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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