December 13, 2015
Social Psychology to the Rescue, College Student Dropout Rates
I. Literature Review
One growing concern for colleges and universities across the United States is college student dropout rates. According to College Atlas, 70% of Americans will study at a 4-year college, but less than two-thirds will graduate. About 40% of full-time students attending a 4-year institution in the United States complete a bachelor’s degree within 4 years, while around 58.6 % of students earn theirs within 6 years. Among research and findings pertaining to college student dropout rates, social, psychological, and economic factors tend to be the main causes ...view middle of the document...
Having goals can make the academic path clearer, and provide a better transition into college. Lastly, coping strategies were a great predictor of persistence in college. Coping strategies help form the college students’ independence as well as transition to college.
In Astin’s article, Personal and Environmental Factors associated with College Dropouts among High Aptitude Students, he conducted a 4 year longitudinal study among 6,660 high aptitude students from the 1957 National Merit Scholarship competition. The students completed a mail in survey in the year 1957 which was their freshman year, and then another follow-up survey during the year 1961, which was their expected graduation year. A dropout was considered if the student answered on their follow-up survey they were not attending a college or university, or had not completed their course work. The results of the survey showed that students who dropped out possessed self-centered, aloof, assertive, and impulsive personality traits. They also came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, had lower ranks in high school, had initially planned to get a degree lower than a bachelor’s degree, and applied to fewer scholarships compared to college students who did not drop out. One interesting result of the survey showed that a female student had a higher chance of dropping out of college when she attended a college with a relatively high male population.
According to Raye’s article, Why We Quit, many researchers have come to believe that a failed attempt of transitioning from high school to college is the main reason why most college students leave without finishing. Riley expresses the importance of assessing academic, personal, and social strengths before entering college to increase the chances of choosing a college or university that best suits the individual.
A solution to prevent college student dropouts would be to provide a comfortable support system to help ease their transition from high school to college. One main point that is seen within all the articles provided is the failure to transition from high school to college as being a strong reason for college student dropout. According to the articles, a lack of social relationships, low grades, and diminished confidence in oneself has a very negative effect on college students. This negativity can get so severe making them feel as though dropping out is the only solution. But if there was a support group to provide them with pointers, advice, encouragement, academic help, social help, or just someone they can relate to, I truly believe the transition from high school to college would improve. In the classroom, it is proven that the self-fulfilling prophecy can occur among teachers and students. The students that teachers expect to do well actually improve within time. But what about the other students, the ones who struggle academically? Those are the ones who are likely to dropout. The teachers do not expect them to do well...