In the article, “The Dropout Dilemma: One in four college freshman dropout”, Jonathan Whitbourne touches the issue of college students dropping out. Whitbourne provides insight into the top six reasons that college students drop out. According to American College Testing, “one in every four students leaves college before completing sophomore year” (cited in Whitbourne 1). While this article is well written, it could use some more facts and provide some of the author’s credentials.
The article begins with a story about Michael Van Adams. He was an exemplary high school student with an outstanding academic record. After highschool, he thought he was ready to tackle any hurdle that was presented before him, including his college education. Michael was quickly proved wrong. High school students spend so much time trying to get into college that they are often forget the fundamentals needed to be prepared for college life. “A large number of students are Ill equipped for the challenges of college” (2).
One of the main skills that these students are lacking due to the time consumed with admissions is the coursework; which can be drastically different than high school. Other factors include: no longer living at home; which for many students this is the first time, and managing time and money. When these factors are present, it can lead to unneeded stress. Many colleges have been studying why the dropout rate is so high and attempting to construct a course or program to prepare students . These “Survival Courses” (2) are to prepare students for the tasks that lie ahead.
One school that has been providing a course for college preparation is the University of South Carolina since 1972 (2). The article also provides six of the top reasons that college student’s dropout. In addition to the reasons, the article also provides six survival strategies to help prepare and prevent new students from falling into the same pattern. The author does not provide his credentials or whether or not he is qualified to write this article. An extra step is needed to find out that he is the lead web editor at a corporation. The author began as an
editorial intern in sports; therefore he is not exactly qualified to write on college dropouts. Though the author has been an editor for Healthy Kids’ Magazine, he is not an subject matter expert in the field. Nevertheless, because he does have research and editorial experience, this allows him to be taken seriously on the topic. Even without the actual author having all of the necessary qualifications; the article is clearly not biased and is completely objective. There is very limited presence of personal opinion and the facts, when presented, are undeniable within the text.
The author has provided numerous of good examples of students that have come face to face with the horrors of being a new college student. The beginning of the article begins with an introduction about student named Michael VanAdams. As you get more into the content of the article there is a reference made about Sara Stanton. Though there is dialogue from these individuals there is no proof stating whether or not Whitbourne himself interviewed these students or if he just came across their stories. Using strong subject matter experts within the field can make an article or study more reliable.
In the essay, Whitbourne also uses the expertise of Vincent Tinto and Robert Feldman. Tinto is the Chairman of the Higher Education Program at Syracuse University in New York. He is also the author of Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition. In addition, Robert Feldman is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts. The combination of these individuals greatly contributes to the overall prestige of the article.
Another factor that is important when writing articles is the prominent use of facts to back the author’s findings and results. Whitbourne did not use a lot of facts to back his article. The use of statistics, facts, quotations, and citations could have helped his article be more reliable. The statistics and references that were used were wonderful, nevertheless they were scarce. When a topic like this is being discussed the reader needs to feel confident in what he/she is reading. Without the proper statistics and citations the persuasiveness of this article can be questioned.