EBI MAP-Works created the MAP-Works (Making Achievement Possible) Scholarship to provide an opportunity for students to share how MAP-Works impacted their college experiences. The scholarship was intended to assist students in helping to reduce the cost of their college education. In order for students to be eligible for this scholarship, they were required to submit an essay of no fewer than 800 and no more than 1600 words addressing one of three questions. The purpose of this essay was to gain a better understanding of how students are using MAP-Works to learn more about themselves, how they are applying feedback from their student reports to change their behaviors, and how interactions with Direct-Connect faculty/staff improve their college experience.
EBI MAP-Works received an incredible response from students who openly shared their experiences with the MAP-Works program. Below is a summary of what we learned from students who applied for the MAP-Works Scholarship. Overall, students gained significant knowledge of themselves related to a variety of areas including academics, social life, financing education, homesickness, as well as many others. In general, students were able to put the results from the MAP-Works survey to use, indicating significant self-motivation to address areas of concern cited in the MAP-Works survey report that students receive. These areas of concern were most commonly related to academic skills (note taking, studying, etc.), involvement in activities on campus, connections with peers, homesickness, and concerns regarding financing one's education. Students were thankful that MAP-Works not only identified their strengths and weaknesses, but also offered advice and resources on how to address them. Finally, students were grateful that Direct Connect faculty/staff had access to their MAP-Works results as these individuals were crucial supports in assisting students in their development.
How did MAP-Works affect your college experience?
Students indicated that MAP-Works positively impacted their college experience and did so in a variety of ways. Students often cited how helpful it was to get external insight on their behaviors related to their peers. Students learned about their behaviors both in and out of the classroom and for many, this motivated them to adjust their behaviors based on the advice of the survey. For example, one student noted that because MAP-Works highlighted an academic skills area on which to focus, his/or her grades subsequently improved:
"First and most importantly, was the note-taking tip. I began to take more notes in my classes and to my surprise, it was suddenly easier to keep my grades up. Even if I did not memorize or learn the material the first time around, I had something to look back on when I was in a dilemma."
In addition to students focusing more on specific academic skills such as taking notes, time spent studying, etc., the social life of students was also positively influenced by MAP-Works. One of the most common themes emerging from the essays was that students learned they were not as involved in activities on campus as they could be and this may, in fact, be negatively impacting their college experience. A great number of students took this insight seriously, and took it upon themselves to get more involved on their campuses. For example, one student noted:
“I know that I have weaknesses in my confidence and weaknesses in my ability to connect to others. Because of this knowledge, the survey has inspired me to take action. I want to really make it a personal goal to have a positive attitude and become more involved in campus activities and clubs this upcoming semester."
Ultimately, students learned a great deal from MAP-Works about their strengths and weaknesses during their first year in college. It was from this assessment that students were inspired to change their behaviors and actions, and ultimately, improve their college experience for the better.
What did you learn from the MAP-Works student report that caused a change in your college behavior?
The MAP-Works student report provided students with invaluable information on their strengths and weaknesses and offered suggestions on how they might address any weaknesses and sustain strengths. The most commonly cited area students reported learning about themselves were:
- They were not as involved in campus activities as they could be.
- Their academic habits needed improvement (taking notes, studying, etc.)
- They were homesick and learned how to get help.
- Financing their education was a major worry and they learned about resources available.
- Additional academic opportunities were available (internships, volunteering, etc.)
Students were grateful that MAP-Works not only provided them with an explanation of areas of concern, but also provided them with feedback on how they might seek help and assistance to make improvements. To students, this was a crucial benefit of the MAP-Works student report.
"MAP-Works also mentioned in the survey that internships are available and are important to apply for in order to gain experience in the field you potentially want to work in … Fortunately, I was able to find an internship ... I am a Research Associate in the Emergency Medicine Department."
The MAP-Works student report provided students with a comparison to their peers on a myriad of subjects. Seeing this comparison point and a statistic about oneself in relation to others can be a powerful motivating force. Many students spoke of how impactful the MAP-Works student report was in terms of self-reflection and, ultimately, the confidence to make changes in one's behavior.
"Seeing that statistic made me feel as though I needed to get out there and expose myself to things my University had to offer. So I decided to join two clubs."
In fact, many students spoke not only about changes in behavior or careful attention to particular areas of concern, but more holistic changes as well.
"I have changed as a person over this school year, but I have to say if it was not for [MAP-Works] and me actually taking the time out to participate in them, I probably would still be going the same route I used to take and that would get me nowhere, but even more behind in life. I can only move forward from here."
Was there a person who reached out to help you who had information from MAP-Works? How did that person affect you?
Results from MAP-Works are not only available to students, but also used by Direct-Connect faculty/staff that have the ability to utilize information to positively contribute to individual student experiences. Students related how important this aspect was in contributing to their growth as a first-year college students. Students personally commented on how their faculty/staff applied their results to assist them with their difficulties in a manner that allowed them to make great strides in overcoming individual areas of concern.
“Through [my institution], I get an advisor and they are able to view our results from the survey. When she saw my results, she made an appointment with me and helped me with some tips to help with my homesickness. If it had not been for this survey I feel that my homesickness would still be really bad and I would not know how to deal with it."
Students were not alone in their efforts to adapt during the first year, as MAP-Works allowed the institution to be closely involved in individual student growth and development. Those who most often reached out to students included advisors, faculty, and RAs. Students often noted a sense of wellbeing in knowing there was someone else interested in their efforts to improve.
"I found comfort in many of my professors as well as academic advisors throughout the year as they have given me support and recognition for all of my efforts. I have received feedback and helpful advice on how to manage time, stay focused, and even advice on how to achieve my own personal goals."
The encouragement students received from their Direct Connect faculty/staff was also noted as a crucial aspect in the development process. They served as a critical motivating force that enabled students to put the results from the MAP-Works survey to use.
“The staff members at [institution] gave me additional support on what I need to do to achieve my goals. Their advice and guidance taught me that nothing comes easy without hard work and dedication and most importantly, my hard work will pay off in the end."
Students applying for the MAP-Works scholarship were positively influenced by their MAP-Works experience in a way that had significant impacts on their individual college experiences. These essays evidenced that students are actively using their feedback and results from the MAP-Works survey reports to change their behaviors in ways that have led to remarkable growth and development. Students are eagerly collaborating with their Direct Connect faculty/staff to utilize the MAP-Works results to implement changes that positively impact student experience. Most of all, students are taking the initiative to use what they learn about themselves from MAP-Works to develop further as both a college student and a holistic individual.