Student Life / Affairs
student life / Student Affairs is often overlooked but important aspect of deciding on the right school. As much as we all want idealistically believe that college is all about the education, the truth is students are only in class 18 hours a week, which means the vast majority of their time is spent out of the classroom. This “out of the classroom” time is the responsibility of student affairs, which means a good or a bad student affairs can have a much greater impact on the student’s college career than god or bad academic experience.
There are many branches of Student Life, but some of the most important to know and learn about when choosing a school are Residence Life / Housing, Student Activities, Student Government, fraternity and Sororities (if the campus website has them) , Career Services, leadership development, Volunteer Services, Campus Ministry, Counseling Services, Campus Safety / Security, etc. As I said earlier, students will have more communication with this person to the campus community than your share, so be sure to get Know them and use them as a time to learn about in school.
In order to better understand the most important areas of student affairs and how they affect the time on campus, I’m going to break this down into several smaller areas. The first is the Housing / Residence Life. These are the people in charge of the conditions of residence halls on campus and manage the living environment. Usually these are supervised by the Director of Housing / Residence Life or the dean of students. This person is a great resource to talk to, because they know all the good and bad happens on campus. They know what life on campus is, in fact, as they often are responsible for overseeing court cases, so they know what the trouble is occurring on campus and how serious things really are.
This is a good time to come up FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a federal law mandating how much information the university can be shared with parents. This means that, if a student signs a waiver or not, parents may or may not be notified if a child gets in trouble, what their grades, etc. This is the law and must be followed, so that when the operator tells you they can not tell you something due to privacy, they are telling the truth and they have no choice about how. It can be good to have a student affairs administrator explaining FERPA you during a visit to better understand how this law affects you.
Another branch of student affairs is what I’m going to call Student Involvement which may campus activities, student government, leadership, etc. At some school This is the same office, in others they may all be separated, but in fact they are responsible for how students at the campus, spend their leisure time, ie What is the social life at the campus. Perspective students can learn a lot of these managers by asking things like: Is this suitcase campus, what percentage of students stay on campus during the weekends? Those who think, what they do while they are here? Can I see a schedule of social events for this semester? What percentage of students hold leadership positions on campus? Do students have power on this campus or student government only group getting together to complain but no real power to enact change? (This is important because it will reveal how much students can do to create a university in the place they want, the more power more student friendly university is all.)
The next area to case is Campus Security / Security. These vary depending on campuses, with some were public officers, others have less formal training. What I can say is that they concern for everyone on campus and are there to serve and protect the students. The important aspect of Campus Safety / Security office is that they give the annual crime report for the campus. Every campus has to release the report data for all crimes, etc that occurred on campus. This must be accurate and must be accessible to the public. This means you can have a real safety data each campus you are looking at for several years.
final people you should talk to during a campus visit are people who know the institution of a ground floor. Often the best people to talk to for real food on campus are people who work in the dining room and the people who help to clear the campus. If you happen to talk to one of those clean residence halls, you will get a proper understanding of life in the halls. The people who work in the dining room know what students actually eat regularly which helps to evaluate the overall health of students. In addition, these people are not often trained to give public universities line, so you get honest answers instead of written answers.