Equitable Academic & Social Supports
A key lever for improving equitable student experience is ensuring that the institution’s approach to providing academic and social supports normalizes academic difficulty, connects students to supports in a way that is accessible and non-stigmatizing, and prepares student support personnel to help create an equitable student experience.
Many students experience difficulty adjusting to college, which can make them question whether they belong and are capable of succeeding in college. They may also wonder how they are viewed by their school. While institutions offer many resources to support students when they experience academic difficulty, students may not be aware that these resources exist, or may be hesitant to use them if they believe that seeking help may be perceived negatively by their instructors or peers.
For example, research demonstrates students are more likely to take advantage of campus resources when institutions communicate that experiencing academic difficulty is normal, that seeking support is a key strategy for success rather than a sign of weakness, and that all students are capable of growing their abilities and succeeding in college (Canning et. al., 2019, Brady, Kroeper, Henderson, Ozier, et. al. (In Progress)). These supportive messages also make students less likely to feel shame and stress about experiencing academic difficulty (Brady et. al, 2018). This kind of communication can come from academic advisors, tutors, instructors, and other campus personnel who provide student support services.
Institutions in the SEP cohort piloted improvements to their early alerts messaging and implementation, as well as their advisor training. Browse the library below to learn more about their efforts.