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Why Students Fail in College Essay Sample

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Why Students Fail in College Essay Sample

The society of the twentieth-first century has put an extremely high demand on attending and graduating college. Some basic employment opportunities today require a college degree, where close to ten to fifteen years ago, the only requirement was a high school diploma and acceptable ability to perform the specific task. However, the twentieth-first century college experience has become a challenge and the amount of individuals graduating is slowly declining year after year. It is obvious across the country that the hardest task of being a college student is actually staying and completing a degree. The experience of college has a great number of things to offer, but the experience can also change an individual’s life forever. Many scholars, college graduates and random individuals have suggested their variety of reasons on the success and failure in college. Among the large variety there has been large debate on the actual and/or legitimate reasons for the success and failure in college, therefore the purpose of this research project is to clarify and declare the realistic reasons for why student of the twentieth-first century succeed or fail in college.

The pursuit of higher education has spread across the world over the last twenty years and has become a social norm. Many students pursue college for the purpose of setting themselves up to succeed in the future. When setting themselves up to succeed it basically means preparation to possess a well-paying job and it can be done through studying different fields such as business, science and even athletics. However, due to the high percentage of people in enrolling in college, the percentage of people dropping out of college or failing college is just as high. In 2009, the New York Times published a title, “Which Colleges Are Doing Their Job?”, and David Leonhardt said, “Only 33 percent of the freshmen who enter the University of Massachusetts, Boston, graduate within six years. Less than 41 percent graduate from the University of Montana, and 44 percent from the University of New Mexico”. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Economic News Release, “Of the 3.2 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school in 2012, about 2.1 million (66.2 percent) were enrolled in college… 71.3 percent were young women and 61.3 percent were young men”. College failure is a rising issue and the reasons of why students are failing and/or dropping out of college must be addressed.

The core of an individual’s approach to life starts at home and with their family. The beliefs of many individuals come from their immediate family and what they were taught as a child. Among their approach to life people are influenced to do things and act a certain way based upon their family values. According to Thomas Kellaghan, author of National Assessments of Educational Achievement, “the family environment is the most powerful influence in determining students’ school achievement, academic motivation, and the number of years of schooling they will receive”. Therefore, when students come from homes where education is a hobby instead of a demand, the possibility of them actually performing well is slim to none. When parents are not enforcing the success of the classroom at home, then the student without a doubt will approach school work and assignment as a joke.

If there is a student in high school and his or her parents are demanding A and B average grades for rewards or household requirements, then that individuals has no choice but to strive to be successful. When there is pressure from a loving standpoint then the possibility of that student achieving A and B average grades is very possible. When there is a high school student whose parents do not really emphasize the importance of education, but rather on sports for instance, then once they get to the college level, they will surely fail because their focus will be more on getting the starting position instead of being a student-athlete. In addition, a very well-known sociologist, James S. Coleman, said that “parents’ involvement in learning activities has substantial emotional and intellectual benefits for children…supportive and strong families are significant for school success, teachers confront increasing challenges as many children experience severe family disruption and upheaval”.

When an individual spends enough time in one particular place or around someone long enough, sooner or later they are going to be influence by their environment and/or that particular person. Another key reason why student fail in college is due to the environment of the college or university they attend. If an individual fresh out of high school attends a university with twenty thousand students and has the reputation of being a “party school” then there is a high possibility of them not succeeding in the classroom. However, there are some students that are able to resist the temptation of late nights partying and hanging out with friends and focus, but there will come a point when that individual will give in to the pressure. Even though a student may not give into the pressure, the curiosity of the fun and entertainment will persuade a student to leave the dorm room one night. The failure comes when that individual for the first time goes to a party and has a remarkable time, but then gets all of their priorities out of order. Kent T. Cubbage of the University of South Carolina did a study on different colleges and their success based upon graduation rates and number of students that applied. From his research he conclude that some universities inability to have a strong core of university officers led to their downfall.

With a university having weak officers it enables for anything to occur because there is a lack of structure. According to Sarah E. Pernie, her similar research approach allowed her to conclude that about seventy-one percent of the colleges across the country are having a disturbing issue of students drinking near or on campus a good majority of the time. She suggested that these universities enforce an alcohol usage policy; however the demand to drink alcohol is still there and will most likely override the policy unless there is serve and certain consequences. Many students approach their college choice with the wrong mindset. The suggested route for picking which university to attend is simply based upon popularity and where they will have the most fun. For a student not to fail at the college level, both their individual character and the university as a whole has to match up, because then the inequality opens up the door for negative life changing experiences and consequences that will take years or even a lifetime to overcome.

