Saturday, August 20, 2016

Helping New Students Cope with College

I have several times noted (and here) that poor or minority students who drop out of college complain about feelings and experiences that are widely shared by their middle class white peers. The first official university response I have seen that acknowledges and addresses this issue is described by David Kirp in the Times:
Regardless of their credentials, many freshmen doubt that they have the necessary brainpower or social adeptness to succeed in college. This fear of failing hits poor, minority and first-generation college students especially hard. If they flunk an exam, or a professor doesn’t call on them, their fears about whether they belong may well be confirmed. The cycle of doubt becomes self-reinforcing, and students are more likely to drop out.

The good news is that this dismal script can be rewritten. Several recent research projects show that, with the right nudge, students can acquire ways of thinking that helps them thrive.

In a large-scale experiment at an unnamed school I’ll call Flagship State, incoming freshmen read upperclassmen’s accounts of how they navigated the shoals of university life. The accounts explained that, while the upperclassmen initially felt snubbed by their classmates and intimidated by their professors, their lives started turning around when they reached out to their instructors and began to make friends.

“Part of me thought I had been accepted due to a stroke of luck, and that I would not measure up to the other students,” wrote one upperclassman. “Early on, I bombed a test. It was the worst grade I’d ever received, and I felt terrible and isolated. But then I found out that no one did well on that test. The professor was trying to set a high standard.”
Kirp says this has a measurable impact on whether students finish a full freshman course load, which is a good indicator of whether they will graduate. It seems to me that what students who feel out of place really need is to talk to other students, but maybe exercises like this will help to get those conversations started.

6 comments:

pithom said...

I suspect there are too many poor and minority students in college. If you adjust for age and the presence of a college education, there is still a substantial interracial wealth gap. I'm not sure about inter-parental-income wealth gap, but it is well known that, on average, White social mobility is larger than Black. Also, the very existence of affirmative action suggests there are too many minority students in college, and not enough rural White ones.

pootrsox said...

Nice dog whistle there....

Why do you make the assumption that these "poor and minority students" are less intellectually capable?

pithom said...

I am not a man of dog whistles. The only dog whistles are in your head. I'm pretty explicit about matters of race.

"Why do you make the assumption that these "poor and minority students" are less intellectually capable?"

-Because they obviously are (except for maybe poor White ones, if only due to legacy preferences, which mostly go to children of rich Whites):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_in_the_United_States

If standards were equal for members of all races, minority college enrollment (including rich minority college enrollment) would collapse.

G. Verloren said...

I'll never understand the sort of people who think that success is only found through a person's merit, rather than through good luck or special privilege.

Affirmative action exists because, overwhelmingly, minorities do not have the same benefits and privileges as others. Racists seem to see minorities struggling due to societal bias against them and think "Well, as we all know society is 100% fair, so the only possible explanation must be that these minorities are intrinsically inferior, and that's why they see less success than others! Certainly it isn't because we've systematically stacked the deck against them for centuries!"

And then on the flipside, when a minority appears to be succeeding more than others, the logic is reversed. Isn't it funny how when racists see successful Jewish bankers, actors, and other visibly wealthy individuals, they don't think "Boy, they must be intrinsically superior to me! I wish my race wasn't so inferior!", but rather they think "Those dirty Jews have rigged the system and stacked the odds against other races! It's a racial conspiracy!"

I'm keen to see how our resident Herrenvolkist will try to explain that little quirk.

pithom said...

"I'll never understand the sort of people who think that success is only found through a person's merit, rather than through good luck or special privilege."

-I believe Her position in this primary was definitely due to the "good luck" that no Black person ran to challenge Her. If even one Black representative had the guts to do that, Her chances at the presidency would be nonexistent.

"Affirmative action exists because, overwhelmingly, minorities do not have the same benefits and privileges as others."

-No; it's because they do not have the same abilities (on average) as others. When the (for the most part, natural) abilities are the same, the outcomes tend to be the same. Just look at the average outcomes of the Vietnamese in the U.S.

"Racists seem to see minorities struggling due to societal bias against them"

-Fifty thriving Black-majority states can't be wrong! Oh, wait, Blacks tend to thrive even less when ruled by Blacks than by Whites. That's strange -if you believe there's some mythical "societal bias" keeping the Black person down. Which, BTW, there isn't.

If anything, Blacks are given vastly too much respect for and attention to by pretty much all American institutions. Just look at Donald Tokowitz -even a rich Jew cannot escape ruin if he displays even a hint of anti-Black animus. Or just look at the Black overrepresentation at both partisan national conventions.

"Well, as we all know society is 100% fair"

-It might not be 100% fair for any one person. But, in things like racial averages, fairness triumphs over all.

"Certainly it isn't because we've systematically stacked the deck against them for centuries!"

-Who's this "we"? I wasn't even born here! And if you're arguing the USSR stacked the deck against Blacks, well, that's still wrong, but it would be a different argument than your nonsensical one here.

"Boy, they must be intrinsically superior to me! I wish my race wasn't so inferior!"

-That is, actually, my gut instinct at seeing some Jewish degeneracy triumphing. There is certainly some element of Jewish conspiracy, but where do the abilities to conspire come from? Genes. And, in any case, Jewish success manifests itself in areas where there is little room for conspiracy to thrive. Jews are better known for being an argumentative race than a conspiring one.

Jews might have their racial conspiracies, but if the average gentile White IQ was 120, such conspiracies would be rendered moot. Only Naziesque or Mongolesque repression (which, BTW, does not exist in any form in the United States) can keep a race of a high average IQ down. Even Japanese internment did no long-term damage to the average prospects of Japanese-Americans.

G. Verloren said...

Wait, pithom isn't just a crazy racist, but is a crazy Russian racist? That makes a depressing amount of sense.

You should listen less to people like Putin and Kirill, and more to people like Tsoi.