How Can the Educational System Effectively Promote Student Success in College?

College education plays a crucial role in individual’s life since college education enables students to define their career path. It is, therefore, necessary the education system be structured in a way that supports student’s success in college. Failure to adequately prepare students joining college compromises their ability to achieve academic goals. Evidence shows that 40% of college students take remedial courses to enable them to fit well in college programs (Susan 2-5). Such trends clearly show that high school education programs do not prepare students adequately to enable them to pursue higher learning without difficulties. The high school education system should have specific features to enable students to succeed in the college environment.

College and high school environments vary substantially. Creating an understanding of the ideal education system requires emphasis to be put on understanding the differences between the high school and college learning environments. It is due to these differences that stakeholders in the high school education should focus on creating systems that enable students to adapt to the college environment without difficulty. The level of supervision is one of the factors that make college environment differ substantially from the high school environment.  Students in high schools are highly supervised to ensure they remain focused to the realization of academic goals.  On the other hand, supervision is almost absent in college environment. College students are granted autonomy   to make crucial decisions such as class attendance, completing assignments, and seeking professor’s help.   Projects are common in college while the same is absent in high schools (Gearon). A project is a crucial undertaking in college life and one cannot complete the course without delivering a quality project. It implies that students are required to exercise their research skill to enable them successfully accomplish projects. Attachment is a crucial engagement in college learning that is absent in high schools.  College students are required to undergo attachments before completing their courses. The attachment requirements vary from one course to the other.   In colleges, writing skills are emphasized than in high school since students are required to write different forms of contents (Gearon).

Shaping the Education System

It is clear specific measures should be implemented to make students succeed in college life.  Some high schools participate actively in preparing students to engage college life (Frey). There are different perspectives of improving high school education systems so as to adequately prepare students to realize academic goals in college. These perspectives should reflect the realities of the college environment, therefore, shaping the students attitudes and behaviors to enable them to fit well in the college environment. The high school education programs should, therefore, emphasize on some specific features such as social skills, self direction, research skills, internet skills, decision making skills, self advocacy skills, writing skills, time management, and personal safety.

Social Skills

Social skills are important in the college environment.  They enable one to get along with other students that help one to fulfill social needs. Human beings are social beings and they have complex social needs.  Social skills are therefore highly valued in college life making it necessary to equip students with social skills before joining college. Persons with unfulfilled social needs are exposed to a condition of stress that compromises the realization of academic goals (Jennings et al.). The ability of a student to accomplish academic goals is pegged on the extent to which they can easily interact with other students and instructors.  Group assignments are common that requires students to have adequate social skills to make them productive team members.  Learning environment is characterized by consultations and only students possessing adequate social skills can engage in productive consultations.

Self Direction

The education system needs to focus on enhancing self direction among the students. The college environment is characterized by independence where students are not under supervision as is in the high school environment (Mitchell). It means that students lose focus of their goals easily.  A substantial portion of students who enroll in institutions of higher learning fails to complete their courses due to lack of proper direction.  The high school environment is characterized by supervision where students are not given room for decision making.  It implies that students in high school environment behave in a structured way. On the contrary, college environment is characterized by independence where students are granted the autonomy to make decisions. The learning programs in colleges are set by the school administration but students are not forced to comply.  Class time is spelled clearly requiring students to avail themselves in class without failing. A student who lacks self direction may fail to attend classes that affect their grades negatively. The school administration does not implement sanctions to ensure compliance. However, failure to comply may be taken as indiscipline that can lower individual’s grades.   Lessons are allocated limited time and failure to attend lessons can compromise the ability of the students to understand concepts.  Another area that requires self-direction is the completion of assignments. Instructors give numerous assignments where students are required to look for solutions and present them for marking.   Colleges lack mechanisms of following the students to ensure that the assignments are accomplished, unlike high schools where the teacher monitors the student to ensure specific tasks are accomplished.  Students who lack self-direction may fail to accomplish the assignments that lead to poor grades considering that these assignments are included in the final grades (Mitchell).  Most colleges are located away from home implying that students are required to stay away from their parents.  Students joining colleges may not be familiar with such independence that can lead to abuse of the freedom. For instance, a student who lacks self-direction   can start engaging in   illicit activities such as drug abuse due to the absence of parental control. Peer pressure in college is high and such pressure can make students deviate from pursuing academic goals.  It is essential for high school programs to train students on self-direction to ensure they are able to control themselves when in college.

Research Skills

The education system should emphasize on equipping students with research skills.   College studies form a foundation for research in different professions.  Research is of great importance not only in college but also in the work environment. Businesses spend enormous amounts of money to fund research.  Other organization not necessarily profit oriented fund research with an aim of identifying solutions to specific programs. Colleges are required to equip students with research skills with an aim of enabling them to apply these skills in the work environment. However, colleges emphasize on exposing students to research project and assignments instead of teaching the basics of research. High school education does not incorporate research implying that students only engage in serious research work when they join colleges. Research projects have a substantial impact on the overall grades thus requiring students to pay special attention to research projects.   Evidence shows that college students are not adequately prepared to handle research work.   Colleges operate under tight schedules that make   it almost impossible to allocate sufficient time to teaching students basic research. Students would be more productive if they are exposed to research right from high school.  The education system should be structured in a way that allows students to engage in research work in their last high school year to prepare them for the intensive research work in colleges.  Such an alteration to the education system would improve the student’s productivity in the learning environment through enhancing their ability to engage in research work.  Such an improvement would translate into attractive grades.