The rise of college tuition has sky rocketed just about for every university across the country every year. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, college tuition has increased ten-thousand dollars since the year 2001 and is estimated to increase to another two thousand dollars every year starting in 2014. Amongst the rise in college tuition, the salaries and hourly pay of people is not changing or the pay increase has no positive match for the increase in college tuitions. According to Rachel Black and Mark Hueslman, “only 16 percent of Americans born in the bottom income quintile who earn a college degree stay at the bottom, compared to 45 percent of those without a college degree”. Society tells us that to maintain employment or possess a quality decent paying job, it is very vital to obtain a college degree. Michael English, President and CEO, Missouri Council on Economic Education, claims that the average college graduates with over twenty-six thousand dollars and debt and it will take an individual a minimum of five years to pay it off in full. In addition, many college graduates do not find a job in the field that they studied why in college.

Some are fortunate to find jobs in their studied field, but the majorities do not and when they do find a job in their field, the hourly pay or salary does not compare to the cost of school. Also, Rachel Black and Mark Hueslman research allowed to calculate that, “From 1982-2008, tuition and housing costs rose 439 percent, compared to just a 147 percent increase in median family income”. From the different studies and conclusions, it convinces some people to not even to attend college because of the financial burden that awaits them after graduation. Some individuals are close to forty years old with children of their own, and are not even close to pay off their college debt. With the cost of living going up due to economic recession, inflation and many other reasons, it presents the question of, is staying in college worth struggling financially for rest of my life compared to just saving money from working? The reality of financing a college degree and the after affects is a questionable topic; however a college degree is something nobody can ever take from you.

The behavior of all students in each level of education reflects attitude and goals. When a student stays up until three o’clock in the morning studying for an upcoming accounting exam the next day and barely has any sleep, their goal and attitude is to receive an A on that exam. According to Regulations theories, they describe a goal as, “a reference point toward which an individual intends to move or intends to move away from”. If there are not any goals set in place or a goal objective than an individual is setting themselves up for fail. Over the years, a common phrase passed around an eye opener is “if you fail to plan-you plan to fail”. The Encyclopedia of Consciousness claims that there are four stages of goal-directed behavior. The four stages are the establishment stage, planning stage, goal-striving stage and revision stage. During the establishment stage individuals set a goal and prepare themselves mentally for the necessary requirements to achieve their desired goal. According to Karin Bongers, postdoctoral researcher at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the establishment stage is the most important stage because the evaluation of a specific goal and it is mental and “If people evaluate a goal positively, they may commit to the goal.

When a goal is accepted, it is translated into an internally meaningful representation that is connected to other goals in the goal hierarchy. If people evaluate the goal negatively they will not accept the goal and do not commit to it”. The second stage is the planning stage where the change in behavior paths must be evaluated and developed on a concrete level. Also during this stage, Bongers suggest that the behavior an individual is trying to move away from is tempted. For example, if college student has a goal to devote more time to studying and getting homework done on time, the first time they set aside to study or complete homework, a peer tries to convince that individual to go to the gym or go see a movie. The third stage is the goal striving stage where the established and planned goal is actually activated. Based upon the research of Ap Dijksterhuis, a professor of psychology at the Radboud University Nijmegen concluded that a goal can be activated by someone else who has influence over the goal striving individual.

His research also allowed him to declare that, “priming participants subliminally with words related to their father led to a higher commitment, more persistence, and a better performance on a task assessing analytic reasoning. This effect occurred especially when participants were close to their father and when their father valued that particular goal”. The fourth and final stage is the revision stage where people review and analyze their behavioral change to see if they will continue with their new lifestyle or quit. The key factor if an individual will continue or quit is time. Depending on their generation, if they don’t see rapid or obvious progress from their behavior change they will quit and most likely turn back to their previous attitude because the change is a waste of time.

When students attend college they are in a sense starting a new life with a clean slate. They attend a university most likely where nobody knows their name or where they are from. It can be a tough transition because freshman students are coming from family based atmosphere and around peers that they have known since elementary school. Therefore, another key reason for college students to fail is due to distress about not spending time with friends and loved ones. When a student that is so far away from home and does not have the contact and connection of mom and dad, siblings, friends and other acquaintances it adds pressure to the experience of the college student. When a student was in high school and was a having difficult time with a particular situation(s) they had the convenience of consulting with friends or family to aid away the pain. While in college, each student has their heavy load of school work and usually that load of takes all day long Monday through Friday, and sometimes on the weekend.

