Multiple studies have found that students living in residence halls are more likely to stay in school and graduate than their off-campus peers are, Beth McCuskey, Purdue University vice provost for student life, writes in The Conversation.
Relationships with classmates and campus involvement support classroom learning and are fostered by on-campus living, according to work by Alexander Astin, founding director of the University of California-Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute.
And recent analyses of the National Survey of Student Engagement found that the practice benefits all ages. Compared with off-campus groups, freshmen who lived on campus reported better interactions with other students, and seniors were more engaged with faculty and advisers.
Many institutions foster these connections through living-learning communities, McCuskey writes.
Some colleges offer honors college dorms, which are home to not only students, but also faculty offices and classrooms.
Creating, managing, and evaluating living-learning communities
At Purdue University, for example, the honors residence contains art and STEM labs, and soon the University of Florida will open Infinity Hall, the first residential community centered around entrepreneurship.
But simply living in a residence hall does not ensure success—students must take advantage of the opportunities afforded by participating in hall activities and programs, sharing meals with faculty members, and forming study groups with fellow students.
"By taking steps to integrate fully into the residential experience, students can maximize the beneficial impact of their higher education experience," McCuskey concludes (McCuskey, The Conversation, 8/31).
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