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What Causes Many College Students to Fail or Drop Out?

Roldens Paulynice

Roldens Paulynice

Roldens Paulynice

Roldens Paulynice

what-causes-college-students-to-fail-or-dropout

By Roldens Paulynice, MBA - Doctoral Student in Higher Education Leadership at NOVA Southeastern University.

As most of us know, most people go to college with the hope of giving themselves the foundation that they need to be successful in life or the skill that they need to find a good job, especially college freshmen. "They increasingly see higher education as a ticket to being financially secured during uncertain economic times and better jobs, according to a UCLA-sponsored survey of first year students across the nation”(Rivera). Every year, more than one hundred thousand students, particularly freshmen, attend college, but many of them often fail or drop out within less than four years. For example, “Only thirty three percent of the freshmen who enter the University of Massachusetts, Boston graduate within six years, less than forty one percent graduate from the University of Montana, and forty four percent from the University of New Mexico”(Leonhardt).Quentin Fottrell, the author of the study titled This Is the Biggest Challenge Facing First-year College Students, also mentions some key facts about first-year college students, and these facts are about some challenges that they face while they are in college. “Students reported challenges during their freshman year that went far beyond academics, paying college expenses and making new friends. In fact, more than 75% of students felt that social media, television and movies made college seem a lot more fun than it actually was, and 45% said that ‘it seems like everyone has college figured out but me.’ Other concerns: 40% of first-year students cited pressures of paying for college expenses, while 30% said it was making new friends,”(Fottrell). Quentin Fottrell goes on to cite some key facts or statistics about the emotional problems that these students face. In the matter, he also talks about what John MacPhee, executive director at The JED Foundation, said. “Equally worrying, slightly more than half of these students (51%) found it difficult to get emotional support at college when they needed it, although only 1 in 10 said they did not turn to anyone for support. Men are more likely not to turn to anyone for support when feeling troubled (16% versus 6% for females). ‘College readiness requires far more than just a solid academic foundation,’ says John MacPhee, executive director at The JED Foundation,” (Fottrell). In addition to that, apart from academic foundation, those students are not emotionally ready to attend college. As a matter of fact, Quentin Fottrell, the author of the article, a personal finance reporter and The Moneyologist columnist for MarketWatch, found out that 50 percent of these students reported that they are really stressed. He also indicates, “Most students are not ready for the social and emotional demands of their first year of college, new research finds. A majority of first-year college students in the U.S. (60%) feel emotionally unprepared for college, and these students are more likely to report poor academic performance, regularly consume drugs or alcohol and rate their overall college experience as terrible/poor, according to the new study of more than 1,500 first-year college students.” Sometimes these students often involve in risky activities due to the emotional problems that they face, and those risky activities are not reasonable things to do, especially as college students, because they can hurt. According to Quentin Fottrell, the author of the study titled This Is the Biggest Challenge Facing First-year College Students, “While there’s been increased awareness of mental health issues and programs on college campuses, many turn to drugs and alcohol for relief. Regular users of drugs and alcohol were more likely than non-regular users to say they experienced stress and anxiety, the Harris Poll found. ‘Transitions are danger points for kids and stress and substance use,’ says Sean Clarkin, executive vice president of research and external relations at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.” In addition to these preceding facts and statistics, americangraduate.ninenet.org shows in the article titled PBS NewsHour: Why Students Who Underperform Drop Out of School that "in the U.S., one million students leave school early each year." Many researchers or experts have tried to determine why those students often fail or drop out, but they cannot find an exclusive reason. "According to the National Survey on Student Engagement, which was conducted by many experts, more than 150 different factors influence the chances that a student will drop out of college during the first semester or first year. Gender, ethnicity, and preparation for college are three factors that can impact the student's chances of dropping out. Males are more likely than females to drop out. Forty-three percent of college degrees are awarded to male students, according to the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Only 39 percent of African American and Native American students complete a four-year college degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Less than 20 percent of students who require remedial college courses graduate from college” (Casil). Furthermore, other experts or studies, in reality, found out that our education system seems to be a part of the problem, and President Sirleaf talks about it. As mentioned, “In 2013, over 25,000 students sitting state university exams failed, and President Sirleaf blamed the failure on the messy system. ‘The students' failure did not come from the university, but rather from the schools that prepared them. The result is alarming,’ said President Sirleaf. ‘It tells me that the educational system is a mess,’ she added,” according to Samwar S. Fallah of the article titled Liberia’s Messy Education: Gov’t Has Limited Time to Fix. Accordingly, additionally, as a matter of fact, some experts are capable of knowing how to calculate or analyze failure rate among first year or first semester college students or among certain type of institutions. “The percentage of students who fail during their first semester of college varies depending on the type of college they are attending. Most college failure rates are calculated based upon the entire first year, not just the first semester. At elite private universities like the University of Southern California, the first year failure rate is only 4 percent. Technical colleges may have much higher failure rates. The University of Phoenix-West Florida Campus has a first-year failure rate of 80 percent. First-year classes are large, and once students fall behind, it is difficult to catch up, according to Richard Hanzelka, former president of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.” (Casil). One might think that those students often fail or drop out only because they are not academically prepared to attend college, but that is not entirely true. As Neil Kokemuller states in the article titled What Causes Students to Fail Courses in College in Global Post, "College students fail classes for a variety of reasons, many of which are largely within the control of the students. In some cases, students aren't academically ready to succeed in college classes." These following statements represent many of the variety of reasons. Many college students often fail or drop out because either they have a lack of motivation ; they are the first persons from their families to attend college; they come from low-income families; many of them are not confident or are overconfident; they often involve in smoking activities; they do not like school; many students or immigrant students experience trouble due to a language barrier; lack of sleep is negatively affecting them; they are caught cheating; they do not practice their homework due to cheating or copying, which can cause them the same troubles that lack of personal standard can also cause them; they have financial problems or do not interact that much with their instructors or are negatively affected by college costs; many of them drink under the age of twenty-one years or use drugs; students do not persevere when they face challenges; there are times that students are too perfectionist; students have families responsibility; they have a poor or bad study habit; they face discrimination in school; they spend less time studying due to the mentality that they understand the quantity of work required; students have low self-esteem; they choose inappropriate school or do not assume their responsibility or not ask question in class; they get married; stress or anxiety is negatively affecting them; they have difficulty paying attention in class due to excessive texting; they often expose to violent activities; many of them do not do their homework; lack of effort and poor or nonexistent work ethic cause students troubles;loneliness negatively impacts them; learning disabilities cause them problem; some teachers fail to assume some responsibilities or are not good; many students do not manage their time properly; romantic relation causes them difficulties; they get pregnant; large classes cause them or their instructors troubles; they get suspended in school; they choose inappropriate or wrong major; Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder causes them problem; they have bad eating habits; they procrastinate; laziness is negatively affecting them; they use social networks or social media; students get discouraged in their study or drop out of school when they see that many college graduates cannot find a college level job; fear of failure or frustration occurs among them; many students are not that much or are not strategically prepared for taking their test; they perform poorly in school; students get addicted to internet or computer; inadequate goal orientation or failure to set goals causes them difficulties; they lack organizational skills; risk of burnout or burnout, which has a relation with their GPA, causes them problem; students face troubles due to online classes; obesity is negatively affecting them; mental health problems or health problems in general cause many of them difficulties; many students are undisciplined or are not that much intelligent; they lack cognitive flexibility or have thinking problem; or they are at-risk students or enter college unprepared. Rarely, if ever, is the academic program that they choose challenging. Does race seem to be a factor in the problem?

