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Some students not cut out for college

Every year nearly a quarter of the incoming freshman class doesn’t make it back for their sophomore year. While such retention rates are startling to a university based upon achieving a certain economic status, these students illustrate many societal ills.

Each year, thousands of freshmen flock to this campus, having achieved, on average, above a 3.0 grade point average in high school. And each year, they find their worlds crashing around them as the struggles of independent college life, plus the increased work load, begin to wear down psyches that are not yet ready to handle such pressure.

Of course, the university has many ways to facilitate a freshman’s entrance to college, including intentional living/learning communities in the residence halls, tutoring for most of the LER classes, Psychological Services, resident assistants, resident hall directors, encouragement to join student groups and a health and wellness center to help burn off stress. But a university can only do so much to thwart the inevitable.

There are students at Kent State who just aren’t ready for college. Yet most of them come because it isn’t easy to tell their parents that they don’t want to go to college. They don’t want to go because they will never study, will keep horrible sleeping habits and might be arrested for underage consumption.

No, society says that if students have achieved academically in high school, then they must be college material. Even more frightening, society says that if they don’t get a college degree, students will never be successful and will end up shoveling gravel for the rest of their lives. It isn’t surprising that so many unqualified students find themselves hiding from society’s threats behind the walls of college.

Yet, there is still good news. There is an increase in community colleges, which will undoubtedly lead to more successful students in the future. These community colleges offer most of the same courses the average freshmen and sophomores take while trying to complete their LER requirements, but the bonus is that most of the colleges are local enough that students don’t have to leave their homes/friends/jobs/security to get the education. Thus, though the threats of society still linger, these “drop outs” still have a chance at academic and professional success.

Furthermore, this 25 percent drop-out rate should not discredit the university. Given that more people than ever are applying to colleges and that colleges are accepting more people than ever, it seems only reasonable that these cases of overwhelmed freshmen would increase. If the percentage were any lower, it would mean that academics was pandering to the students instead of maintaining its integrity and striving to educate all those who can be educated while allowing the rest to fall by the wayside. It sounds dark, but college is about success or failure; it is not a place to feel warm and fuzzy about oneself.

Ultimately, society is leveling nearly unjust pressure on its young populous in the form of collegiate training. However, this does not mean that college should change its standards. And luckily enough, there exists other alternatives to a four-year degree at a state school. For those unlucky 25 percent, it isn’t the end — it’s just a rebeginning.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.