If you’re a higher education institution looking for ways to improve quality of life for your applicants and current students, student engagement activities for college promise to do just that. Implementing practical measures and extracurriculars related to engaging students will keep them motivated to excel in their studies, gain valuable experience, and produce ground-breaking research. In recent years, due to global events and their effects on education, it has become rather easy for students to lose focus or fall behind in their programs. Hence, it is crucial to keep students on track and offer quality activities to participate in beyond their program.
This article will explain what student engagement means in the context of higher education institutions and why it is extremely important to the success of both the students and their college or university. This is all followed by a summary detailing various student engagement extracurricular activities and the benefits of university partnerships for engaging students.
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What Student Engagement Means
Student engagement refers to the level of attention and participation a student has within any given school setting. In other words, they care about the classes they are taking and the progression of their education. When students are engaged, they are more focused on their learning and will take away more from the college experience as a result, especially if they are in the process of medical school planning or law school. For colleges and universities, this could mean that program courses, workshops, or extracurriculars are tailored to engage students by appealing to their particular needs. When a student is engaged, there must be some sort of motivation that is driving them to attend and perform well at your institution. Tapping into what motivates students also means determining what engages them when it comes time to put theory into practice.
Some loss of student engagement is inevitable, but there is always room for improvement in terms of the many preventable cases. The goal is to get as many students engaged as possible when they arrive to study at your institution. It is a responsibility of the students to arrive engaged and ready to learn, but the school’s success is based on the success of those who study there. An engaged student body with beneficial extracurriculars increases motivation in their studies and fulfills the purpose they originally had when enrolling to your university, which is to prepare them for their eventual career.
Why Student Engagement Is Important for Colleges and Universities
Student engagement is one of the most important cogs in the machine that is a college or university. For the machine to function properly, students have to succeed. Students who are excited by their life on campus and ready to learn will succeed more often than not. If specific student engagement strategies are put in place, students will be guided in the right direction toward being passionate about their education and completing their degrees. Making sure students feel inspired by their chosen program is just one of the many aspects of operating a college that is heavily dependent on student satisfaction. The purpose of higher education is to set students up for their futures and provide them with the best possible education, given that the students actively do their best. There is definitely a sense of accountability needed on the part of the student in their own success but putting time and effort into student engagement is part of a school’s fulfillment of its promise to students.
Should this not be the case, there could be major consequences for the academic institution. Without any reason to be engaged and interested in their education, students’ energy and motivation can easily become depleted. There may be grade slippage and possibly a higher dropout rate at your school. Consequently, the school will lose revenue over time, and its reputation will worsen, leading to fewer enrollments. If prospective students have the perception that your school’s features are not engaging, they may choose another institution.
Student engagement is one of the ways to counter this unfortunate circumstance, but it is not meant to be the sole solution. Used alongside some or all of the other best college student retention practices, a focus on student engagement is a worthwhile approach to creating a more positive culture at your college or university. Dropout prevention is a process that should always be kept at the top of the priority list and addressed with the utmost importance. The right extracurriculars to offer students will assist in slowing down dropout rates.
Student Engagement Activities Offered by BeMo
Extracurricular student engagement activities for college can come in many forms. BeMo Academic Consulting offers various extracurriculars for medical school destined to help premed students get significant experience to motivate their studies and enrich their applications.
In particular, there are three types of extracurricular activities your institution could offer that will boost student satisfaction and positively contribute to your overall campus community:
Valuable Research Experiences
For students interested in the medical field, having experience with cutting edge premed research may be a worthwhile way to engage them and calm some potential worries about applying to medical school. Many research opportunities require travel to a lab or a physical office space that may be inconvenient during study semesters. BeMo offers tailored research opportunities that are online and independent with step-by-step guided research to help students add extracurricular experience to their medical school applications. Offered in either a 4-month program or a 1-year option, students attend guided workshops, complete exercises, perform literature searches, and learn the essentials regarding research presentations. Potential topics of interest include COVID-19, substance abuse, psychiatry, heart disease, women’s health, and many more.
The ultimate goal is for the student to complete a research summary paper on a particular topic and learn the fundamentals of scientific inquiry. Experts help students every step of the way by providing detailed feedback on their progress. Once finished, students will receive an official certificate of completion as well as a reference letter. This project could be listed as a notable research experience on a student’s medical school application or CV.
Offering an opportunity for a student to pursue research with expert academic consultants specifically trained to provide them with the best possible chance of acceptance into their dream program will help recruit, engage, and retain students at your institution.
