Why does Albright require four year residency?
An integral piece of the Albright College experience, all traditional full-time undergraduate, non-commuter students live on-campus or in college-managed housing. Commuter students must live with a parent or legal guardian with a permanent residence within 30 miles of Albright’s main campus. Albright’s shared community living experience aims to enhance students’ social, intellectual and interpersonal growth, resulting in better grades and outcomes.
Better grades and better outcomes
Research shows that students living on campus earn significantly higher grade point averages than students who live off campus. And students who live on campus tend to report more positive academic persistence decisions and social support from friends and family than those who live off campus.
Studies also show that, on average, undergraduate students involved in clubs and organizations, living on campus, and interacting with peers experience effective gains in critical thinking when compared to students who are not involved.
A cumulative effect
Because students living on campus have more convenient opportunities, they are more likely to get involved in multiple activities that contribute to critical thinking gains.
Concerns of a generation
Abrupt shifts in generational data, beginning with iPhone market saturation in 2012, show an “iGen” high school and college population that describes itself as often lonely and sad, only seeing peers during school or through organized activities like soccer and occasional, supervised parties. Unhappiness, depression and suicide rates have skyrocketed in direct correlation to teens trading in-person time with screen time. Fifty-six percent more teens experienced a major depressive episode in 2015 than 2010.
Nearly all of these shifts are consistent across all economic and ethnic groups, and regardless of gender, region and hometown. And that’s especially significant because, representing 24 percent of the country’s population, iGen (born after 1995) is the most ethnically-diverse generation in American history.
The research shows that teens are trading six to nine hours per day of in-person time with solitary screen time. And experiments show that more screen time causes higher anxiety, loneliness and less emotional connection. But there is hope! Longitudinal studies show that cutting screen time, even for only a few weeks, can be impactful. And research shows that many iGeners are receptive to turning off phones for a set period, replacing that screen time with exercise or face-to-face interaction.
What we’re doing about it
Albright’s residential strategy is part of a larger mission-based academic and well-being initiative. Numerous college safety and mental health campaigns are underway on Albright’s campus, with a core goal of face-to-face interaction.
More than leading horses to water
Although Albright has more than 50 clubs, Greek life, off-campus trips, intramurals and 24 varsity athletic teams — offering opportunities is not enough. Acclimation begins immediately at Albright with a long list of required, but fun, events designed to get students meeting and talking when they first arrive on campus during “Welcome Weekend.” After that, the college requires 16 “Experience” credits before the end of sophomore year. Students get credit by attending any of a varied, constantly-updated list of Experience Events. Living on campus makes participation easier and creates a culture that helps students to feel more connected to the campus and each other. Beyond Experience Events, hundreds of other activities and events are planned each semester to satisfy a wide variety of interests and academic curiosity.
Student services, such as tutoring, computer support, nutritious dining and accessibility are more readily-available to students living on campus. This helps contribute to healthier eating, reduced anxiety — and ultimately — better grades. And according to long-term research, contact with advisors, having friends and living on campus is especially significant for the success of female students.
Safety is also a major priority at Albright College. Students living on campus have access to immediate, 24 hour emergency support via our campus counselors, dedicated public safety team and regular safety patrols. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are checked often and medical services are available, right on our campus property.
Representatives from Caron Treatment Centers and Safe Berks are available on rotating schedules and awareness campaigns and activities are designed to promote stress relief and encourage in-person interactions.
Exercise is a natural antidepressant, and resident students are more likely to engage in group activities like outdoor fun-and-games, glow yoga classes and group fitness studio sessions in the Schumo Center for Fitness and Well-Being. Even our eSports team practices as a group and engages in physical exercise.
“Good health is the foundation upon which well-rounded lives should be built. I truly believe that Albright prepares its students to fulfill their greatest potential — not only in the classroom or the boardroom, but also in their minds, bodies and spirits.” — Samantha J. Wesner, D.N.P., C.R.N.P., W.H.N.P.-B.C., vice president of Student & Campus Life, chief health officer