by Student Experience Manager, Megan Dias
When thinking about what the overall college experience consists of, a lot of questions arise. How will I choose what to get involved in? How will I find my niche in social activities? How will I verify I am passionate about what I am studying? How will I build my resume for my future dream job? At Make School, our Student Experience Team is dedicated to providing support in all of those areas and beyond.
So what is the Student Experience like at Make School?
Not only is our curriculum designed to be hands on learning, our co-curricular activities are also designed to create a vibrant, student driven experience. We encourage students to take on leadership roles, volunteer for committees, and get involved in planning events to enhance their holistic learning experience.
How does that translate to the remote environment?
Since transitioning to being fully remote, we've been able to modify most of our student programming. We've implemented creative ideas such as introducing new employees via BINGO, having students lead sessions with an energizer, created videos to share with the greater community for a personalized touch, developed at home scavenger hunt competitions, and promoted key themes via a live word cloud. We're constantly experimenting with fun ways to continue to engage our students and enhance our community, all while being on zoom.
We've also found Kudoboard group cards to be an awesome way to celebrate both students and staff when it comes to recognition, birthdays, and graduation. By creating individual boards for each person, it is a great way to personalize the messaging (complete with photos and videos) and a long-term keepsake for the person receiving it.
This word cloud was produced live during Orientation, and outlines what incoming students are hopeful for during their time at Make School.
Student Experience Initiatives: Student Council, Peer Mentoring, & Event Coordinators!
Student Council exists to be the voice of the student body to share concerns and suggestions on how to improve processes and the overall student experience. Individuals are self-nominated, and act as a liaison to Make School staff. Members collectively represent the student body, provide feedback, and have a significant impact into both short term and long term school-wide decisions. Having the opportunity to influence change at this scale is a unique value Make School brings to students. Since being remote, we held elections for our new members via video submissions, speeches to the school via zoom, as well as a campaign on slack in our #community channel.
Our Peer Mentoring Program is designed for incoming students to be matched with current students for both technical and non-technical support. Our mentors help students with coding problems, transitioning to college, understanding identities, learning how to ask for help, and providing resources to set students up for success. Both mentees and mentors gain a variety of skills transferable to the workforce. Our most recent remote events consist of a Peer Mentor Meet & Greet, as well as monthly Peer Mentor check-ins, in which we empower mentors with advice and best practices on how to interact with their mentees.
Student Event Coordinators
We have a volunteer group of Student Event Coordinators who are a liaison to the Student Experience Team and organize events. The ideas for the events are generated by students and vary, as we strive to be inclusive of all student interests. In the past, the coordinators have planned a multicultural potluck, talent show, and casino night. With the transition to remote, we have planned virtual spirit weeks (worn Make School swag), live-streamed movie nights and hosted game nights.
Coaching & Mentorship
Make School's Coaching Program
Make School's Coaching program is designed to support students through 1:1 connections with staff. Each student selects a staff member to be their coach throughout the duration of the program. Coaches provide guidance, accountability, and mentorship as students progress through the program. The coach meets with the student 1:1 to individually discuss goals, challenges, successes, and new ideas. Make School's Coaching Program is a huge value add to our students' education, as it provides dedicated and individualized support for each student.
Here are some of our current partners
We believe it's important for every student to have an external mentor outside of Make School. We're consistently reaching out to the companies that we partner with to develop relationships with new mentors to connect students with mentors at companies based on their background and interests.
Each incoming cohort of students create a Community Covenant, which outlines how they as a class collectively agree to interact, behave, and respect one another. The Community Covenant is a Make School tradition and circles back to our community values and ways of thinking.
Each term (every 7 weeks), we conduct a school-wide assembly known as All Hands. All Hands is a venue for sharing information with the entire student body regarding school-wide announcements, important reminders/updates, details on upcoming events, and of course an avenue to showcase cool projects built by both students and staff. We also announce our Term Theme (our current term theme is Growth). We use the Term Theme to circle back to other initiatives across the school so that students are applying the concepts directly to various aspects of their education.
Maker Hubs are small groups of students (6-10 students) led by a staff member to discuss ideas, projects, recent events, coursework, and serve the purpose of building a sense of community with a select group of students. The groups meet twice a week to recap on what everyone is working on, as well as to share feedback and be a support system for one another.
Remote Self-Organized Student Groups
Besides the organized clubs sponsored by Make School, students often self-organize their own groups for social events, team meetings or simply just to hangout! Students use Discord, zoom, or other platforms such as jackbox for fun interactions.
The Student Experience at Make School is ever evolving, especially in today's remote world. We love to continue to experiment, and most importantly learn from our students on ways to improve and what we could do differently. It's always awesome to see our students proactively involving themselves, enhancing their leadership skills, and promoting a sense of community at Make School. To learn more about Make School's Student Experience, contact Megan Dias: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Megan Dias leads our Student Experience team in providing support for students outside of their classes. She holds a BA in Psychology & Business Admin and an MA in Educational Admin & Leadership with an emphasis in Student Affairs.