The U.S. Collegiate Education System Is Setting Minorities Up To Fail

The U.S. Collegiate Education System Is Setting Minorities Up To Fail

I've been an undergraduate student since 1999. This is the struggle to graduate from college as a Black student.

Lately, I've been thinking that society is set up to make the "others" fail. More specifically, the post-secondary education system.

The "others" I'm referring to are people who are not Caucasian.

I feel this way because it doesn't make sense that I haven't received my bachelor's degree — yet I've been an undergraduate student since September 1999.

I was cut off from receiving financial aid before I started my final semester of undergraduate study. Really? They waited until I was going to graduate to drop that bomb on me?? "Sorry, we don't want to help you anymore; thanks for all your financial aid you've been wasting with us all these years!"

Does anyone who is not caucasian graduate on time?

There are only 17.5% Black students at my university. 17.4% graduate from my college within six years. Yet, over 50% of Caucasians, non-resident aliens, and unknown racial identity students graduate within six years. Another surprising statistic is that only 20% of all students graduate from my college in four years. The percentage of overall graduation gets higher for five years and six years, but never over 50% of all students graduate.

So everybody is struggling to graduate, yet when they do, it's the Caucasians, non-resident aliens, and unidentified races that graduate the most. Even a little over 25% of Hispanic and Asian students graduate within six years. This compares to the only 17.4% of Blacks that graduate.

All these numbers are low, but I find the percentages for Black students to be worst of all. Do I just go to a crappy university, or are the problems with the graduation systems deeper than just one campus?

I find it hard to believe that after hour upon hour, day after day, and month after month of applying for alternate sources of financial aid that NOTHING has panned out. The very few undergraduate retaining services available haven't panned out either.

What is the purpose of continuously keeping students past the time they're supposed to be an undergraduate student? Is it really just to drain their financial aid to the max and then leave them high and dry without a credential or cent to their name? A schools' graduation rates affect their future funding and enrollment rates of future students. So the more students they graduate, the more funds they get, and more students enroll because they see that others are graduating on time.

I don't see a downside to students graduating college when they're supposed to.

I had plans. I was going to graduate, get a better and higher paying position, hopefully, pass the GRE, then start Graduate school. There's no reason to be 37 years old and still barely living from paycheck to paycheck. My life can't start 'till I get a bachelor's degree. Yet, the system is holding me back.

Is it due to my race?

I feel like I need a life coach or something. Someone to show me where and how to get ahead in life. Where can I go to improve my life? When can I arrive at my final destination instead of always trying to get there?

I'm at a crossroad.

Cover Image Credit: Bruce Mars

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Professors change students' outlook on learning

Which professor you get DOES matter.

The professor makes the class.

This statement could not be more true, in my opinion. Students can take courses on the most riveting topics, but not learn or understand due to a bad professor. Luckily, most of the professors I have encountered have been engaging and have opened my mind to learning new things.

I am currently studying journalism, which is a subject I already love. However, my professor Dr. B is so incredibly passionate about the field. Every class she shares stories and anecdotes about her time as a journalist for a major Canadian newspaper, and her enthusiasm is contagious. As a student journalist, it is exciting to hear stories from someone who has had vast experience in the field. Her excitement inspires me to be just as passionate about my future career.

I am also studying political science, and I am enrolled in the African Politics course. Prior to the class, I had no knowledge of African Politics. I took the course because I wanted to learn a new subject, and I knew that Dr. Ziemke would have endless experiences to share. Because I had previously taken her for International Relations, I knew that she had worked in Africa as a volunteer on the Peace Corps, and she had a deep connection to Africa. Her passion, humor, and stories are what make a three-hour long class bearable.

Passionate professors create passionate students who are prepared and excited to improve their fields of study. These professors shape and mold students, give students encouragement and support, challenge students, and help students reach their potential. Professors have so much power to influence the future through their students.

It is important to understand how much a professor can truly affect how invested students are in a topic. When students have subpar professors, they tune out and do what they need to do in order to pass. When presented with a passionate, engaging professor, students take a deeper interest in the material. They put forth more effort because they understand the value of the topic being studied and want to tackle any issues in that field.

I truly believe that professors have the power to make or break a class.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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I Changed My Major, And So Can You

​One of the hardest parts of college is choosing what you want to get out of college.

One of the hardest parts of college is choosing what you want to get out of college. There’s a lot to think about when you choose where you want to go. Do you want a big or small school, in or out of state, weather, the full college experience, etc.

A decision that is left to be made once you’ve already committed to a school is what you’re going to do after graduation. Your major often reflects this decision. Some know exactly what they want to do and others take a little more time to figure it out.

(AKA me)

I did running start in high school and graduated with my associate’s. Then I came to WSU to pursue a degree in public relations. I was sure working in PR for a non-profit was what I wanted to do but turns out, it’s not.

I am now pursuing a double major in Speech and Hearing Sciences and I plan to be a speech therapist after school. My plans changed quite a bit in the two years I was at WSU.

For anyone else who’s still thinking about what you want your major to be or maybe changing your major, here’s some advice from my experience with trying to figure out my life all at once.

1. Cut yourself some slack

It’s okay to change your mind or not know what you want to do yet. Don’t let people fool you, most of us don’t have it all figured out.

2. Talk to people in the careers you’re interested in

Going out and talking to people in the field you’re interested in is more helpful than talking to an advisor or your professor. When I was thinking about speech therapy, the advisors at WSU didn't know much about it and I learned more from talking to real speech therapists.

3. Take the baby steps

It’s overwhelming if you need to change your major or you start thinking too far into the future. It’s important to slow down and think about what needs to be done now and worrying about the rest when it’s time. When I decided to double major I started thinking about how I would need to apply for more loans, get an apartment, take the GRE but the only thing I needed to do at the time was email my advisor. I could figure out the rest later.

4. What’s important to you?

I’ve always wanted to work with kids and have a job that helps people. It’s also important for me to have a job that is flexible for when I have a family. After talking to family friends and looking into speech therapy, it sounded like the perfect career to me. I could work in the school district and have the same breaks as my future kids.

5. Will you be able to find a job?

Most people go to college to get a job. This is something to consider when choosing a major because some career fields are more competitive than others. If I'm going to pay for graduate school, I want to be able to find a job right away. Speech pathology is a growing field and I shouldn't have a problem finding a job.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap

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