For future doctors, the earlier you immerse yourself in the field, the better. Shadowing experience can be the difference that sets one student apart from another. Having the chance to view the job will enhance any medical application and increase your odds of acceptance.
BeMo’s Free DocShadowing program allows students to do just that. In this program, students will be able to virtually shadow physicians working in the field. By watching video training on medical concepts and taking quizzes, students will be able to explore various medical specialties and understand the differences between them. Through this process, students gain access to notable information about their career prior to actually attending medical school. After completing the program, students will receive a certificate of completion and valuable experience they can also include on their applications.
Over the course of this program, students explore specialties and case studies, such as emergency, ObGyn, plastic surgery, neurology, psychiatry, internal medicine, depression, pneumonia, and trauma, among others. More case studies and specialties are added regularly to constantly evolve the program. Allowing students to benefit from virtual shadowing of working doctors can surely attract premed students looking to add relevant extracurriculars for their medical school applications. This activity will keep them focused on their education with your institution as they prepare to take on a rewarding career in medicine.
Part-time Student Career Opportunities
BeMo offers students a chance to be a Premed Student Brand Ambassador for our company as yet another unique experience that can enhance any medical school application. The role requires a detail-oriented, social media-savvy undergraduate student in a premed track who will promote BeMo’s brand through their social media channels and through their college or university. The student will act as BeMo’s ambassador in these mediums, promoting our programs or services aimed at helping students with their academic and career goals.
One of the role’s responsibilities includes posting on BeMo’s social media channels, such as TikTok and Instagram, with content provided by us. In addition to proficiency with the most popular social networks, the student must also be familiar with their school’s campus to be able to post flyers and promotional content.
The opportunity is part-time, flexible, fully remote, and has the potential to become full-time for qualified applicants. Ambassadors must be in the United States or Canada and must be available approximately 5 to 10 hours a week.
In this role, the student will join a team of intrinsically motivated individuals dedicated to student success. Like other BeMo programs, the experience will reflect a work ethic and dedication to success that will appeal to medical schools in an application. Moreover, a student ambassador present on campus will further illustrate a school’s dedication to the engagement of their students.
Student Engagement Activities Offered by Your College or University
Academic Extracurricular Activities
In a school setting, academic extracurriculars are often the most prominent and likely to be offered to raise a student’s engagement with their studies. Students involved with academic extracurricular activities tend to be interested in another opportunity to pursue learning in a particular field or prove their ability to use their intellectual skills in practice.
The services offered in tandem with BeMo Academic Consulting listed above fall into this category because they are great companions to those who want to study medicine. These types of activities frequently supplement and complement the student’s major/career path. Therefore, it is important that, as an educational institution, you offer your students these opportunities for growth which also improve your college’s performance.
For example, someone who is studying law or political science may want to join a debate team or student government organization or participate in many of the best law school extracurriculars. These activities highlight the qualities that a future political figure or lawyer may have, such as logical reasoning, advocacy, research, and public speaking. They will also be a great inclusion in their law school resume when they are applying to law school.
Anything from robotics to trivia competitions could be considered academic extracurriculars because they indicate proficiency with skills related to one’s studies. Working in the school’s writing centre, becoming a teaching assistant, or accepting any sort of internship opportunity are activities that represent professional experience, but also show the passion and commitment necessary for students to succeed at your academic institution.
Community Extracurricular Activities
Not all extracurricular activities taking place at your college or university must be academic in nature. In fact, to offer a wide range of activities to keep your students engaged with your institution, there should be a plethora to choose from. Community activities can take place on campus or otherwise, depending on the specifics of each, but this type of activity shows that the university and its students care about others. Whether it involves volunteering with the city or borough your campus resides in, homeless shelters, religious associations, or charities, community activities are always necessary and viable options for students looking to make a difference while they study. Other examples of community activities include fundraisers, festivals, donation drives, summer camps, and youth organizations, to name a few.
Those enrolled in programs aimed at working with the community, such as social work or nursing, can benefit highly from these activities. Having students who are passionate about a social cause and can make a positive change in the world will be reflected in their engagement with your school, particularly if these services are offered through your school or on your campus. You are not only providing them with the ability to display leadership skills and become top-quality candidates for various careers, but also develop into better, more empathetic humans to those around them as well.
Personality Extracurricular Activities
Any higher education institution should also offer extracurricular activities that are not directly related to one’s studies to ensure student success. Students are unique, eclectic individuals who have a wide variety of interests outside of their program of study. As such, this category of extracurricular activities is very broad, but also perhaps the most liberating or has the most opportunity.