Many college students often fail because they are unmotivated. "According to a survey that was conducted by the Higher Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles , 33 percent of students said they skipped class frequently, and 63 percent of students said they showed up late for class frequently" ( DiLallo). These statistics seem to indicate that frequent tardiness or absenteeism in class is an issue that exists among many college students. However, frequent absenteeism in class among college students, which can lead on to a negative impact in their academic performance, occurs when lack of motivation exists among them. As Dr. Ernest W. Brewer, a professor, says, "When college students are not motivated, a common outcome is a lost desire to attend class, followed by frequent absences and plummeting grades" (2).

According to Abour H. Cherif, Gerald E. Adams, Farahnaz Movahedzadeh, Margaret A. Martyn, and Jeremy Dunning in the article titled Why Do Students Fail? Faculty's Perspective in Higher Learning Commission, “In short, according to the students who participated in the 2011 study, motivation is the leading cause behind students’ failure or success in completing schoolwork. Motivation influences students’ attitudes, study habits, academic readiness, and so on.”

Additionally, Abour H. Cherif, Gerald E. Adams, Farahnaz Movahedzadeh, Margaret A. Martyn, and Jeremy Dunning in the article titled Why Do Students Fail? Faculty's Perspective in Higher Learning Commission, Collection of Papers 2014, say, “Respondents said failing students come to class late and/or do not show up at all. When they do show up, they send texts or play videos during class or otherwise do not pay attention. They do not read the material before class and do not complete their assignments. They do not care if they fail. They do not value education because they do not have to work to pay for it, or if they fail, they can always repeat the course.”

Students may not attend class due to many other factors. According to a study titled Why Do Foundation Year Students Fail to Attend Their Classes that was conducted by Manchester Metropolitan University, “In the general cohort, there were two top ranking categories – ‘family obligations’ and ‘laziness’ (16% each). However, when rankings are combined, ‘illness’ comes out top (14%), ‘family obligations’ falls to 4% overall, but ‘laziness’ remains high at 12%. ‘Time of lecture’ was the third most common reason (10%) when combined and fourth most common as a primary reason. Interestingly, ‘employment’ came third as a primary reason (9%) but second to bottom (2%) when rankings are combined.” Manchester Metropolitan University goes on to demonstrate that age seems to be a factor in the problem. As it is stated, "The students exhibiting the worst levels of attendance were actually in the 20 to 23 year old group” ( Manchester Metropolitan University).

How can absenteeism lead to a negative impact in students’ academic performance or cause them academic troubles? According to a study titled “The Effect of Different Attendance Policies on Student Attendance and Achievement”, which was conducted by Levine, Judith R, they found that absenteeism has a negative relationship with students’ academic achievement. Levine’s study tracked 401 students that enrolled in a child development courses under different assistance policies. In this study, as we can refer to the next table, 32 students had a final course average of 50-59 that is equivalent to an F with a mean number of absences of 5.4. 76 students had a final course average of 60-69 that equals to a D with a mean number of absences of 4.4. 140 students had a final course average of 70-79, which is equivalent to a C, with a mean number of absences of 3.6. 128 students had a final course average of 80-89, which is proportional to a B, with a mean number of absences of 2.7. Finally, 25 students had a final course average of 90-99 that is equivalent to an A with a mean number of absences of 1.6. This idea can make us ascertain that Levine's study also shows that students who had higher mean number of absences had lower final grades than students who had lesser mean number of absences, or those who had lesser mean number of absences had better final grade than those who had higher mean number of absences. Also, Davenport showed that correlation in Ernest’s research titled “Professor's Role in Motivating Students to Attend Class” by arguing that students who attend class well receive a minimum final grade of "A, B, or C", but those who attend class poorly receive a final grade of "D or F" in their course. Not only can absenteeism have a relation with students' academic performance or cause them to have lesser grade, but it can also be a factor that exposes them to other academic troubles. As Harry H. Harrison Jr., Best-Selling Parenting Author, shows in the article titled What Causes Students to Fail or Drop Out of College, "Students drop out because they do not go to class. This is, maybe the single biggest reason they fail out, because they do not go to class."

