Op-Ed: Listen up, college students. You don’t ‘get’ a grade. You have to earn it.
College students are a little confused.
That’s one opinion, at least.
A second opinion is that this opinion doesn’t come from anyone with a higher education.
Both sides have some valid points.
What is not fully recognized is the reality about college students who are taking a college prep class. Many college students take college-prepping classes because, they believe, the class will help them with their coursework or with their academics.
The truth is, whether it be English 101 or Algebra II, the class is not designed to prepare a student for a test. College-preparatory courses are really designed to enhance your education by helping you learn to effectively communicate in an academic setting. When you hear other students talking about learning the material with confidence and how great it felt to “hit the books,” that’s what you are hearing.
That’s not to say that college-prep classes aren’t fun, but what students are saying is that they don’t have to do the work if their class is a “boot camp” that leaves them feeling like an empty shell they didn’t earn.
So the question becomes, Why?
Why would a student want to take a class if the goal is to complete their coursework and earn a degree?
The answer is that many students view their “education” as an end in themselves.
“I have to take a college-prep class because I have to get a degree” is a common explanation for why students take a class.
I recently read an article in the Washington Times written by a former student who wrote a book about her college experience. In that book, she explains:
“Students tend to have a belief that their life is a self-induced path to success, a belief that what they need to do to succeed is an act of will. Success is not an object. When students become successful, it is a result of having a set of skills and attributes that they’ve been born with, or of having someone teach them those skills and attributes. They come from a place of insecurity, and the fact that they have found security is only because some of