Wilfrid Laurier University took a pioneering role six years ago when it initiated the Co-Curricular Record, a program that has since been adopted by other post-secondary institutions across Canada and internationally.
In providing an official record of a student’s extracurricular activities, the CCR emphasizes the additional learning opportunities gained so that future employers or other relevant parties are able to see a student’s holistic learning experience.
“Student engagement outside of class that complements the academic experience means well-rounded graduates,” said dean of students Leanne Holland Brown, who was involved in the inception of the program at Laurier.
When asked about the response from employers and students who have gone through with the program, coordinator of the student leadership centre Andrew Piticco responded that anecdotal evidence from students suggested that the CCR was a “huge hit” with employers.
Piticco went on to say that having a CCR was a “great conversation starter” with anyone looking at a student’s transcript as it “really tells someone who the student is.” While university is still actively involved in selling the benefits of the CCR to employers, the adoption of similar programs at universities means that they will increasingly become an expectation for employment.
Piticco added that the university has been consulted by “over 25 institutions globally.”
Although the creation of yet another competitive certification may put additional pressure on already stressed students to become involved in extracurricular activities, Piticco emphasized a balanced approach. “We have a responsibility to not burn these wonderful students out,” he said.
For students who may feel left out of the benefit of extracurricular activities due to work commitments, relief may be on the way as a number of proposals are being considered by the university to provide students who exhibit a degree of involvement with some form of financial aid.
“The general philosophy,” said Holland Brown, “is that if we truly want our Laurier graduates to have experienced certain components of an undergraduate experience we need to make sure that we are providing support for them to be able to access those experiences.”
Students must be vigilant about getting credit for their activities during the time that they are involved as the CCR is not retroactive. The odds that a student involved to any degree could record something on the CCR are good.
Currently over 1500 campus activities under 290 campus clubs and organizations are recognized by the CCR.