Source: Data From Levine, Judith R., The Effect of Different Attendance Student Attendance and Achievement (ERIC, Education Resources Information Center).(P.9)

Final Course AverageNumber of StudentsMean Number of absencesLetter Grade

50-59

32

5.4

F

60-69

76

4.4

D

70-79

140

3.6

C

80-89

128

2.7

B

90-99

25

1.6

A

 

401= Total Number Of Students

 

 

“Excessive student absenteeism can lead to an increasing disinterest in school and academics in general. Jason A. Schoeneberger’s ‘Longitudinal Attendance Patterns’ study shows that excessive absenteeism increases the chances of dropping out of school, which can lead to long term consequences, such as lower average incomes, higher incidences of unemployment, and a higher likelihood of incarceration," according to Malikah Walters in the article titled The Effects of Excessive Absenteeism in Schools.

Malikah Walters goes on to mention that "Schoeneberger asserts that the dropouts face a higher risk of poverty because of their inability to secure quality paying employment due to their lack of education and resources and are more likely to commit criminal activity leading to incarceration.”

As it is stated, absenteeism can negatively impact the budget of a school (Walters).

Tardiness negatively impacts students. According to a finding from the 2001-2002 of NFTE in two Boston Public Schools by Michael Nakkula, Claudia Pineda, Amy Dray, and Miranda Lutyens that was conducted by Harvard University Graduate School of Education, they compared the NFTE students and the COMP (comparison) students in terms of tardiness and average math grade by race as we can see on the next table. In this finding, as the table below shows, the NFTE African American Students had a mean number of days tardy of 34.4 with an average math grade of 1.45, but the COMP African American Students had a mean number of days tardy of 18.3 with an average math grade of 1.81. When they compared the NFTE White and COMP White Students, they found that the NFTE White Students had a mean number of days tardy of 28.5 with an average math grade of 1.29, but the COMP White Students had a mean number of days tardy of 18.3 with an average math grade of 1.35. When it comes to the Asian students, the NFTE had a mean number of days tardy of 8.3 with an average math grade of 2.01, but the COMP had a mean number of 0.25 with an average math grade of 3.18. However, the NFTE Latino Students had a mean number of days tardy of 22 with an average math grade of 1.85, and the COMP Latino Students had a mean number of days tardy of 24.6 with an average math grade of 1.48. This idea can make us realize that the COMP students had higher average math grade and lower mean number of days tardy in every race, except in terms of the Latino students, than the NFTE students. And students who had higher mean number of days tardy in every race had lesser math grade than those who had lesser mean number of days tardy, vice versa. So we may infer that tardiness does have a negative relationship with students’ academic performance, or it can be a factor that causes students to have lesser grade as Rachel Pancare, an elementary school teacher, shows in the article titled Effects of Tardiness on Your Child's Education that “frequent tardiness is associated with lower grades and lower scores on standardized tests.” Not only does tardiness have a negative relationship with students’ academic performance or represent a factor that may cause students to have lesser grade, but it causes other problems. "According to the National Center Statistics 2007 Indicators of School Crime and Safety, tardiness causes students to feel disconnected with school, leading to behavior problems and dropouts" (Zeiger). Also, many researchers argued in Weade's research titled "School and Work Tardiness in High School Students in Rural Wisconsin" that tardiness is a reason of students’ failure (10 & 11).

Source: Data From Michael Nakkula, Claudia Pineda, Amy Dray, and Miranda Lutyens EXPANDED EXPLORATIONS INTO THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP:FINDINGS FROM THE

Behavior/Performance Information BY RACE – NFTE vs. Comparison

RACETardiness (mean # of days tardy in 01-02)Average Math Grade (A=4, F=0)

NFTE AFR-AM

34.4

1.45

COMP AFR-AM

18.3

1.81

NFTE White

28.5

1.29

COMP White

18.3

1.35

NFTE Asian

8.3

2.01

COMP Asian

0.25

3.18

NFTE Latino

22

1.85

COMP Latino

24.6

1.48

Why do students drop out of school? Video taking from Youtube jazz89KUVO

Additionally, “When a student continuously shows up late to class, attention is drawn away from the teacher or assignment and toward the child who has just arrived. Over time, classmates may begin to criticize this child, affecting how he feels about himself in school," according to Rachel Pancare in the article titled Effects of Tardiness on Your Child's Education in Global Post.

Rachel Pancare also mentions, "Students who are often late have trouble settling in and mastering routines.” They are more likely to experience academic difficulties, such as dropping out or failing in school (Pancare). "A late student may become a target or outcast over time, and negative peer interactions can hurt his ability to concentrate on learning," according to Rachel Pancare.

Even if college students do their best to demonstrate that they are motivated by attending class punctually and frequently, they may encounter other obstacles on their ways. Another issue that causes many college students to fail or drop out is that they are the first persons from their families to attend college. According to Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, John J, O’rourke, and Matthew, “Past research has determined that first generation college students work more hours and have more financial dependents (Inman & Mayes,1999; Nunez & Cuccaro-Alamin, 1998) and generally feel unprepared to attend college ( Rodriguez, 2003).” Conceivably, they go to college with more anxiety or more mental strain and have fewer ways to deal with it (Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, John J, O’rouke, and Matthew). Majority of them or 5.02 out of 10 of them spend their first two years of college in a two years college instead of a university (National Center for Education Statistics in Bui) because they are financially and academically unprepared to attend a four year college and because they want to have more time in order to work (Bui). Furthermore, they are unable to socially and to culturally adapt themselves in a positive way (Brooks-Terry in Williams & Buttler). After all, many of them come from homes where they are anticipated to begin supporting themselves and forming a family right after they finish their "high school" education because their mothers or their fathers miscomprehend the significance or the value of the amount of required industriousness and "time" that those students should "invest" in school in order for those students to end up with a positive achievement (Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, John J, O’rouke, and Matthew). They also come from parents who do not have high education or income, which makes them linger at a non-comparative deficit (Engle). During their first semester in college, they often expose to greater risk of having poorer grades than other students (Riehl in Murphy & Hicks).They are more likely to drop out (Inman, Mayes, & Riehl in Murphy &Hicks) or have higher risk of not graduating with a degree (Olsen). Also, first generation students get involved in less social activities and often experience nagging problems. Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, John J, O’rouke, and Matthew also reported as Harry H. Harrison Jr., Best-Selling Parenting Author, shows in the article titled What Causes Students to Fail or Drop out of College that "students" who do not partake or have friends or participate in college activities, such as study groups, may feel that they do not like the school that they attend or may have bad or decreasing grades or may drop out (1). “Additionally, first generation students also have been found to be more likely to live off campus, resulting in lower levels of on-campus participation” (Terenzini in Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, John J, O’rouke, and Matthew).

