A recent research discovered distressing signs that demographic factors such as gender, race, and parental education play significant roles in ascertaining a student’s fate, no matter how studious or hardworking the particular student may be. Those from families with below-average earnings or whose parents didn’t finish college, are the ones failing college at disproportionate rates, even when distinguished from students with similar grades and test scores. Well to do undergrads earn 11 percent more degrees from flagship universities than comparable students from the poorest income quartile. White men are six percent more likely to graduate than black men with similar grades and scores. Women earn degrees at much higher rates than men. The findings about the actions that parents, students, and politicians should and shouldn’t take to fix the problems are already creating controversy.
High school grades are among the best indicators of how well a student will do in college. They typically manifest qualities of motivation and perseverance, good study habits and time management skills that tell us about their chances of completing a college program. Students who attend wealthier high schools do seem to enjoy a slight edge in enrolling in college and elite high schools appear to help the very best students succeed at the most selective public universities.
Students shouldn’t settle for less in a college. They have a better chance of graduating if they go to school with other students as talented as they are. High school grades are extremely important as indicators of success in college. It will not do for high school students to believe that ‘just getting through’ is enough, students have to work, they have to achieve. If they do, they have a better chance of succeeding in college and later in life.
Research has shown the influence of inspired and determined peers, who are not always present in community college classrooms. Many community college students also have expressed concerns over the years about the inability of their schools to direct them to classes that will count as transfer credits. In addition, many students are certainly put off by complexities in transfer processes.
Cash is another factor, it absolutely helps but is not a cure-all. More generous scholarships, or lower net tuition fees, can raise graduation rates by 5 to 10 percent. In addition, putting together enough aid with extra support services for students and parents does even more to guide and assist students through to graduation.
There is some hope though. The graduation rate success of students involved in experiments shows that graduation rates can be increased substantially if enough resources and creativity are put to work.