It might be Summer but it is wet outside, so I thought I would put pen to paper and share my thoughts on how we can be better at engaging students with careers information.
As the needs and interests of students change so must the engagement strategies we use. Engaged students will be more curious about what you have to say and maybe more committed to exploring further. When we increase engagement, we improve student motivation and educational outcomes. Whether you are engaging with students for recruitment or CSR purposes consider the following:
Share stories where possible to illustrate concepts when giving presentations or talks about your organisation. In my experience, there is an international university representative who comes to mind when I think about the power of storytelling, he gives such a moving story about his university that you want to know more.
Engage students with new technology including animations, 3-D representations and concept maps, all of which can help students to visualize conceptual ideas. Careers information for 16 – 18-year-olds is far too conceptual, so you need to bring it to life for them to really understand it.
Ever considered active learning? When a student leaves a careers event you want them to think of you. What active learning task can you do to ensure students participate and learn something new. It could be something as simple as Q&As or problem-solving activities. Get them involved and leave them with a sense of “I learned something new”, not just I learned about the university.
Consider the entire needs of the individual
Recent studies suggest that students are facing increased stress and mental pressure. We must do everything we can to support students throughout their educational journey. The best thing we can do in the engagement process is to ensure students are made aware of the breadth of support services available to them. This will provide them with the security that they need.
A point worth considering.
When I worked on the ground as a Careers Adviser a student once said to me that they wouldn’t apply to a particular university because they spend too much money on marketing and advertising. When I asked why, the student went on to explain that they felt the university must be desperate for students because the university marketing was everywhere. That might only be one student, but how many other students think like that?
I hope that has given you some insight into the things you might want to do in the next academic year. What ideas do you have that haven’t been covered above?