“Harry Frankenfeld, a 2001 graduate of Belmont University in Nashville who is now an audio engineer and videographer in Seattle says, ‘Living in the dorms helped me, as an only child, connect and learn how to live with other people. I think I’m more balanced because of my friendship with my roommate. I had to learn to work through conflict and learn how to celebrate someone else’s ‘wins,’” according to David R. Wheeler in the article titled The End of the College Roommate, More and more schools are letting students live in single dorm rooms in theatlantic.com.

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Additionally, as stated in the article titled The End of the College Roommate, More and more schools are letting students live in single dorm rooms in theatlantic.com, “’Learning to interact effectively with others is a central element of success in adult life in both work and personal contexts,’ says Marcia Baxter Magolda, a professor at Miami University in Ohio who conducted a 27-year longitudinal study on young adult development. Establishing an ‘inner voice,’" according to David R. Wheeler.

David R. Wheeler goes on to mention that Marcia Baxter Magold also mentions that this type of learning interaction is crucial to live well in this actual complicated world, and in this world, as Marcia mention, one needs to have great critical thinking, great evaluated point of views, great reasonable decisions making skills, and great balancing skills.

Marcia goes on to say, "'But such growth isn’t automatic; it requires interaction. ‘Having a roommate in a residence hall system, where the staff members assist students in navigating the complexity of relationships, would contribute to such growth”’ (Wheeler).

“Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston wants to cut in half the number of college students living off campus by 2030 and is calling on Boston colleges to collectively add 18,500 new dormitory beds to make that possible.The plan, part of the mayor’s new housing initiative, would encourage colleges to work with private developers to build the new facilities,” according to the article titled Boston Offers a Plan to Help Colleges Add Dorms by Matt Rocheleau. Matt Rocheleau indicates that that would help many schools in terms of money. They would not have to spend money to build additional housings on campus, and they would also have the opportunities to rent the rooms (Rocheleau). Rocheleau goes on to demonstrate that “privately developed dorms can also be taxed, unlike dorms built solely by colleges, which are classified as nonprofits, city officials said.” Rocheleau mentions Devin Quirk in the matter. As he states, “Devin Quirk, director of operations at Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, said the city would facilitate partnerships between colleges and private developers to build new dorms, with one or more colleges agreeing to lease all or portions of the buildings.” Many college officials acknowledge that the plan would have a positive impact in many institutions (Rocheleau). “The proposal comes amid increasing concern over shoddy, dangerous conditions common in off-campus student housing. The additional dorm space would give colleges’ greater oversight of students and ease the rapid growth of the student rental market in many neighborhoods,” according to Rocheleau. Matt Rocheleau talks about the exceeding costs of building dorms because of this proposal. As he states, “The cost to build 18,500 new dorm beds in Boston would exceed $2.6 billion, according to the report. The city envisions 16,000 for undergraduates and 2,500 for graduate students.” Quirk is again mentioned in the matter. According to Rocheleau, “Quirk said that during a pair of recent meetings with city leaders, local college presidents supported the ideas outlined in the report. ‘The big change here is the commitment from the universities to work with us on this issue,’ he said. ‘It’s really a partnership.’” Matt also mentions John Nucci in the plan. “’It’s refreshing that [Walsh] has brought universities into the conversation,’ said John Nucci, a spokesman for Suffolk University, which houses 21 percent of its 5,800 undergraduates on its downtown campus. ‘He’s trying to establish a collaborative approach, and that’s a great idea, ’” Matt indicates. ‘“I think most universities will be on board with the general principles of the plan,’ Nucci added” (Matt).

“Boston College houses 80 percent of its 9,000 undergraduates on campus, the highest percentage in the city. The school has plans to add another 810 dorm beds soon, which would push its on-campus housing rate to nearly 90 percent. ‘We support Mayor Walsh’s housing plan and look forward to working with him to meet our common goals,’ campus spokesman Jack Dunn said,” according to Matt Rocheleau.

Matt also shows, “Creating more students housing would free up some of Boston’s existing housing stock for working adults and families, Walsh’s report said. The city estimates that 16,000 new dorm beds would open up about 5,000 units to nonstudent renters. City officials said they plan to work with neighborhood residents to establish, by 2015, a list of suitable locations and other criteria for new student housing.”

Matt Rocheleau goes on to indicate, “However, the city acknowledged it has yet to fulfill its promise to increase the number of inspectors. Some landlords and tenants have resisted efforts to follow city housing codes. Students say they are forced to share crowded apartments simply to afford the rent.” He also talks about the number of students enrolled in college in the preceding year in Boston in which many of them lived off campus. As he states, “Last year, of the 136,000 students enrolled at four-year colleges and universities in Boston, an estimated 36,300 lived off campus, while 36,500 lived on campus, the report said. The rest resided in a mix of on- and off-campus housing in other municipalities.” Matt Rocheleau goes on to mention Quirk again in the matter. He says, “Quirk, of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development, said he believes that having data to support the dorm-construction plan is a key driver for the enthusiasm of school leaders. ‘It’s a very data-driven plan,’ he said. ‘We now have data we didn’t have before.’”

