Name Instructor Class 1 March 2012 College Attrition Causes and Some Resolutions Only 56% of those enrolled in four-year college courses graduate, which shows a large gap between college enrollees and graduates, a gap that threatens U.S. growth in the long run (Lewis)…
in Roberts and Styron 2). Leonhardt notes that the U.S. education system is a good student recruiter, but poor in college retention strategies. This paper analyzes the primary causes of college attrition and seeks to present solutions to them. This paper argues that there are seven main causes of student attrition and they are: academic under-preparedness, working more than 20 hours a week while taking 3 to 4 classes, excessive extra-curricular activities, financial problems, loneliness, poor family support, and lack of student-university fit. One of the main reasons that college students do not graduate is that they are simply unprepared for the academic challenges of their chosen degrees. Academic under-preparedness means that students are not sufficiently equipped to handle the academic needs of attending college and meeting their institution’s minimum academic standards. More than 50% of first-year students are not adequately prepared for college-level work, according to Jeff King, director of the Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas Christian University (Lewis). Clearly, if students do not even have the basic skills or knowledge to complete their course requirements, the more likely they are to not finish college. An example is a student who does not have good English language skills. She might be able to express herself in verbal English, but she does not know how to write a college-level academic paper. Since many courses require writing, she will have problems in completing them. Several solutions to academic under-preparedness are diagnostic assessments at college entry and academic support centers. The Koehler center is creating a tool that can help recognize students who are most at risk of dropping out (Lewis). King stresses: “There’s increasing pressure … to prove that after these thousands of dollars that parents are paying for a credential, the students are learning” (Lewis). Tools like these can help identify students who are at risk of not graduating and they can help schools introduce intervention measures that can increase their students’ chances of college success. Academic support centers are also crucial to helping students finish their degrees. Tutorial support, writing workshops, and other services and resources can help students handle a wide range of academic challenges. The second cause of college attrition is working more than 20 hours a week while taking 3 to 4 classes. College students do not have a homogenous profile, where they are all “only” students who do not need to work, or they work for additional allowance purposes alone. Many of them are working students who struggle to balance work and school needs. They depend on their work to provide for their basic needs, such as food, rent, and transportation. Other students are also married and with children, or are primary or secondary breadwinners in their families. If the physical, emotional, and time demands of the workplace are high enough to intrude on academic life, students will feel overwhelmed and unable to reach the minimum requirements of their educational institutions. When work demands are high, colleges can help students through their rigorous counseling and support centers. Teachers or educational professionals can counsel students to take only classes that they have the time and energy to finish. Academic support centers are also important, since they will refer working students to centers or groups that can help them handle the challenges of ...
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