Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups
By Chandra Alford
In the second of chapter 4, Arum and Roksa present data about the complexities faced by African American students when it comes to financing a higher education and focusing on aspects of their learning. Students’ characteristics and institutional resources greatly influenced the success rates for minority students to attain their degrees.
The achievement gap between African American and white students has many contributing factors, but according to Arum and Roksa, there are a few factors that influence the width of this gap: “The primary factors driving the increase in the gap between African-American and white students are hours spent in fraternities, percent of college cost covered by grants and scholarships, and college major" (112). The experiences students bring to college contribute, somewhat, to their degree attainment, but as Arum and Roksa highlighted in this chapter, what students do while they are in college greatly influences their academic, intellectual, and social development.
To what extent did the issues concerning the relationship between academic achievement and how time is spent in college confirm or unsettle your previous thinking on the subject?
I too believe that how a students time is spent in college is related to the outcome of academic success, and contributes to the gap in success between white and African American students. However, I believe that the main two components of this gap can be narrowed down more so to the availability of scholarships to help fund schooling and the major each individual student chooses. With a more stable way to pay for school it is much easier for a student regardless of race to focus on the important task of succeeding which is at hand. With that being said we see a major short coming in the allocation of money for African American based scholarships causing a higher degree of lax focus on schooling. The choice of a major seems to also play a major role in the success of students in both racial categories. Speaking along the lines of success in major fields after graduation, I believe the divide is skewed toward the average white student merely for the fact that African Americans have a harder time getting into and staying in a major field that will be lucrative in the future. Knowing that the degree program that one might be in may not relate to a great deal of success in the future may possibly deter the young African American from taking to the mind set of excelling to the highest degree, and adopting more so the "C's get degrees" mentality.
I believe that there is an achievement gap between African American and white students but with more so in terms of scholarships and majors; however fraternities and sororities do play a role. African Americans may apply for scholarships and do not succeed at winning them compared to other races.I think that many white students receive scholarships based off academics, African Americans if they do receive a scholarship, it may be based on sports or being an athlete. It seems like white students have more opportunities and are aware of them versus the African American population. Also, there are some majors that will accept a small percentage of minorities yet a large percent of white students. For example take nursing, sometimes there are only 1 or 2 African Americans in an entire class full of white students. Economics also play a role because it seems as though majority of whites can afford college or may have the networks versus African Americans in which some come from low middle class or poverty. I believe that everyone should have equal opportunities for whatever it is they want to achieve.
I feel that there is a big achievement gap between African Americans and whites at certain institutions. After speaking to a colleague at an HBCU, I realize that the level of resources, scholarships, and information is limited to African Americans at a predominately white institution such as SIUE. It seems like at SIUE, African American students are not aware of the available resources and scholarships. Also, throughout college students are encouraged to participate in extra- curriculum activities therefore it is up to the student to be responsible enough to not overload their schedule with commitments and ignore their education. I feel that Dr. Nobby presented the best outline for college students to succeed with the 4-3-3-1 (4 years to graduate, maintain 3.0 gpa, spent 2 hours of prep for every credit hour, and engage in 1 activity). If the resources and scholarships were presented to all students with equal opportunities then there would be a smaller gap and more students despite of race would succeed.
I feel this does confirm what I've been thinking. Many students choose to spend there college time differently from others. I don't think it matters solely on the race of the person but how they were brought up or raised. This is also what i always think is an important factor. I feel that if you were brought up to study at certain times and spend your time wisely on tasks to accomplish goals then you will bring that same idea to college. I feel if you know how to spend your time wisely between studying and socializing then you will be able to achieve graduating on time. It definitely depends on how you spend time. I feel the foundation starts with how your raised will determine how you will completed college.
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