According to Matt Rocheleau, “After a fire at an off-campus apartment in Allston in April 2013 killed Binland Lee, a 22-year-old Boston University student, community activists called on colleges in Boston to release the addresses of their off-campus students to enable the city to detect overcrowded living conditions.”

Matt also indicates that “some area colleges have a head start on increasing undergraduate housing, as more than 7,000 new undergraduate dorm beds are currently under construction or have preliminary city approval, including at Boston University, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston.”

In returning back to first generation college students who are more likely to live off campus, Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, J, O'rouke, and Matthew goes on to prove in their article titled "Why Do First Generation College Students Fail?" that one of the major problems that "first generation college students" have is that they do not have a family member who can share some college experiences with them or who can tell them how to deal with problems or stress in "college" because their "parents" did not have chance to attend college; as a result, it is often arduous or difficult for them to know how to deal with college (2) (3) (4). As a matter of fact, Carla Rivera reports,"‘First-generation students do not want to create a financial burden for their families, who know less about the complex financial aid forms [and] details of loans and tax credit benefits, which do not ease the burden of initial out-of-pocket costs,’ according to Sylvia Hurtado, director of the research institute, said in a statement.” First-generation students may enter college or university with inadequate preparation, stress is more likely to overcome them , and they are unable to remain reasonable or rational when problems, such as having difficulties passing their classes or paying for their lives, take place in their lives while they are in school. As a matter of fact, as a faculty member explained, "As I teach students that are most likely first generation college students, I also would suggest that they do not have an idea of what being a college student involves. And it is at this point that they become ‘behind in the game,’ for they do not even know the steps to take, [or] the order to take, to succeed” (Abour H. Cherif, Gerald E. Adams, Farahnaz Movahedzadeh, Margaret A. Martyn, and Jeremy Dunning in the article titled Why Do Students Fail? Faculty's Perspective in Higher Learning Commission, Collection of Papers 2014).

Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, J, O'rouke, and Matthew also talk about what colleges and universities can do to help in the matter. “Most universities today have embraced the marketing concept. Therefore, both professors and administrators at institutions of higher education need to know their customers (students). Knowing the background of these students can be beneficial in designing programs that will best serve the students they are responsible for educating”( Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, J, O'rouke, and Matthew). Mehta, Sanjays, Newbold, J, O'rouke, and Matthew also talk about demographic and socioeconomic information on first generation college students. As they stated, “While demographic and socioeconomic information on these students is collected regularly, many universities rarely use this information to design programs that provide greater value.”

Carla Rivera also shows that “financial considerations were even more important for students who are the first in their family to attend college, with 60% citing financial aid as a ‘very important’ consideration in their college choice according to the survey of the nation's first-year students conducted by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute.”

According to Publicagenda.org, “Education leaders across the nation have advocated for parents to be more engaged in their child's education. In a 2010 speech to parents, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, ‘It is well-documented—and plain common sense—that parental involvement in a child's education boosts student learning and improves both behavior and attendance.’”

What other problems inadequate parental involvement can cause? According to Jeri LaBahn in his article titled Education and Parental Involvement in Secondary Schools: Problems, Solutions, and Effects, “Parental involvement is a combination of commitment and active participation on the part of the parent to the school and to the student” (1).However, if many parents fail to do that, many students can face trouble. As WILL OKUN stated in the article titled “Parents Who Don’t Parent”, which has published at nytimes.com, “Students with poor academic skills who also suffer from a lack of parental involvement or support have virtually no chance of graduating from school.” Not only can lack of parental involvement expose students to the risk that has been stated in the preceding statement, but it can also cause other problems. According to Dr. J. Richard Gentry, the author of Raising Confident Readers, How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write--from Baby to Age 7, in Raising Readers, Writers, and Spellers in his article titled A Lack of Parent Engagement Helps Create Failing Schools, “Disengaged parents promote school failures and are helping create a generation of students who are less well educated than they are” (3).

“Lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem facing public schools,” according to the article titled WHAT RESEARCH SAYS ABOUT PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN CHILDREN’S EDUCATION In Relation to Academic Achievement by Michigan Department of Education.

“Three major factors of parental involvement in the education of their children: parents’ beliefs about what is important, necessary and permissible for them to do with and on behalf of their children, the extent to which parents believe that they can have a positive influence on their children’s education, and parents’ perceptions that their children and school want them to be involved,” according to the article titled WHAT RESEARCH SAYS ABOUT PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN CHILDREN’S EDUCATION In Relation to Academic Achievement by Michigan Department of Education.

Why parents do not participate in their children’s education? How do the teachers feel when the parents do not involve in their children's education? According to Peter McDermott and Julia Rothenberg in their study that was presented at the Twelfth Annual Conference on Ethnographic and Qualitative Research in Education at the State University of New York at Albany in 2000, “Data revealed that teachers are frustrated with a lack of parental involvement in literacy activities at home and at school. Parents, however, expressed distrust toward the local elementary school because they felt the faculty has been biased against African American and Latino children and their families. Consequently, the parents said they deliberately decided not to participate in school activities.” Peter McDermott and Julia Rothenberg go on to indicate that parents do not involve in their children’s education for many other causes in addition to the ones listed above. He shows that “certainly cultural and communication differences between teacher and families lie at the heart of the problem.”

"Parents explained they would only work with teachers who respected and valued their children," according to Peter McDermott and Julia Rothenberg.

As stated in the article titled WHAT RESEARCH SAYS ABOUT PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN CHILDREN’S EDUCATION In Relation to Academic Achievement by Michigan Department of Education, “Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status. The more intensely parents are involved, the more beneficial the achievement effects. The more parents participate in schooling, in a sustained way, at every level -- in advocacy, decision-making and oversight roles, as fund-raisers and boosters, as volunteers and para-professionals, and as home teachers -- the better for student achievement. 86% of the general public believes that support from parents is the most important way to improve the schools.”

