North Carolina Colleges Launch Research Initiative to Study Student Transitions into College

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A partnership of five colleges and universities in North Carolina, announced today, will launch a new initiative focused on helping students transition successfully to college life -- and cope with the most common stressors on campus. Led by researchers at Duke University Medical Center and Ready Education, the project will examine the role of mobile technology in connecting students to support services, on-campus networks, and information that can help proactively address issues of physical and mental health.

A body of research suggests that the transition to college can be among the most challenging periods in students’ lives, as incoming students struggle to adapt to the social and academic pressures of arriving on campus and navigating a maze of activities and requirements. This challenge can be particularly acute for low-income, minority, and first-generation students, who report greater difficulty managing time and developing effective study skills compared to their peers.

Institutions participating in the 3-year study, which is supported by a grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, will give students access to a custom campus mobile app produced by the education technology company Ready Education.

“As ‘non-traditional’ students become the norm at campuses around the country, it’s increasingly challenging for schools to develop strategies that support all students’ physical and emotional well-being,” said Scott Compton, Ph.D., a Child and Family Clinical Psychologist at Duke University who is leading the initiative. “Technology can help bridge this gap by providing on-demand access to resources and advisors who can help students stay on track.”

In addition to providing information about coursework and extracurricular activities, the Ready Education app will include specific resources and personalized notifications designed to help students grappling with substance abuse, anxiety, depression, or other threats to mental health and college success.

“In our work with colleges and universities across the country, we’ve seen firsthand the impact of mobile technology on helping provide students with the support they need, when they need it,” said Danial Jameel, Co-Founder and CEO of Ready Education. “We’re excited to team up with the Duke research team and schools across North Carolina to learn more about new strategies that help students succeed on campus.”

In addition to Duke University, other institutions participating in the study include Greensboro College, Warren Wilson College, Louisburg College, and St. Augustine’s University. As part of the agreement, Ready Education will be continuing management of the research project from GenieUs Inc., whose founder Diyi Zhu will be joining the Ready Education team as a sales development & edtech consultant.

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