It's time student support networks got an overhaul--and looking to students' social capital is key

5 ways peer networks lead to better student support systems


It's time student support networks got an overhaul--and looking to students' social capital is key

Student support services didn’t live up to their potential during the global health pandemic, economic ups and downs, political turmoil, and more upheaval, according to a report from the Clayton Christensen Institute.

As a result, many students turned to each other to gain support as they navigated challenging issues.

Students often turned to social media–and, by default, used their own social capital–to learn about emergency aid, support networks, and available resources. Social capital refers to “access to, and ability to mobilize, relationships that help further an individual’s potential and goals. Just like skills and knowledge, relationships offer resources that drive access to opportunity,” writes author Chelsea Waite, a research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute and the leader of the Canopy project.

This peer social capital is becoming more important as schools develop and implement strategies for student support. In fact, many tools and programs have helped schools in their efforts to draw upon peer connections and student social capital to create student support systems that set students up for success after school.

Laura Ascione

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