A Study on What Does College Success Mean to You and College Students

The “success” of students has to do with many different variables. Many students start their studies at a community college and then transfer on to a university to finish their studies, and other students may go to a community college to actually acquire an associate degree. And many students choose to start at a community college because the tuition is much cheaper than a four-year college or higher university. So, what goes into a student’s “success”? Are those with more money able afford a 4-year college or higher university education and have a higher “success” rate? Could race or ethnicity have a possible effect on the student’s success?

Student success can be broken down into many different parts.

Through a student’s time at college they can grow as a person in many different ways. Of course, students enrolled in college are going to broaden their intellectual development because that would be why they are attending college in the first place.

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However, there are many different aspects that go into student success. The students grow as a whole throughout their time at college. Their emotional, social, and ethical views will all grow and change through their different experiences.

Martin, Galentino, & Townsend have shown that students that enroll in community colleges are much less prepared for college level courses and thus have to start on the lower level courses to work their way up. However, not all students are unprepared that attend community college. Many students that are successful in community colleges have; clear goals, strong motivation, manageability, and self-empowerment.

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(Martin, Galentino, & Townsend, 2014).

Each student has a different college experience; however, when students feel important or that what they are doing is important they have a higher motivation to complete a task or tasks. Many students tend to prefer to be in smaller classrooms because they feel they can have more of a connection with the professor and a better grasp of the concepts taught than if they were to be in a larger class setting. By being in a smaller class there are more opportunities for them to participate than if they were in a larger class where they may not get noticed as much (Johnson, 2010).

Some students may not have the ability to attend a four-year school because of a variety of different issues. Community colleges have generated many different student support services in order to help students with a variety of different needs. Many colleges provide a student success course that students can take (O'Gara, Karp, & Hughes, 2009).

Obtaining a college degree has become an increasing importance in determining the future of individuals in a high paced society, such as the United States. Unfortunately; gender, racial/ethnic, and class disparities in higher education perpetuate inequality into the next generation. From all the students that enroll in college, only about 50 percent of them graduate. Fischer (2007) mentions that there are three factors that may affect success in college: minority status, socio-economic advantages/disadvantages and being a first-generation college student. In an article by Keels, she describes that these inequalities are happening after enrollment; “It is even more concentrated among Black and Latino men” (pg. 310) (Keels, 2013).

Within this classification we also find differences in; gender and ethnic groups, which leads to challenges that minorities face, specifically referring Latinos and Blacks. As mentioned by Harris “Male underachievement relative to females has also only more recently become widespread concern for the American educational system. This means that in the United States males earn lower grades in academics than females” (Harris, 2018). This also shows that there is an educational discrepancy that is greater among Blacks than any other racial group, as well as class attendance within the Black female population was higher in 2018 than Black males.

Certain demographics and social factors can contribute to these challenges that potentially lead the student to reaffirm and/or reevaluate their initial goals, some of them coming from racially segregated neighborhood and/or high schools (Keels, 2018). Although, the separation from their home community is necessary to enter to the college or university life successfully (Fischer, 2007). Research indicates that these challenges can have a negative impact that can lead to; isolation, personal dissatisfaction, and stress which is not seen within the White class in the United States (Keels, 2013).

Once the students start the college life, their interactions with their environment can create expectations that can reinforce the motivation to accomplish their educational goal(s). When it comes minorities, these interactions can be difficult and sometimes can lead to dropping out of college. To counteract some of these factors mentioned above, some research indicates that social support network can lead to positive outcomes, creating groups of the same genders and ethnic peers on their campus (Keels, 2013). Black males as well as other minority males engage in additional; tutoring, study sessions, and related academic performance aids that can lead to better academic outcomes (Harris, 2018). These interactions with social support networks, lead the students to either reaffirm or reevaluate their life goals, on the contrary, students that lack social interaction in college as mentioned previously can lead to negative experiences (Fischer, 2007).

As mentioned previously, the gender gap exists among minorities, primarily males. Black males, specifically, have hasty, generalized stereotypes including; outstanding athletic participation and performance, as well as some negative criminal associations which often leads observers to perceive Black males as uninterested in educational achievement and success in higher education (Harris, 2018). Interestingly enough, research shows that Latino and Black males enter post-secondary education with higher aspirations than their White male counterparts. Spiritual guidance and support from; mentors, faculty, and family as well as the use of academics and support programs influence college performance. Encouragement from these mentors, faculty, family, friends, social integrations, and goal commitments can benefit the overall achievement of the goal in question (Fischer, 2007).

Speaking of male stereotypes, research has added the definition of masculinity, specifying that Black males create a sense of masculinity from specific situations in society that are pertinent to their; race/ethnicity, social class, and sexuality (Harris, 2018). As mentioned by Harris, “toughness, sexual promiscuity, sexism, thrill seeking, strong male attachment, and aggression with observable speech, walking styles, postures, greeting forms and corresponding attitudes are characteristics of masculine orientation” (Harris, 2018, p.81). Black and Latino males once dealt with this social stereotype when they had to come to terms with other aspects of society in which racism and discrimination are oppressive forces (Harris, 2018). Also adding that some institutions still limit the access of employment opportunities to Blacks, making it easier for White peers to get the job that the Black male population would have liked to apply for.

As aforementioned, support groups within colleges can help Blacks and Latinos create a healthy view of masculinity and academic retention programs aid in that. Black women identify that this personal support to be crucial to their presence in college (Fischer, 2007). Group studying also involves interaction with other students that can lead also to social adjustment, leading to positive impact. However, research shows that Hispanic students, specifically, in these studying groups, can be negative. Fischer further explains that Hispanic students participating in these groups can receive negative impacts on their GPA (Grade Point Average). This can be perplexing, because studying in group are supposed to be beneficial. This might be because students who study in groups are taking more difficult classes, resulting in lower classes GPAs if not cared for properly (Fischer, 2007). Overall, getting involved in academic organizations is an important factor in college success for the Black and Latino populations, leading to higher grades but also higher success rates of graduating from college, further diminishing the probability of dropping out. Minority students should be encouraged to become a part of these support groups from the beginning to help their college experience and lead to a better future (Fischer, 2007).

Within this research, a study was conducted to determine and evaluate these main hypotheses based on attitudes and perceptions; (1) Race differentiations will affect the level of percieved success on the surveyed campus. (2) Gender differences will have an impact on perceived success on the surveyed campus. (3) Classes may be presented in an ethnocentric view of the world from the perspectives of the White population, which was the predominant recorder in history; therefore, making classes more “likeable” for Whites. (4) Financial reasons for going to a community college will hinder the perceived success of the students. These hypotheses will be further explained and evaluated in the next section.

Updated: Feb 28, 2024
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A Study on What Does College Success Mean to You and College Students. (2024, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-study-on-what-does-college-success-mean-to-you-and-college-students-essay

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