Public Agenda: Parents Want to Be Involved in Children’s Education Yet Don’t Understand Key Factors Affecting Public Education Quality "N.D" January 7, 2014

 parents surveyed who said they wished they could be doing more when it comes to involvement in their child's educationthose who are satisfied with the way things arethose who said other parents they know are involved too littlethose that can name a basic milestone that their child should have learned in school over the previous year - Parents that said they would like their child to have more difficult classes Parents that say Schools don’t need to make classes more difficult, that “my child works hard enough as is.” Parents that say they know nothing at all about the qualifications of their child's principal those that say they know nothing at all about what the superintendent is actually responsible forThose that say they know a lot about the options to send their child to another area or public schoolParents who were best informed and most active in their children’s educationParents who were the least knowledgeable and least involved Knowledgeable and involved parents who said that they knew “a lot” about how their child’s school compares to other schools in the areaThe least informed and involved parents who said the same thing Parents who said that having conversations, via email, phone or in person, four times a year with their child's teachers about how their child is doing is a good way to enhance involvement.Parents who said knowing more about what benchmarks and skills your child should be mastering at the end of every school year is a good way to enhance involvementParents who said offering morning, evening and weekend appointment hours with teachers and school officials for parents who work is a good way to enhance involvementParents who said requiring the parents of failing students to attend programs that teach them how to help their kids learn is a good way to enhance involvement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage

65 percent

34 percent

50 percent

less than 22 percent

only 50 percent

47 percent

27 percent

28 percent

36 percent

27 percent

30 percent

83 percent

22 percent

57 percent

58 percent

55 percent

45 percent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to Peter McDermott and Julia Rothenberg , Publicagenda.org shows, “When parents with children were asked about other possible reasons why some parents become less involved as their children got older, nearly half (47 percent) cited increasingly difficult schoolwork as a ‘major reason’. Additionally, 31 percent said problems communicating with their child were a ‘major reason’ (‘Parents don’t always know the right questions to ask their children about how they are doing in school’). Little more than 1 in 5 parents — 22 percent — said a major reason they became less involved was because ‘teachers don't really want parents interfering with their classes.’ Only 21 percent say, ‘there are so many teachers in later grades that it is hard to keep in contact with them.’ “

Data from Dr. Matthew Lynch in It’s Tough to Trailblaze: Challenges of First-Generation College Students, A 2010 study by the Department of Education January 2

 Percentage of the college population that is made up of first-generation studentsMinority groups who parents had a high school education or lessThe parents of students of Asian with a high school diploma or lessNative Americans who parents with a high school diploma or lessFirst-generation students that identified themselves as Caucasian

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage

50 percent

48.5 percent of Latino and Hispanic students and 45 percent of Black or African-American students included

32 percent

35 percent

28 percent

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data from Krista Ramsey and Cliff Peale, USA TODAY, “First-generation college students stay the course.” Mars 29, 2010. January 2011.

 Entering freshmen in the USA are first-generation college studentsFreshmen who are are both first-gens and low incomFirst generation students who will leave college after their first yearComparison of the dropout rate of low income first generation college students to the dropout rate of higher-income second-generation students.Low-income first-gens who leave college within six years without a degree

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage

30%

24%

More than 25%

 

89 percent

Number & words

 

4.5 million

 

4 times higher than the dropout rate of higher-income second-generation students.

Does income have a relation with students’ academic performance? What troubles can low income students face? According to a study titled 10 Theories On The Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status And Academic Achievement that was conducted by Grant Wiggins, he tried to find out the relationship between academic performance and socioeconomic status. In order to do so, Grant Wiggin analyzed many data, such as the PA PSSA data. One of the most interesting data was the 2012 SAT one. What this data showed was that students who came from a family where the family income was between 0$ – $20,000 scored 433 in critical reading and 461 in mathematics. Those who came from family where income was between $20,000 – $40,000 scored 463 in critical reading and 481 in mathematics. A score of 485 in reading or 500 in mathematics was for the ones who came from family where income was between $40,000 to $60,000. The students who came from family where income was between $60,000 – $80,000 scored 499 in critical reading and 512 in mathematics. Those who came from family where income was between $80,000 to $100,000 scored 511 in reading and 525 in mathematics. A score of 523 in reading and 539 in mathematics was for those who came from family where income was between $100,000 to $120,000. Students who came from family where income was between $120,000 to $140,000 scored 527 in critical reading and 543 in mathematics. Those who came from family where income was between $140,000 to $160,000 scored 534 in critical reading and 551 in mathematics. A score of 540 in reading and 557 in mathematics was for those who came from family where income was between $160,000 to $200,000. Lastly, students who came from family where income was more than $200,000 scored a 567 in critical reading and 589 in mathematics. This idea can make us realize that income has a relation with students’academic performance, or students who come from more money have better score or academic performance than those who come from less money. Also, Grant Wiggins goes on to show that “ever since the Coleman report in the 60s and the controversial book The Bell Curve by Herrnstein and Murray in the 1990’s, dozens of studies keep finding the same thing: socio-economic status is correlated with student achievement.” Among the data or studies that he analyzes, he finds out that students who come from family who have more money have better academic performance than those who come from less money. Not only can income have a relation with students’ academic performance, but it can also have a relation with their drop out rates or be an element that causes them trouble. According to Khara Sikhan, “Low-income students are six times more likely to drop out of school. Low-income students fail to graduate at five times the rate of middle-income families and six times that of higher-income youth, according to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)."

Additionally, “Gary Berg uses both quantitative data and information gleaned from personal interviews with students and professors to show how students from poor families are shortchanged at every stage of their postsecondary education, from admissions practices that discriminate against them, to the numerous obstacles they face getting through college, to the lesser benefits they reap after graduation,” according to Serena Golden in the article titled low-Income Students and the Perpetuation of Inequality' in Inside Higher ED.

