Addressing well-being needs

College students are attempting to put together their pathways to success and well-being, but at the same time they are entering colleges and universities with expanded needs and more mental and physical challenges and illnesses. With rising incidences of student anxiety and depression, higher-ed leaders say the waiting lists for CAPS services are growing, and as one university vice president of student affairs said, “We are not going to find enough money to remedy the situation.”

Related: Here’s an innovative way to help students handle stress

In light of the growing needs, institutions can use the teaching of purpose to empower students and relay to students the interconnectedness between well-being and student success. The Center for the Self in School’s Success Predictor is an assessment and intervention instrument that can be used in summer bridge, freshman seminar, and CAPS prevention programming to teach college students how to inquire and formulate their unique life purpose and shape a plan for well-being. Our research and work shows that when students identify a higher purpose that is driving their thoughts, feelings, and actions—a DNA of consciousness—it transforms their quality of life.

Bringing purpose of life to all universities

What do the visionary institutions mentioned in this article know that other institutions can emulate?

Visionary universities teach life purpose: Does yours? #highered

Institutions of higher learning need to convey that having a sense of purpose is an important tool that should re-examined throughout one’s life. Teaching students to explore a sense of purpose can raise their awareness of diverse perspectives and the challenges of adult life. Exploring a sense of purpose can awaken awareness of one’s unique interests, strengths, and values, and provide a focus for specific projects, academic choices, and careers. On a larger scale, purpose can inform a lifetime of relationships, community involvement, citizenship, and spirituality.

Learning about purpose is not meant to intimidate students with fears they may never find their “perfect path,” but rather to provide pathways through adversity. We encourage students to consider their inner and spiritual calling to contribute to the human condition in a way that is unique to their life experiences and views of the greater good.

About the Author:

Dr. Henry G. Brzycki and Elaine J. Brzycki are authors of the best-selling book, Student Success in Higher Education: Developing the Whole Person through High-Impact Practices (2016). They are founders of an innovative think tank providing thought leadership on emotional, psychological and physical well-being through education. They can be contacted at

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