When students are given the freedom from their college or university to explore every facet of their personalities, they will become more engaged as a whole. Clubs related to specific hobbies, such as anime or chess, can help students bond with others with similar interests and improve their experience at your school overall. Allow students to express themselves when it comes to pursuing these activities, as they may lose interest in your institution if they feel restricted or not accepted. These types of extracurriculars also develop other qualities not necessarily attributed to academia, enabling your school to produce more well-rounded people.
Sports teams are a popular example of a personality activity that is very much related to school pride and engagement. Many students involved with athletics must maintain a satisfactory academic standing to be permitted to play. Sports also show the ability to work in a group toward a common goal, drive, and leadership qualities necessary for multiple disciplines. Other examples of personality extracurricular activities include school theater productions, video game clubs, art collectives, photography, and cooking classes, among many others. Encouraging students to pursue hobbies outside of class is important to their engagement levels because they will thrive in an environment that celebrates their interests.
A school is a steppingstone to a student’s future. In colleges and universities, students are often still young and coming into their own. They do not have everything figured out and are learning to find themselves every minute that they spend on your campus. Let students follow their passions and grow by providing the best education and extracurricular activities for them to benefit from. A student’s engagement in their university’s community goes hand in hand with their satisfaction. Providing ample room for their success will help fulfill the original purpose of any higher education institution.
1. What is student engagement and how do you track it?
Student engagement is a student’s level of attention and participation in all aspects of your college or university’s offerings, such as your programs, courses, or extracurriculars. Student engagement can generally be tracked by many higher education performance indicators, such as number of students enrolled each year, dropout rates, retention rates, and academic performance. Student engagement goes hand in hand with the best practices for student retention in higher education and should be considered just as important.
2. Why is student engagement important for colleges and universities?
For any higher education institution, student engagement is essentially fulfilling your end of the bargain when it comes to your purpose of student satisfaction. There may be negative consequences for schools that do not put a particular focus on student engagement, such as higher dropout rates, lower academic performance, fewer graduates, a poorer reputation, and fewer students enrolling during recruitment season.
3. Why are extracurricular activities crucial to student engagement levels?
In addition to the quality of education at a college or university, extracurricular activities allow further opportunity for your students to pursue other academic, community, or personal interests they may have. This will enable them to become more multi-faceted individuals as they continue on to graduate school and their careers. These options are specifically vital for students who are going to pursue graduate-level education and who will use them to enhance their applications.
4. Why is having extracurricular opportunities necessary for premed students?
Admission to medical school is very competitive and students applying need to be able to stand out. Extracurriculars act as a way to show their personality or interests outside of their studies and test scores. As their educational institution, why not help them out? Providing worthwhile research opportunities, shadow sessions, or part-time work opportunities in partnership with an external source such as BeMo or within your own campus can make a world of difference in a student’s application by distinguishing them from students from other schools that do not have these options.
5. What are some reasons students would need BeMo’s premed research experience?
Many premed students who wish to gain research experience prior to their application to medical school do not have the time, access, or knowledge of how to engage in it. They want to make sure that, when they apply, they have done everything in their power to be accepted. Having this beneficial opportunity partnered with their university and right at their fingertips makes the process as easy as possible and promotes their success.
6. What are the different types of extracurriculars, and which is the most important for my school?
There is some blurring between them at times, but the three main types of extracurriculars are academic activities, community activities, and personality activities. All of them are of equal importance and have their own benefits for various fields. If one area is underdeveloped at your institution, that could be a great area to start. Also, on occasion, students are responsible for creating their own extracurriculars, such as clubs. Give them as much room as possible to pursue these interests without being restricted.
7. What else does BeMo offer?
On top of extracurricular opportunities, BeMo offers academic consulting that provides admissions prep for students. This can include, but is not limited to, help with preparing for interviews, standardized tests such as the MCAT, and other application documents. For colleges and universities, BeMo can aid with training staff, student recruitment and marketing, admissions screening and design, as well as curriculum, program, and course development. All of this is with the ultimate goal of helping students reach their full potential and achieve their dreams.
8. How does academic consulting boost student engagement?
Academic consulting can provide private and tailored sessions with students that can cover whatever needs they may have. Consultants could help students with writing and communication skills, application documents such as medical school personal statements, information about admission procedures, career planning and more. Meetings with academic consultants could push students to do their best academically and participate in all that their school has to offer, which is great for engagement purposes.
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