i Getting Students to Succeed in College | College Writing: Debate(s) In Higher Education
13. December 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Blog Post 4

Sydney Pfotenhauer

When it comes to the diversity of a campus, one thing that is noticed but doesn’t seem to be recognized as much is the difference between the students that come from high or low income families and the way that first generation students face different issues. There are students that are coming from lower income families or are first generation college students aren’t doing well in college. Without changing of the issues of these students not doing well could cause more and more students to end up dropping out of college. There are a lot that drop out and never continue which means that there are more people without college educations that are trying to find jobs all over the country. By not changing things like class size and helping students take more advanced classes before college the students that need that could end up not graduating from college. Students are going to college and they come from families that have different income and ones that may even be first-generation college students. They all need to have the same opportunities available to them in order for them all to have the opportunity to succeed at college.

There are a lot of issues that surround the first-generation students that go to college. These issues are shown in the article First-generation college students are not succeeding in college, and money isn’t the problem which explains what many end up going of these students end up going through. Many first-generation students excelled at school, such as Christopher Fester who is a homeless first generation student. In Fester’s situation he was put into remedial classes and started to think he wasn’t good enough and started failing. There is also the fact that he was worried about how his family was doing. These students are capable of succeeding in college but they don’t have the opportunity to take classes in high school that will prepare them for college. Many don’t even know what to take in high school to prepare them because their parents never went college. This is an issue as with these students dropping out of college, they are losing lots of money for a college education they will never get.

Paul Tough believes that by having smaller class sizes and more opportunities for help on campuses, all students will have the opportunities that are necessary for them to have the ability to succeed and graduate college. At the University of Texas there was a study done by a professor with one of the classes that he taught that was roughly about 500 students large. He took a section of about 50 students that had lower grades and almost all came from lower income families. He had them in a smaller class and also had them assigned mentors that would help them. They were taught the exact same material as they would have been taught in the 500-student class and they did just as well as the other students. They needed more time spent on the class material and with the professor but they were able to do just as well as all the other students. It showed how the student’s families income doesn’t matter if they have the right learning conditions but they still have the same learning capacity as the rest of the students. This will help students to find the steps that make it possible for them to succeed when going to college.

Some States Still Leave Low-Income Students Behind; Others Make Surprising Gains, is an article that focuses on the issue with the gap in opportunities. Student’s aren’t getting the education they need when preparing for college and the change between high school an college. There is a major gap in what opportunities are available for preparing for college. In some lower income areas, students don’t have the opportunity to take the upper level classes that could not only give them the opportunity to learn at a higher level, but prepare for college at the same time. There are some states though that are getting to a point where they have every district in the state having the upper level classes available to everyone. One of these states includes Florida and with this Florida has one of the highest percentages of students in higher level classes like Advanced Placement (AP) classes. This leads to the fact that through the many studies that have been done, students that take these advanced classes are more likely to go to college and succeed in college. This opportunity for students to take advanced classes needs to be available to all students. This will reduce the number of students that drop out of college and could lead to drops in the dropout rate at all colleges. With this opportunity available to all students there will be students getting the opportunities to succeed in college.

There are many things that St. Norbert College has that a number of colleges don’t have. There is the benefit of smaller class sizes for students. With the smaller classes the students have a better working relationship with their professor and they are able to get more out of each class. There is also the benefit of being able to get help outside of the classroom for free. St. Norbert offers tutors for free along with the point that many of the departments have teaching assistant hours that students can go to. With this, students have the opportunities that are key in having the ability to succeed in college.

This issue of first-generation students and students from lower income families not doing well in college needs to change. This can be changed through taking advanced classes to prepare for college and smaller class sizes for those that struggle in large classes. These are students that are just as smart as everyone else. They just need these small things that will help them show the knowledge they have. Everyone needs to have the same opportunity to succeed and through things like these, everyone has the opportunity necessary to succeed in college.

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