Internet and Computing Skills

The education system should enable students to acquire internet and computing skills. Computers are widely used in colleges and they are even a requirement when joining college.  It is, therefore, important to equip students with computing skills before joining college to enable them to interact with computing devices without difficulties (Mitchell). The internet is a crucial information source in colleges making it necessary to enhance the ability of the students to use the internet. Search engine optimization enables students to access vast information resources from the internet when conducting research. Students need to be taught on the objective use of the internet as a tool for acquiring research information. Colleges have elaborate databases that allow students to access vast information resources.  Utilization of these databases requires the students to possess adequate computer skills to facilitate retrieval of information resources. The busy schedules in colleges cannot accommodate teaching of computing and internet lessons.

Decision Making Skills

The education system needs to emphasize on enabling students to make informed decisions at the college level. Students are exposed to more decision making at the college level than in high school. It is, therefore, necessary to empower them to make informed decisions. Choosing courses is one of the most important decisions that students make at the college level (Wiggins).  Evidence shows that a substantial portion of students studying in American institutions of higher learning makes wrong course choices. As a result, most of them fail to complete their courses when the courses selected turn to be challenging or fail to meet their expectations. Other students take courses that are not marketable making it hard to secure employment after college. The government at federal and state level maintains data concerning the labor requirement showing the skills that are in great demand in the economy. The demand for skills varies from one state to the other in line with the distribution of natural resources and industries.  High schools should incorporate career guidance in the education system to make the students conversant with the realities in the job market. Students should be provided with labor market facts from the government to be used as a basis for making career choices. Students also make choices regarding new friends since they are forced to interact with new people in colleges. The choice of friends has far reaching impacts on college life. Good friends influence the student positively that supports the realization of academic goals.  On the other hand, bad friends impede the realization of academic goals. It is, therefore, necessary to train high school students on how to select friends once they get to college. The fact that most college students are away from their parents implies that they are required to make other personal decisions.  Their ability to make decisions can be improved if they are properly trained concerning decision making steps and approaches.

Self Advocacy

The education system should promote self advocacy among students. The absence of close monitoring in college environment requires students to be aggressive to realize academic goals.  It is the responsibility of the students to implement measures to ensure academic goals are realized.  Sometimes concepts taught in class may not be clearly understood making it necessary to seek clarification from the professor.  Detailed questions are discouraged during class session implying that students who need clarifications are expected to follow the professor after the class. Professors have limited time and it is only aggressive students that are able to get adequate attention from the professor (Wiggins). It is, therefore, necessary to train high school students on pursuing personal interests once they join college.

Writing

College students are exposed to different form of writing. Assignments and tests are delivered in a written form and only students with good writing skills are able to accomplish academic goals.  The education system should focus on enhancing the student’s writing skills to effectively promote their success in college. Writing skills are taught in high school but are not specific to   the needs of college students. Emphasis needs to be put on matching the writing skills with the college environment that ensures students are able to handle written assignments in college (French).

Time Management

The ability to manage time is a key success factor in college life. Time wastage is one of the main factors that compromise the success of college students. College schedules are tight that requires students to master their time management skills. Students are required to allocate limited time to competing activities that require them to have good time management skills. Possession of time management skills enables students to make priorities that foster success in college life.

Personal Safety

Students in a college environment are exposed to different risks. It is necessary for the education system to incorporate safety measures to ensure students are able to mitigate the different risks facing them at college (Mitchell). The high school environment is more secure since the students are closely monitored by teachers and parents. On the contrary, college students are expected to maintain their own safety by identifying   potential risks that can compromise their personal safety.   For instance, hostels may be located away from college making it necessary for the students to make assessments so as to identify whether it is safe to walk at night.

In conclusion, the education system can play a crucial role in promoting student success in institutions of higher learning.   The education system in high school and colleges need to be structured in a way that shapes the behaviors and attitudes of students to support the realization of academic goals. An ideal education system should focus on social skills, self direction, research skills, internet skills, decision making skills, self advocacy skills, writing skills, time management, and personal safety.

Work Cited

Barnett, Elisabeth A., William Corrin, Aki Nakanishi, Rachel Hare Bork, Claire Mitchell, and Susan  Sepanik. Preparing High School Students for College: An Exploratory Study of College

Bernstein, Kenneth. “A Warning to College Profs from a High School Teacher.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 2013. Web. Mar. 2016.

French, Ron. “Ready for College? In Michigan, Likely Not.” Bridge Magazine 1 May 2012. Print.

Frey, Carol. “A Crash Course in College Preparedness.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 16 Aug. 2010. Web.

Gearon, Christopher J. “Colleges Take Aim at Improving Student Success.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 23 Sept. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008. Print

Jennings, Nancy, Suzanne Lovett, Lee Cuba, Joe Swingle, and Heather Lindkvist. “’What Would Make This a Successful Year for You?’ How Students Define Success in College.” Association of American Colleges & Universities. 2013. Web. Mar. 2016.

Mitchell, Travis. “10 ways to prepare for your freshman year of college” US News. U.S. News & World Report, 12 Aug. 2014. Web.

Readiness Partnership Programs in Texas. National Center for Postsecondary Research, 2012. Print

Wiggins, Grant. “8 Reasons That Today’s High School Is Poor Preparation for Today’s College.” Granted, And… Grant Wiggins, 08 Apr. 2015. Web. April. 2016. Web

 

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