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Barriers to College Success and How to Overcome Them

Throughout life, people face a lot of obstacles, one of which is college success. Succeeding in college, the first step for a better future is the goal that everyone in this world strives to achieve. However, some students find it easy to study in college while others cannot. The process paths to succeed in college are never easy, which makes students give up and quit college easily. Attending college, not only will the environment be different, but the requirements are also much more difficult than high school.

College students will spend fewer hours being in classes, but they will be given more works, which is harder than they do before. In order to accomplish the requirements of the college-level, they must focus and spend more time studying. In addition, they won’t hear any complaints or receive any punishments from teachers and schools when they don’t come to school or don’t finish their homework. It’s time for students to be on their own, more independent, and have responsibility for their behaviors.

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To become successful people in the future, students should learn and practice some important abilities and beliefs, which are not only the powerful factors, but they are also the important guidance for them to accomplish their goals easier and faster in college. The right mindset, the important factor, is the key to college success. Mindsets can either led people to fail or allow them to face the challenges to receive more achievements in the future.

There are two kinds of mindset, which are a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

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The fixed mindset people believe that innate abilities are set in stone and unchangeable while the growth mindset people admit that their basic abilities can be developed and improved through effort and working hard. To them, the effort is seen as a chance to achieve success. Imagine two students, Tom and John, have the worst midterm score in English. Both of them come from China. They face lots of difficulties in studying English because it’s not their first language. Tom and John feel disappointed about the result, but their mindsets are different. Tom is the fixed mindset student. Tom thinks that he doesn’t have enough ability to study English, which is the reason why he has a bad score in the midterm. He also believes that his English skill cannot be developed or improved even though he tries hard. He drops the class immediately after having the midterm score.

According to Ph.D. Carol S. Dweck, the author of mindset, she points out, “The fixed mindset limits achievement. It fills people’s mind interfering thoughts, it makes effort disagreeable, and leads to inferior learning strategies” (67). Tom admits that success is the result of talent, so the effort is worthless. No matter how hard he tries to study English, his English skills cannot be improved. On contrary, John, the growth mindset student, does differently. Instead of dropping the class, he fixes the mistakes in the test and gives to his teacher to check again. He also studies his mistakes carefully in order not to do wrong in the future. He studies harder and spends more time on studying in English. B believes that hard work will improve his score and his English skills as well. He makes a schedule to study English in class as well as at home. In class, he focuses more on listening to the teacher carefully. After finishing the homework in class, he also does more exercises on the Internet. Finally, he passes the class with the highest score. A growth mindset is a key that helps John to pass the class even though English is not his first language. Students should remember that the brains are the same as the muscles. The more we put the effort into doing something, the more the brains will grow. Students should always keep the growth mindset in their minds. It not only helps them go through the challenges but it also the key to the successful path in the college as well as in the future.

Sometimes there are some unpredictable problems that can prevent people from accomplishing their goals; however, if people believe that the outcomes cannot affect them, they will succeed easily. In the article Are you the master of your fate?, Rogger Julian B explains, “when people interpret the consequences of their behavior to be in the control of luck, fate, or powerful others, this indicates a belief in what Rocker called an “external locus of control” (207) while he defines that “ if people interpret their own behavior and personality characteristics as responsible for behavioral consequences, they have a belief in an “internal locus of control” (207). Internal locus of control people, who have responsibility for their actions and behaviors, are always more highly motivated and dominant than external locus of control people while the external locus of control people feel powerless to control the outcomes.

Nowadays, the number of college students, who don’t have enough money to pay tuition increases dramatically every year. Students who have an external locus of control will quit school immediately. They always blame for poverty is the reason why they cannot continue to study in college. On the other hand, the people who have an internal locus of control will never give up. Instead of dropping out of college, they will find many ways to earn money in order to continue to study in college. Poverty cannot prevent them from studying. They will find jobs in college such as tutoring. People who have an internal locus of control will receive more success in the future than others. People have to find ways to solve problems in their lives. They can change and control the outcomes in the way they want if they have a high internal locus of control. Don’t let the outcome prevent success.

Delayed gratification is one of the most effective personal traits of successful people. It can be defined as people have the ability that they can put off doing things they want to receive higher achievements. People who can delay gratification will be more successful in their studies, career, and in lives. For instance, two students, Ana and Hannah, have bad scores in the English test. The teacher gives them a chance to take the test again. They have to review the test and study carefully before doing the test. When they come home, their friends ask them to hang out to watch the new movie. It’s also their favorite movie. Ana, who doesn’t have delayed gratification, accepts the invitation immediately. She thinks that the movie only lasts 2 hours, so she can study the latter. When she comes home, she feels tired because of spending all day studying and watching a movie, so Ana cannot focus on studying. She opens the books and study quickly. Because she had studied before, so Ana believes that she still remembers the lessons and does the test well tomorrow. Because Anna doesn’t review and study carefully, she doesn’t remember anything. Ana gets a bad score in the test. On the other hand, Hannah, a student who has delayed gratification, decides to go home and study even though this is her favorite movie. Hannah knows that she doesn’t have much time to study. The test is much more important than the movie. Hannah can watch movies after studying for the test. She has only the last chance to improve the score. She spends many hours studying and reviewing the lessons. Because of the right decision, Hannah gets an A on the test. Delayed gratification, which is an important skill, will help students to reach bigger goals in the future.

Grit is the key that helps college students overcome the obstacles in college as well as in their lives. In the article “The Winning Edge”, Peter Doskoch defines the grit as, “the determination to accomplish an ambitious, long-term goal despite the inevitable obstacles” (215). People who have grit are always ready for the obstacles and find out to go through it. They are persistent and accept failure. If they fail in doing something, they will continue doing it until they accomplish their goals. Nowadays, there are some college students who have family and kids. They have to face lots of obstacles in their lives. People who have grit, they will find ways to go through the obstacles. Instead of giving up, they will make a schedule to balance studying and family issues. They try hard to finish college because this is the only way for them to improve the living standard and have better lives in the future. Not only can they take care of themselves, but their kids will live in comfortable lives. In contrast, people who don’t have grit, they will give up easily. They are afraid of facing obstacles in their lives. They believe that family has a big impact on them, so they cannot move on and finish colleges. Students must think about the goals in the future. Successful is never easy, which must always have obstacles. Gritty is the most important factor and also the key that helps college students to achieve long-term goals.

In conclusion, to receive successful in college, students must think carefully about their minds and beliefs that help them avoid distractions and go through the obstacles. It’s time for students learned and practiced to have the right guide to success.




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Barriers to College Success and How to Overcome Them. (2020, Oct 02). Retrieved from

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