Gary also mentions that “George H.W. Bush further cut federal grants to low-income students during his period in office. Typically writing skills are where students from low-income families have the most trouble academically. The competition by universities to climb over each other in the U.S. News & Report rankings has had a negative impact on low-income students because the quality measures work against them.”

Low-income students also receive less financial aid or assistance from the government. According to Jon Marcus in the article titled Obama Seeking to Help Poor Students, But Policies Favor the Rich: Opinion in CNN, “Federal figures also show that students from families that earn at least $100,000 a year get an average of $10,200 in financial aid, significantly more than the $8,000 that goes to students from families that earn less than $20,000.” Marcus goes on to show that students who do not have money problems or who are not in need of money are more likely to receive more assistance than those who are in need.

“It’s a real issue: Only 30 percent of low-income students enroll in college right after high school, and only 9 percent earn a bachelor’s degree by age 25,” as Sara Martinez Tucker stated in the article titled Getting More Low-Income Students Into College Isn't About Money, It's About The Curriculum.

Jon Marcus also shows that “partly because the $1 billion a year in taxpayer money that goes to work-study is based on a 50-year-old formula that gives preference to high-priced private universities and colleges, nearly one work-study recipient out of four comes from a family that earns $80,000 a year or more, according to Education Department figures. That's a higher proportion than those that make less than $20,000. And fewer than half meet the federal definition of financial need.”

College costs rise more rapidly for poorer or low-income students. “At private universities, students in the lowest income group saw the biggest dollar increase over that period: about $1,700, after adjusting for inflation, according to the analysis by The Dallas Morning News, The Hechinger Report and the Education Writers Association. Higher-income students paid more overall, but their costs rose more slowly - an inflation-adjusted average of about $850 for middle-income families and $1,200 for those in the top income group. At private research universities, including many of the nation's most elite, the net price rose by an average of $2,700 for the poorest families - those with incomes under $30,000 a year - compared with $1,400 for their higher-income classmates,” according to JON MARCUS AND HOLLY K. HACKER. JON MARCUS AND HOLLY K. HACKER goes on to analyze some data regarding the University of Notre Dame, for example. They show that “the most recent data for the University of Notre Dame show that the poorest students, defined as coming from families with annual incomes below $30,000, paid an average net price of just over $15,000 per year. Students with family incomes between $48,000 and $75,000 paid more, around $18,500. And families that earn more than $110,000 paid the most, about $37,500. Over the four years the data were collected, however, the net price for Notre Dame's poorest freshmen more than doubled, from about $7,300 in 2008-09 to $15,100 in 2011-12, while it declined slightly for students in higher-income groups.”

According to Robert Morse and Diane Tolis in the article titled Measuring Colleges' Success Graduating Higher-Income Students in US News & World Report, an analysis shows graduation rates of higher-income students compared with the entire student body, “These different sets of graduation rates that the U.S News & World Reports' analysis shows indicate how well a college or university serves students of differing income levels. Both Pell Grants and subsidized Stafford loans – low-interest loans where the interest is paid by the government while a student is in school – are awarded to students based on financial need. Students with neither, then, can be assumed to be from families with relatively high income levels.”

Lack of confidence can cause students troubles. According to the study titled The Correlation between General Self-Confidence and Academic Achievement in the Oral Presentation Course by Safaa Mohammad Al-Hebaish at the Department of Curricula and Teaching Methods, Faculty of education, Taibah University, “A correlation design was employed to find out the relationship between general self-confidence and academic achievement. The descriptive design was employed to describe the current status of the subjects in the study. The correlation study, on the other hand, was carried out to investigate the existence, or nonexistence of the relationship between the variables of the study in order to make predictions or suggestions (Fook et al.,2011,p.33).” The study consists of 53 female college students between the ages of 20-22 at the university of Taibah who majored in English. The Department chose to put them in a preparation class in order to better their oral communication skills so that they could speak clearly because they have a communication barrier. They joined the English Department at the university without knowing those important skills that they need to succeed. They collected many information for the data.“The data consisted of 25 statements about GSC, and learners were asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with each statement. The responses were scored on a five-point Likert scale response format, ranging from „No’ to „too much’. According to the rating system of the questionnaire, the minimum score was 25 points and the maximum score was 125 points” ( Mohammad Al-Hebaish)(62&63). After they calculated the data statistics so that they could understand the scores better, they came up with a result. The result was that students who participated in the study had a mean score of 81.84 in the presentation test, and they had a mean deviation score of 4.89. “To examine the correlation between general self-confidence and academic achievement scores, correlation analysis was conducted. The Pearson correlation coefficient was r (.707**). The Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient was also employed to determine the correlation between the two variables,” (Mohammad Al-Hebaish) (63). In one of the findings, they found that academic achievement was positively correlated with the grades that the students scored in their tests. After that, they continued to analyze the data. They tried to find out if confidence was correlated with students’ academic performance. What they found as results was that there was “a positive significant correlation between the two variables. The more self-confident learners were, the higher were their scores in the oral test. Highly self-confident learners were ready to try to speak in front of others. Lack of general self-confidence, on the other hand, resulted in lack of interest to strive for high quality oral performance. Less confident learners were not certain of their abilities. They tended to try less which in turn leaded to low levels of achievement” ( Mohammad Al-Hebaish)(64). In addition to that, in the article titled How to Survive the Third Year of Medical School: Common Pitfalls, Dr. Apollo aka L.Y. Leung shows that lack of confidence is a reason that causes many students to fail (2).

According to Abour H. Cherif, Gerald E. Adams, Farahnaz Movahedzadeh, Margaret A. Martyn, and Jeremy Dunning in the article titled Why Do Students Fail? Faculty's Perspective in Higher Learning Commission, a faculty said, “I think most students fail because of a lack in self-confidence. Often the students that I see are bright but make failing grades due to their not believing that they are smart enough to do the work. We try to work through this and if there is some improvement in self-confidence, grades improve.”

