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A majority of students fail to complete college education due to various reasons. This situation has prompted several institutions of higher learning to conduct research in an attempt to identify possible causes and solutions to this problem. This paper compares two articles that attempted to identify and address challenges that contribute to the non completion of college by some students.
In the first article, Fischer (2007) explored the “differences in race/ethnicity in college involvement and outcomes”. Fischer’s study compared Black and Hispanic students with Whites/Asians students. In the second article, Roberts and Styron (2010) studied factors vital to students’ retention. College usually brings together students from different racial, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds.
Adjusting to this cosmopolitan environment might prove challenging to selected groups of students. Proper mechanisms need to be formulated to enable a swift transition of students and easy interaction on campus. Although many colleges have implemented programs to address this issue, students’ retention rates continue to drop.
Fischer (2007) argues that students that have poor interaction with others on campus and those with negative experiences tend to be at a greater risk of dropping out of college. Social connectedness, students-faculty relationship and students’ financial status are interrelated factors that influence the students’ capability to stay in campus.
Fischer’s concentrated on two groups considered as a minority. The study explored the difference between Black/Hispanic and White/Asian students in adjusting to college life (Settling in campus life, p. 1). Experts have formulated several models that attempt to unravel why students drop out of college.
However, Fischer’s study sided with Bean’s model. Beans model argues that students’ college persistence relies on “organizational turnover and the interaction between attitudes and behavior” (Fischer, 2007). The model indicates that students’ expectations or attitudes (when they join campus) become disapproved or confirmed through their experiences on campus.
When students interact with one another on campus, students either confirm their initial expectations or form new ones. Therefore, these confirmed or renewed expectations/behaviors influence the students’ decision to stay or quit. Fischer (2007) argues that the intensions to leave prove to be extremely predictive of the actual personality of a student.
According to this model, students’ personality relies on their background. The integration of students depends on their background; a factor that ultimately influences academic behavior and performance. Fischer’s study also appreciates “Astin’s input-process-output model” that supports Bean’s view.
Astin’s model argues that students’ involvement and integration in the academic and social components of the institution are likely to persist in college. “The model affirms that Black and Hispanic students appear as first generation students, and they usually require grants to complete college education” (Fischer, 2007).
“These groups of students encounter numerous challenges that may affect their integration into campus life; making them a minority group on a predominantly White campus” (Fischer, 2007).
Roberts and Styron study
Roberts and Styron’s (2010) study aimed at exploring “students’ perception for university experiences and services”. The researchers evaluated how an institution’s academic advisory program and students’ social interaction affect students’ retention (Roberts & Styron, 2010).
In addition, they also explored the “involvement of faculty and staff approachability, business procedures, learning experiences and student support services on students’ retention” (Roberts & Styron, 2010). The authors affirm that proper academic counseling services assist students to make informed decisions and enhance their ability to stay in college.
They noted that academic counseling success depends on the closeness between the students and their mentors. The scholars argue that college environment should be open for social integration and connectedness. College should not only offer a venue for fulfilling one’s academic achievements, but also a model for social advancement. Students normally support one another during their usual interaction.
This model argues that when students interact, they tend to influence one another mutually. When students interact with their colleagues who face similar challenges, they feel encouraged. Thus, the students gain psychological confidence in the institution’s environment and their social belonging. In addition, students’ engagement and involvement improves their self esteem.
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Staff’s approachability, students support services and institution’s bureaucratic services also influence the students’ willingness to stay in college. Roberts and Styron argue that positive learning experiences can only be achieved when students and faculty members/staff interrelate.
Both articles discuss the possible factors that influence students’ willingness to stay in college. Fischer’s article focuses on factors that influence Black and Hispanic students (minority group) ability to remain in college. However, Roberts and Styron’s article concentrated on factors that affect all students including minorities.
Fischer’s study sided with Bean’s model which argues that students’ college persistence relies on “organizational turnover and the interaction between attitudes and behavior” (Fischer, 2007). The model appreciates the importance of social interaction and involvement of the students in the institutions’ social and academic activities.
Fischer argues that social connectedness and integration depend on a student’s background. These factors influence the student’s ability to confirm or change his/her expectations/behavior. Ultimately, the willingness to stay or quit when faced with challenges derived from one’s background. Beckie (2011) argues that the financial status of college students determines their capability of staying in college.
Beckie further indicates that students with unstable financial backgrounds find it difficult to raise college fees and upkeep money. The concomitant pressures usually drive such students out of college. On the other hand, a student’s capability to stay in college depends on the involvement of the student with the rest of the community on campus.
Roberts and Styron (2010) also affirm the importance of social connectedness, academic advisory programs and faculty/staff supportiveness.
Both articles affirm the need for social integration, superb academic advisory programs, closeness between students and faculty members. It can be noted that financial status of students, social connectedness while on campus and student-faculty relationships determine whether a student may stay in college or not.
This paper aimed at comparing two articles that attempted to identify and address challenges that contribute to the non completion of college by some students.
Roberts and Styron (2010) affirm that “Low retention rate not only impact students and institutions that must bear the economic burden linked to premature departures, but also the ability of a nation to compete in a global economy”. Higher education administrators should realize the need to design programs that address the factors contributing to college dropout.
The programs should on the foremost allow free social inclusiveness and connectedness between students and faculty members. Students from different backgrounds need to integrate swiftly in institutions of higher learning. Barriers hindering the achievement of this goal should be identified and addressed. The formulated programs should be equitable, accessible and effective.
The programs implemented to address the college retention issue should enhance friendly interaction between faculty members and students (HSRC, 2005). Student support services should be availed to offer customized students assistance. Students should be encouraged to participate in various aspects of college life in order to realize both short and long term goals.
Beckie, S. (2011). When Life Gets in the Way of Paying for College. Chronicle of Higher Education, 57(22), A1-A20.
Fischer, J. (2007). Settling in Campus Life: Differences by Race/Ethinicityin College Involvement and Outcomes.The Journal of Higher Education, 78(2), 125-161.
Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) (2005). Settling for Less: Student aspirations and Higher education Realities. Cape Town:HSRC Press.
Roberts, J. and Styron, R. (2010). Student Satisfaction and Perception: Factors Vital to Student Retention. Resaerch in Higher Education Journal, 1-18.
Settling in Campus Life (n.d). Web.