Colleges and universities, constrained by shrinking budgets, increasingly find it necessary to limit student support services, leaving many undergraduates almost entirely reliant on their family and friends for guidance. As a result, even the most nurturing of small liberal arts colleges demand that students have high levels of independence and self-reliance in order to thrive or, in some cases, even survive.
Dr. Joanne Valli-Meredith, formerly Director of Evaluation and Educational Assessment at UCLA’s Office of Instructional Development and a Lecturer of “Life Skills for College Men and Women” in the department of Community Health Science, launched BeyondAdmissions.com on February 1, 2018 in order to help students make the most of their college experience.
BeyondAdmissions.com offers an optional in-person/online approach for ongoing, affordable, and easily accessible support in the form of workshops, coaching and a virtual drop-in service to address the challenges students encounter in college. As a benefits corporation, it is founded on the principles of social entrepreneurship and civic engagement and offers financial awards for services to those who qualify.
Valli-Meredith, who dropped out of college herself before ultimately returning and going on to earn a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA, has a personal understanding of how overwhelming it can be for students to balance academic demands, social life, financial needs, physical and mental health, work, family responsibilities and the pressures of commuting and/or on-campus living at any college or university. She recognizes that those who are lucky enough to have a personal support network with an understanding of the college experience often feel reluctant to ask for help since the expectations of family or friends may differ from their own aspirations; those with no personal support network frequently avoid asking for help for fear of looking like they do not belong.
BeyondAdmissionsTM takes a philosophical approach that places the student as the lead architect of her/his academic path and emphasizes that the foundation of any good decision requires knowledge. Students discover where their interests and strengths intersect while simultaneously learning how to make the most of campus services and opportunities. One elated parent put it best when expressing her gratitude, “You managed to get [my daughter’s] attention and shined a light to show her a path that is actually aligned with her talents and objectives.”