I was having a hard time with this subject at first. Then I watched Chelsea (my soon to be step daughter) who had recently graduated High School. Chelsea has been having a hard time adjusting to her classes.
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I have been trying to figure this out, because I had planned on her helping me through college. Now, I have been the one helping her through this process. At first, I just thought it was complete laziness keeping her from realizing her potential. Then I realized that a number of different factors have been holding her back. I will attempt to identify the causes for college course failure among students. In the end, I hope the causes for this epidemic will help those who are graduating from high school. Those who are going back to school and educators in general.
It is easy to put the blame on laziness. Professors and parents often believe the reason for failing grades is the lack of participation by the student. They could be right in some cases, but more often than not they are wrong. Picture this, a student comes home from school they grab something to eat and then they head to their room. Common sense will tell you that what they should do is start on their homework. The reality is that they start watching youtube or messaging their friends on facebook. I have seen this time and time again in my own house. What if the reason for this is not what it seems?
In high school, I have notice vastly different teaching techniques than what I remember. No child left behind is one of those changes. I think the program started out with good intentions, but made it difficult for a student who wants to transition from high school to college. I saw the general expectations of student work in high school significantly decrease from twenty years ago. Now students just show up and they pass them along, hoping they will eventually do better later on. In my opinion, this is not good for a student who wants to go to college. The education system needs to get better at preparing graduates for an easier transition into college. They should have higher expectations of their students work. I have been in college for half of a semester now. I have seen papers that students are writing in some of my classes. Some of the papers I have peer reviewed looks barely eighth grade level. Yet. somehow they have managed to graduate from high school. This may seem harsh, but I am only reporting what I’ve seen.
The selection of wrong courses may also attribute to this course failure among students. Students seem to pick classes that their friends are in. They also tend to gravitate towards classes that they may deem easy. The fact is that every course in college has its own level of difficulty. I have a beginning art class that is more difficult (in my opinion) than the computer programming class that I am taking. Students do not take this into account when they are selecting classes. This results in the students hardly understanding the syllabus. When it is time to work on assignments they are completely confused and lose confidence in themselves. After this, the student just gives up and fails the course.
Some people think a hefty working schedule coupled with full time course schedule may also be the cause of course failure. I will agree with this to some extent. I have a full time forty hour a week job. I need to keep this job to support my family. I also take fifteen credit hours of classes which is a full school schedule. So far, I am handing everything pretty well. I can see though, why a high school graduate may have difficulties adjusting to this type of schedule. During high school if these students had job they may have only been able to work 15 to 20 hours a week. Now that they are out of high school, they want to make more money and live on their own. This is admirable but in most cases not advisable. High school graduates have not had the years of experience juggling work, fun and a homelife to be successful in college. They would probably do better to gradually work up to a full time work schedule, as they get more comfortable with college. Another reason for course failure among college students is distractions. It is easy to get distracted with friends or phones.
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