of community and belonging, contributing to a positive and necessary campus experience.
To start implementing a flipped classroom model, check out our last article to know everything.
Offer Unique Experiences
Another way to get students to come to campus is to offer unique experiences that they can't get anywhere else. This can include guest speakers, concerts, and other events that are exclusive to the university. Additionally, universities can offer classes or programs that are unique and not offered at other institutions. Keep in mind that unique experiences can entice students to come to campus and feel more invested in their education.
Provide Modern Facilities
Students want to attend a university with state-of-the-art facilities that make learning and living on campus more enjoyable. This can include modern classrooms and labs, comfortable housing, and recreational facilities like fitness centres and sports fields. By investing in these types of facilities, universities can make their campuses more attractive to students and increase their desire to come to campus. Additionally, providing top-notch technology and equipment can make the learning experience more engaging and dynamic.
Focus on Mental Health and Wellness
Mental health and wellness have become a top priority for students, especially in the wake of the pandemic. By providing resources and support for mental health and wellness, universities can show students that they care about their well-being and are invested in their success. This can include offering counselling services, mindfulness classes, and stress-management workshops. Additionally, universities can provide healthy food options and fitness classes to promote physical wellness. By prioritising mental health and wellness, universities can make students feel more comfortable and supported on campus.
As educators have been pointing out for the past two years, students are less likely to come to campus today or to actually want to come to campus. They sometimes miss the added-value and this is why getting them to come to campus requires a multifaceted approach that addresses their emotional, academic, and physical needs. By fostering a sense of community, flipping your classroom to dedicate class time to engaging activities, offering unique experiences, providing state-of-the-art facilities, and focusing on mental health and wellness, universities can make their campuses more attractive and engaging to students. Ultimately, this can lead to higher retention rates, better student outcomes, and a more fulfilling college experience for all.