According to Erick Ravenscraft in the article titled Why Confidence Is So Important (and How to Improve Yours), “A pilot study at the University of Melbourne found some correlation between confidence levels as early as primary school and success in the workplace as adults. This doesn't just apply to the workplace, either."

Erick also mentions that "a study by the University of Texas showed that students who received some expression of confidence in their ability—even while receiving criticism—performed better later on than those who were simply told to aim for higher standards.P."

"The Univerisity of Edinburgh and the University of California-San Diego found that in a standoff over a particular resource, unless you were sure you'd lose the fight, and as long as what you're fighting for had value, confidence often result in success. Even if you weren't right, being confident can help you get what you want,” according to Erick Ravenscraft.

On the other hand, even if students are confident, other problems may stand up because being overconfident also causes many students trouble. According to a study titled I Thought I Got an A! Overconfidence across the Economics Curriculum by Clifford Nowell and Richard M. Alston, they tried to find out how confidence was correlated with students’ academic performance. “They also analyze the difference between a student’s expected and actual grade and how teacher pedagogies can influence student overconfidence” (Alston). They interviewed many students at a big university at the economics and quantitative courses. During the semester, they found from the professors that 191 students had an actual grade of A, 249 students had an actual grade of B, 213 students had an actual grade of C, 51 students had an actual grade of D, and 11 students had an actual grade of F in the class. “They analyzed two different types of overconfidence in the context of grade expectations. The first type of overconfidence reflected an inflated view of an ability to accurately predict future performance. They examined the ability of students to predict the grade they would earn in classes taught by faculty in the economics department during the fall semester of2002.” (Alston) (132). 221 students expected to have an A in the class, 328 students expected to have a B in the class, 150 students expected to have a C in the class, 13 students expected to have a D in the class, and 3 students expected to have an F in the class. “Although Gaultney and Cann (2001) reported that after the fact 71 percent of students reported getting the grade they expected, only 58 percent of students in our survey were able to correctly predict their grade. One-third of students in our survey exhibited a degree of overconfidence, and their predicted course grade was greater than the actual grade they ultimately received. A significant portion, 9 percent, actually under predicted their grade” (Alston) (134). During they analyzed the data, they found that many elements were correlated or were negatively correlated with overconfidence, but that did not stop them from doing further research or further tests to make sure that those relations were absolutely correct. After they put all the information together or finish analyzing the data, they found a piece of evidence or many correlations. What they found "was that students often exhibit overconfident grade expectations and tend to overestimate the actual course grade at the completion of a course…In addition to that, they found students in lower division classes have a greater tendency to be overconfident than those in upper division class. Male students and those with lower GPAs exhibit greater confidence” (Alston)(131). Not only can male students or students who are overconfident have lesser grade, but students who are overconfident can face another problem. In the article titled How to Survive the Third Year of Medical School: Common Pitfalls, Apollo aka L.Y. Leung, a medical doctor, shows that “many students fail due to overconfidence” (2).

According to GlobalCognition in the article titled Why Overconfidence Occurs and How to Overcome It, “Winston Sieck, Ed Merkle, and Trish Van Zandt of the Ohio State University studied overconfidence among college students using a test of financial knowledge. The researchers created a cognitive model that explains why overconfidence occurs. They also tested ways of overcoming overconfidence based on the model."

"The paper, ‘option fixation: a cognitive contributor to overconfidence’ was published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. There are a couple of points in this cognitive process that lead to overconfidence: People tend to focus on that first guess. They mostly ignore the other alternative. This is called ‘option fixation’,” as stated in GlobalCognition.

GlobalCognition goes on to show in the article titled Why Overconfidence Occurs and How to Overcome it by supporting Winston Sieck, Ed Merkle, and Trish Van Zandt of the Ohio State University ideas that overconfidence can cause many other problems; it causes us to work less than we could or causes us to be certain too much about our capabilities, which can deceive us sometimes or cause us to realize that if we did apply our industriousness a little bit or were not certain at such a particular level, we would not be in a bad position or in a real problem that we should not be.

"Overconfident people are too easily satisfied with their explanations. When we keep them to ourselves, our explanations tend to be far shallower than we think they are," as stated in GlobalCognition.

Smoking causes students troubles. According to a study that was conducted by T W Hu, Z Lin, and T E Keeler, they tried to find out what was the relationship between academic performance and smoking. They interviewed in 1990 in California a lot of young students who smoked tobacco. What they found was that nonsmokers had a much better than average grade of 80.62; the former smokers had a much better than average grade of 13.92, but current smokers had a much better than average grade of 5.46. In terms of better than average grade, nonsmokers had a grade of 76.18 but a 16.41 for the former smokers and a 7.41 for the current smokers , and in terms of average, nonsmokers had a grade of 68.32 but a 19.37 for the former smokers and a 12.31 for the current smokers. In terms of below average, nonsmokers had a GPA of 47.31 but a 21.51 for the former smokers and a 31.18 for the current smokers. In terms of undefined status, nonsmokers had a 90.48 but a 4.76 for the former smokers and a 4.76 for the current smokers. These evidences can make us realize that students who smoke have lesser grades than those who do not smoke in all the terms, or smoking has a negative relation with student’s academic performance. Also, Jeremy Olson shows that correlation in his article titled Bad Habits Can Mean Bad Grades by stating that “the average GPA for nonsmokers was 3.28, while the average for daily smokers was 3.09. But even students who smoked once or twice a month had lower grades. Their average GPA was 3.16.” Not only can smoking have a negative relation with students’ academic performance or cause them to have lesser grade, but it can also cause them other problems. “According to London, students who smoke daily could experience serious effects in prefrontal cortex development and activation because of smoking ,” said Pia Bhathal in her article titled Smoking Can Affect Students’ Judgment. In addition to that, Jeremy Olson shows in his article titled Bad Habits Can Mean Bad Grades that smoking can be one of the bad habits that cause students to have bad grades.