Social belonging programs
- Aim to reduce students’ social isolation and its effects on academic achievement
- Employs narratives that describe the social experiences of upper-level students at the university
- Reframing adversity as common and transient rather than something unique to students or their ethnic group
- Researchers had students write essays to internalize the messages and make video testimonials for future students
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Promising (Third-highest tier)
Promising (Third-highest tier)
Social belonging programs are not yet in any of the major clearinghouses, but have demonstrated positive results in an independent, high-quality evaluation conducted by
Incoming and current college students
- Not available
Outcomes and impact
- No statistically significant results on general population
- Statistically significant effect on GPA
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review.
- Partner with administrators and senior leaders to incorporate social belonging framing into campus-wide messaging and to pursue a broader culture change that fosters belonging, especially with orientation or Welcome Week communications.
- Leverage the “saying-is-believing” effect by having students share their experience of belonging both in written form and spoken form. Consider using anonymity in these exercises.
- Recruit older students to facilitate social belonging programming and to share their own stories of non-belonging.
- Avoid singling out students from stigmatized groups or delivering interventions only to them; effective social belonging programs pursue a broad campus culture shift.
- Effective program delivery can vary, including both in-person programming to online platforms.