Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Academically Adrift: Chapter 4, Pt. 2

Haley Scholars Spring 2013 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?


Katrina S said...

The information in the second half of chapter four made sense to me. Work and extracurricular activities are big distractions in college. Work sometimes cannot be avoided and a person learns how to manage their time better and stay focused and motivated. I think a lot of students come into college still with the high school mentality and it takes a while for everyone to mature and think beyond today or the short term and I think that should also be a factor to consider. The information in the second part of Chapter four pretty much confirmed my previous ideas on the matter.

Nicholas M. said...

How you spend your time in college directly affects academic achievement. As Arum and Roska said, what students do while they are in college greatly influences their academic, intellectual, and social development. Academic achievement comes in many forms. For most students, its a exceptional transcript. For others, academic achievement includes what happens outside of the classroom. Whether you spend more time studying or more time being involved on campus, in both situations, you are setting yourself up for academic achievement.

Maame Antwi said...

The issues discussed in the second part of chapter 4 confirmed what I previously thought about the relationship between academic achievement and time spent in college. I have noticed that African American's at my institution spend way more time focusing on non-academic organizations such as greek life than whites and definitely represent their greek organization more. I barely ever see white greeks making calls, wearing their letters, jackets, colors everyday, or only hanging out with their frat brothers as I see in the African-American community. From my knowledge, the divine nine was made for African American students that were prestigious students that came to college to help each other out to obtain only one thing, a degree and not letters. Now I feel a lot of African American's, especial males, come to college to have fun, get letters, and get a access to girls (which is a whole other topic on its own and why girls flock to letters) hopefully graduating within six years. Since many people are here at SIUe due to grants and financial aid that others do not have the opportunity to receive, I wish more of my brothers and sisters would take advantage of the blessing and use it more wisely instead of trying to "be cool" and get girls. We should be having study groups instead of "Thirsty Thursday's", we should be joining more academic organizations instead of only being interesting in the the frat that has the most parties or fun.

Kamrey McNutt said...

The issues concerning the relationship between academic achievement and how time is spent in college greatly confirmed my previous thinking on the subject. I knew before I ever went to college that if I wanted to get in and get out with a degree in the minimum amount of time it would take a lot of focus and a lot less of a social life and/or college festivities. I’ve not only witnessed by observing others how time spent in college affects academic success, but I’ve also experienced it. When I got into college I told myself I was not going to pledge, I was not going to do a lot of partying, I was not going to be drinking, and I would fill out for scholarships each year. I knew already that these things would either lengthen the time it took for me to attain a degree, or potentially lead to me never getting a degree. Academic achievement in college is definitely a result of how time is spent in college. People that are focused, determined, and dedicated to their academic advancement do just fine. Those that put a lot more time into college festivities and little time into the college education itself, African Americans in particular, are the cause of the gap discussed in the reading.

B.Jeffery said...

...And I agree as well. I do not have much to say about this chapter. However the one thing I do wish to add is that although the fraternities and sororities can seem to be distractions or like they are organized parties at times, but they have and still for the most part were founded to serve greater purposes.
As mentioned in some of the other posts these organizations were created to be stepping stones and to promote unity and other values. However, I think that given the changing times and changing ways of our cultures, some values have been neglected. I will not say forgotten completely because I do know of peers who have taken advantage of what opportunities they were introduced to through their affiliations with these organizations. Values they learned throughout their college years are still important to them today. I do not disagree that the extracurricular activities do not contribute to the deficit in the graduate numbers in the black population, but I do not think too much of the blame should be attributed to this reason alone. Especially, since the numbers that attend and do not complete their degree is much lower than those that have attended at all.
So I this to say what I have always said, we all have personal choices to make. Our upbringings and many other factors may contribute to how we perform in life. However, experiences shape us and it is unfortunate that not everyone takes full advantage, including Greek Life for the gateway that it can be. Rather black or white the choice is still ours to take responsibility for our own education.