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campus resources

Maximizing Your College Experience: A Deep Dive into Essential Campus Resources

This summer, as seniors finalize their college list and juniors begin the college application process, they should look beyond academic offerings and consider the availability and quality of essential student services—such as health centers, career advising, and academic support. Whether visiting colleges or doing online research, students should pay attention to how these resources will influence their overall college experience, impacting both their well-being and future success. Why? According to Elliot Felix, author of “How to Get the Most Out of College,” how a student goes to college is as important as where they go. His research highlights that a significant portion of college students—65%—struggle with a sense of belonging, and 20% drop out in their first year. These statistics underscore the importance of actively utilizing available resources—by engaging fully with campus resources, students increase the likelihood of adjusting to and thriving in college and maximize their return on investment from their college years.

The Pivotal Role of Student Health Centers

Gone are the days when college health centers merely attended to the seasonal flu or sprained ankle. In today’s college landscape, health centers play a crucial role in student life, addressing an array of significant health needs, including mental health. The pandemic has further elevated their importance, with health centers at the forefront of promoting healthy lifestyles on campus.

However, a 2020 study by The Washington Post highlighted that only about 220 campus health centers meet best practices as accredited by external health organizations. Yet, according to Felix, for every dollar a college invests in health services, there is a 2x return in terms of student retention, with more students staying in college due to improved access to essential health and mental health support.

Prospective students and their families should investigate whether a college’s health center is equipped with licensed physicians, its operational hours, the availability of after-hour care, and the ease of making appointments. An on-campus pharmacy is a bonus, offering convenience for students needing prescription medications. 

Enhancing Academic Success through the Writing Center

Effective writing skills are indispensable for academic and professional success regardless of the chosen major. Writing Centers, aimed at aiding students in developing and refining their writing abilities, have become a staple on campuses. These centers offer support in various stages of the writing process, from brainstorming to final edits, and are typically staffed by trained students or professional writing associates.

When selecting a college, understanding the mission, staffing, and accessibility of the Writing Center is critical. An effective Writing Center assists with grammatical and structural improvements and fosters critical thinking and effective communication skills—invaluable attributes in both academic and career pursuits.

Navigating Through College with a Robust Career Center

The effectiveness of a college’s career center can be a determining factor in a student’s post-graduation success. While most institutions boast career advising services, the depth and quality of these services vary. An exemplary career center goes beyond basic resume critiques and interview preparation, offering personalized guidance from the first year of college. This includes assistance in exploring career paths, networking workshops, LinkedIn profile development, and opportunities for real-world experience through shadowing and industry trips.

When evaluating a career center, looking beyond employment statistics and average starting salaries is crucial. Equally important metrics to consider are the availability of grants for unpaid internships, on-campus recruitment events, and the breadth of employers actively seeking graduates.

In Conclusion

Recognizing the significance of comprehensive student services is essential as students navigate the complex college selection process. Health centers, career advisories, and academic support facilities like Writing Centers fundamentally enrich the college experience. By prioritizing these aspects in their research, students can make informed decisions that align with their educational and career goals, setting the stage for a rewarding college journey and beyond.