Is Your School Meeting Students’ Needs?
When people’s basic needs aren’t being met, it’s extraordinarily difficult for them to function in other areas of their lives. This hypothesis has been proven time and again since psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a framework for it in 1943.
We see the evidence everywhere in K-12 education. Studies have shown that meeting children’s foundational needs for food, clothing, health, and shelter is directly linked to their ability to learn. And what happens in a child’s formative years is directly linked to the experience they have, and the person they are, when they attend a college or university.
I’ve been involved in education for almost 40 years now, but I continue to return to the questions posed by Marc Tucker in the 1980s: What is the goal of K-12 education? What are we as a society trying to accomplish with it?
I have plenty of thoughts about what K-12 education should provide. My concern is that for many young adults, particularly those graduating from high school in the current climate, their needs aren’t being adequately met.
Goals for Graduating Seniors
The overall aim of K-12 education should be to help young adults enjoy fulfilling and successful lives after high school. Ideally, they should graduate from high school knowing. . .
- what their personal gifts are and how capable they are of using them
- how to appreciate their own worth
- that they are valued by the people in their lives
- how to take care of themselves, physically and emotionally
- how to think critically so that they can discern fact from fiction
- how to effectively problem-solve for themselves
- that meaningful experiences are integral to learning
- how to continue learning, which requires an understanding of their unique learning styles and needs
If students have gained the requisite knowledge and skills, then it stands to reason that high school graduates will be prepared for what’s next—whether it’s getting a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree, going into the trades, or entering the workforce in a job that requires no external training at all.
The problem is that many of these graduates, especially those whose experiences have been disrupted by the pandemic, haven’t developed the understanding and skills they need to thrive. They’re entering the next phase of their lives woefully unprepared, which poses a critical question for higher education: how can colleges and universities help meet these students’ needs?
How Higher Education Can Better Meet Students’ Needs
Discourse concerning higher education tends to focus heavily on learning and curriculum. But if students’ basic needs aren’t being met, how can schools expect them to learn effectively? Schools must be willing to provide strong support systems that meet students where they are—especially coming out of a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on our mental health.
Whether or not higher education institutions should bear the responsibility of meeting students’ most basic needs is a much bigger conversation. But the fact remains that these students need help. If colleges and universities truly want students to get the most out of their education, they must step up and support those students.
Part of the mission of most higher education institutions is to provide safe spaces for students to learn and build lifelong skills. That safety begins with meeting students’ basic needs so that they can work up to being self-actualized individuals. Fulfilling this goal is not only a moral imperative; it also has tangible benefits. Students who have the wherewithal to persevere are more likely to successfully complete their programs. Increased program completion affords schools the financial stability they need to continue serving students for years to come.
How MindMax Can Help Meet Your Needs
These issues matter to us at MindMax because we believe in the power of education to transform students’ lives. When we help colleges and universities with marketing and enrollment services, we’re meeting a set of needs as well. By supporting higher ed institutions, we help education flourish. That may sound a bit over the top, but as a mission-aligned organization, we inherently serve the same aims as our partner schools do.
At a more tactical level, marketing and enrollment services also provide opportunities for colleges to showcase their efforts to meet students’ needs. Our job is to help your potential students feel seen, heard, and understood. Contact us today to learn how MindMax can help prepare your school for meeting students exactly where they are.