Trouble with College Grades
I was recently sent a question about students who do very well academically in high school, but struggle when they get to college. And further, what resources are available to help in these situations and from whom students should seek assistance.
I would start by saying that it is probably closer to the rule, than to the exception, to have at least SOME difficulty with school during the transition from high school to college (and there can be another transition experienced when transferring from a junior/community college to a university). For some students, figuring out how to fix the problem(s) takes longer than for others. When the issues are academic in nature, my contention is that most of the difficulties have little to do with the material being too complicated, or the student “just not getting it”, as is often reported by students. More often than not, the problems fall into one (or more) of several categories:
The good news is that each of these areas (and for that matter, even the too-complicated material and “not getting it” too) can be addressed using resources that are widely available on college campuses, and some fairly basic strategies for success. However, the keys to the solutions lie with the student. They must first recognize and admit/accept that there is a problem, and then they have to go seek help. This step may be much more difficult than you might expect for (formerly) high achieving students, as a significant part of their identity may be wrapped up in being “smart”, whether internally or in how they are perceived by others.
The answers to where to go for help and what resources are available are myriad, and are, frankly, different on each college campus. But the primary resource should be the student’s academic advisor/counselor or the advising office if no one person is assigned as the advisor. After course advisement and degree planning, one of academic advising’s main functions is to help students identify and address barriers to their academic success. Through information provided verbally, through flyers, posters and the like, as well as information listed on departmental web pages, and numerous other media, these offices try to distribute information about academic resources as widely as they possibly can.
The student’s interaction with the academic advisor may take the form of one-on-one discussions of a student’s current strategies and providing input on new strategies to undertake. It could be signing the student up for an upcoming workshop or tutoring session. It could be referring the student to another office on campus for the delivery of some service – e.g. counseling, career investigation, etc. And it could be referring them to a web page listing numerous other possibilities.
Math and writing centers are probably the most common resources made available on college campuses (because of the sheer volume of those in need of help in these areas). Other potential resources include; tutoring programs, supplemental instruction, workshops on various topics including note-taking, test-taking, time and/or stress management, studying in groups, etc.
Some tried and true strategies to maximize a student’s potential for academic success are:
It is very important for students to realize that one round of tests, one set of midterm grades, the grade in one class or even a whole semester’s grades do not make or break a college career. Courses can be retaken, majors changed, new skills learned, etc. And as long as they are willing to do some work to make changes, no academic trouble cannot be overcome. There is also a lot of confidence to be gained from overcoming this type of obstacle.
Back to Articles List
© Copyright 2017 CollegePrep-101