Module 3: Barriers Facing Today’s Students
- Develop a deeper understanding of how barriers like poverty, trauma, systemic racism, and other factors intersect and hinder student success.
- Get familiar with research about the basic needs, and challenges, facing many of today’s college students.
- Consider steps that could be taken on your campus to increase understanding of barriers to student success, and how that understanding could lead to actions that might improve student outcomes.
Imagine that you are standing at a busy intersection where many roads converge. You’re trying to decide which way to turn—which road to follow. Someone sent you a digital map, but it’s pages long, and the map has words and names of places that are mostly unfamiliar. There is a timer ticking in the background, counting down to a deadline to reach a destination, but you have no clear idea of what lies between you and completion of your journey. People are racing by you, and you hear them talking about how busy they are. You were raised to be respectful. It would be rude to stop someone who looks so busy (and important) to ask for help. You’re also hungry and tired. You have been couch-surfing the last two weeks, because you don’t have a permanent place to stay. More and more you are feeling like the safest thing to do is to turn around and go back the way you came. At least going backwards leads you to something that is familiar.
Many college students stand at the intersection of multiple challenges and barriers to success. This module offers a deeper look into the realities experienced by many of today’s college students. With a better understanding of the complexities of the barriers facing students, better maps, guidance systems, and support mechanism can be put in place to support their journey.
The content in this module can help users:
- Build awareness and empathy for students’ experiences.
- Learn more about the barriers to degree completion that students encounter.
- Use research and data to develop and advocate for student support initiatives.
- Consider a range of approaches to supporting students whose basic needs are not being met.
Tips for Using This Module
- Group Meetings and Staff Training: Select and share videos that support your goals during staff meetings. Use the Featured Video Worksheet (below) with groups, or as an individual.
- Onboarding New Staff: Integrate resources into onboarding materials for new hires.
- Individual Professional Development: Provide access to resources to staff to support their personal learning goals and professional growth.