How Ownership Translates into Empowering Students
Arguably, the hardest part of university admissions is connecting with students, and helping them to see how they “fit” at a given institution. Counselors want potential students to view the campus as their home, see faculty members as their mentors, and proudly display the school’s emblem on their car’s bumper. These are the signs of psychological ownership that displays a level of commitment, and belonging; the coveted sense of “fit”.
The cookie-cutter progression of planning a path through college is no longer appealing. Prospective students want to be engaged in the admissions process. They want to be made aware of how their options will lead to a well-paying job, so they can own their future and not feel like they are passively going through a process just to get a degree and then join the workforce.
[Read more about our thoughts on individualized college pathways]
This level of ownership is crucial to the ultimate feeling of empowerment. Although many people may assume that today’s students must feel a greater sense of control than generations preceding them, ironically, this is not the case. According to Dr. Peter Gray at Psychology Today, the number of young people that believe that they have control over their future has decreased over time.
Empowering Students Leads to Enrollment
With more choices than ever before, young people should have the perception that they have a high level of control in their lives. The opposite is actually the case. While there are so many options, most of them can feel vague and general with no clear path to success, leading to anxiety.
Students tend to find less success without:
- clear goals
- determined ideals
- actionable plans
College students, and colleges, are being crippled by the rise in emotional roadblocks to success. According to Katie Riley at Time, “In spring 2017, nearly 40% of college students said they had felt so depressed in the prior year that it was difficult for them to function, and 61% of students said they had ‘felt overwhelming anxiety’…”
The struggle these students are facing has major ramifications on their college and career paths. Depression leads to a loss of function that keeps students from attending social events, internships, and classes. This inhibits a student’s ability to learn and engage on campus and eventually creates academic issues that may force them to abandon their goals. The anxiety that overwhelms some students can even cause them to withdraw from college before degree completion. Once students have made these choices, it is particularly difficult to overcome the hurdles to a future college education.
The feeling of loss over internal control in one’s life has a direct correlation to an increase in depression and anxiety, so the reverse is also true. Gray says, “ [those] who believe that they are in charge of their fate are less likely to become anxious or depressed”.
Giving students defined goals, helping them uncover their innate motivations, and aiding them in creating a personalized course of action can give students the empowerment they need. Preventing some of the causes of depression and anxiety in college students is a clear way to circumvent the negative repercussions of those struggles, and replace them with a sense of passion and purpose.
Colleges Need Empowered Students
Once we can give potential students back the control that ambiguity takes from them, we will see happier students who are:
- less anxious
These are the students who can commit to a college, a field of study, and to a career path as they take the reins and decide to live their best lives.
The Hechinger Report highlights how several strategic universities are realizing the benefits of beginning career planning as early as possible. While colleges like Grinnell, Washington University, Clark, and many more have created programs to engage first-year students on a career-planning track, one problem facing all institutions is thin resources. Without enough career counselors or funding for expanded career-grooming courses and experiences, it is still hard for universities to find a competitive edge with this new vision.
Empowering students and campuses with Awato
Awato alleviates the burden on college staff and moves up the timeline for success-planning in a way never before possible. Awato simply cultivates this sense of attachment and ownership through customizing a university’s offerings to students’ interests and giving them a sense of how they can receive a return on their investment.
Cutting-edge college programs are pushing the envelope by investing in long-term planning with first-year students. Awato offers colleges and universities the ability to start the incredibly important process of engaging with students long before their first year begins.
Answering students’ top admissions questions can then become a connection that provides emotional attachment, psychological ownership, empowerment, and purpose. Prospective students can become partners with the institution that helps them plan for their dreams. Awato is the bridge of that partnership.