In addition, some students have the opportunity to play sports, just as their performance in the classroom is important so is their performance on the court or the field. The pressure that comes with that rapid change in lifestyle can lead some nineteen/twenty year olds to break down and leave school. In other words, the freedom of the college lifestyle forces a young adult to mature quickly and make life risking decisions. Some claim that college is not for everyone because of the force to understand time management and freedom within a weeks’ time. However, on a physiological standpoint the college lifestyle is a part of growing up and understanding of walking the “Green Mile”.

In the African American community the thought of college was at one point not even an option because the mindset of the African American community was that college was a waste of time. By examining my large family, about twenty individuals went to college and only five of them actually ended up graduated from college. My parents both did one semester in college and came home for winter break and ended up getting married and not going back. Remembering as far back as possible my parents placed a huge emphasis on education., they conveyed the message in a sense that my education was more important than breathing. In the neighborhood I grew up athletics was the number one focus. If you had sufficient athletic ability everybody in town from your next door neighbor to the mechanic across town knew who you were. My father was an All-American three sport athlete in high school and I was branded with the reputation of doing the same or better. However, my parents enforced the rule that if I did not receive A or B grades on my report card, then the thought of playing sports was just going to be a dream. In addition to their rules, they enrolled me into the most prestigious high school in New Jersey where on average seventeen percent of the graduating class from went to ivy league schools.

So, with both the pressure of doing well from my parents and the pressure of maintaining a certain grade point average at Seton Hall Preparatory School, I broke down at least twice in my four years at that institution. The pressure was severe and eye-opening but at the end of the day it made me a stronger young man and student athlete, thus allowing me to graduate from Seton Hall Preparatory School with a grade point average of 3.93. From the rough times I experienced while in high school it did not lead me to drugs or alcohol but a closer relationship with Christ. Throughout those four years Romans 5:3-5 became my strength, which declares “ Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

From my two years thus far in college and from my research, I believe the reason(s) college students fail and/or drop is all mental. For most people who have something they want to achieve and that they are passionate about, they will do whatever necessary to achieve that goal. They will isolate themselves from friends and family just to focus on what the y need to do. That same approach must be shifted toward education, it is obvious that the cost of a college degree is expensive, but if the right attitude is put forward one can accomplish whatever they set their mind to do. There are many challenges that along with pursing a college degree, and some will allow those challenges to overtake them and leave the opportunity of a lifetime, which is to become somebody great. So it behooves to ask ourselves, “how bad do you want it?”.

I personally never want to struggle a day in my life, I have watched friends and family struggle throughout life and I do believe a college degree and experience would have made a difference. I am not in pursuit of a college degree just to get a high paying job and to live an abundant life, but to be able to give back to the community and help those who are not as mentally strong as I am to become successful. In addition, one cannot allow another to degrade their character with hurtful words but they should take that disrespectful act as a challenge to be somebody, and the only way to prove somebody wrong is not be violent but to become successful. Every individual on this earth has to the power within themselves to be whatever they desire, but it is one hundred percent up to them to get it done and be all they can be.

References
“ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT.” International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family.Farmington: Gale, 2003. Credo Reference. 20 Aug. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.. Bear, G. G. (2010). School Discipline and Self-Discipline: A Practical Guide to PromotingProsocial Student Behavior. Guilford Publications. Black, R., Huelsman, M., & New America, F. (2012). Overcoming Obstacles to CollegeAttendance and Degree Completion: Toward a Pro-College Savings Agenda. AssetBuilding Program. New America Foundation, “College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2012 High School Graduates.” U.S. Bureau of LaborStatistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2013. “Personality and Relationships: A Temperament Perspective.” Cambridge Handbook of PersonalRelationships. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. Credo Reference. 8 Dec. 2009. Web. 26Apr. 2013.. “Top 11 Reasons Why Students Drop out of College.” ~ The Digital Student Blog. N.p., n.d.Web. 26 Apr. 2013 “Unconscious Goals and Motivation.” Encyclopedia of Consciousness. Oxford: Elsevier Science& Technology, 2009. Credo Reference.

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