One in four. That is the number of Americans who hold a four year college degree from an accredited university. Even with the seeming plurality of educational institutions in the United States, about twenty eight percent of Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the rate is lower for African Americans, with eighteen percent of African Americans adults over 25 having a bachelor’s degree or higher.
If those examples are not personal enough, then consider the fact that only four in ten NCSU freshmen graduate in four years, with about seven in ten having attained a degree after six years. All those facts lend statistical credence to sentiment that many college students believe: graduating from college is difficult.
So why is graduating from college so difficult? While certainly the academic standards are higher at a collegiate university, they are not dramatically more difficult than they are in your average public high school. The people admitted to any college are certainly capable of doing the work, college admissions offices spend substantial amounts of time trying to figure out who can and cannot cut it in college and rejecting those who they think will fail. And even at a large institution such as N.C. State there are programs in place to help students get acclimated and tutoring support to help students not fall behind in their classes.
Even with all these things to make sure students are capable of succeeding and assisted in their academic endeavors, almost all college students will testify that college is difficult. There as many possible reasons for this as there are college students, but one of the most common has to be that the age of college students means the transitional nature of their lives makes focusing on academics more difficult.
When discussing the non academic exploits of college students, people often focus on the more salacious aspects of college age life such as binge drinking or sexual promiscuity. But even if your social involves only things that are benign or even positive in nature, a young adult’s social life can be a distraction from academic excellence. Personal relationships whether romantic or otherwise seem important in college and are important; they are in fact relationships that will often last a lifetime. Strengthening and enjoying relationships like these often seem a lot more important than studying for a calculus test that you probably think you will never remember, and seems to be useless to you at the moment. “I don’t think graduating is all that difficult, I think a lot of times people just are not as focused as they should be,” commented junior in business management Shanea Mcrae. That sentiment is probably largely true, college would be a lot easier if people were more focused on why they came in the first place and more motivated. Sure almost everyone rationalizes their presence at college by saying they want to get a better job, but lots of people come here with no idea what that job might actually be. It is safe to say that a large amount of students come to college to find out what they want to do with their lives rather than bring them closer to some goal that they already have.
The lack of any goal or reason for being here means students often lack the drive to excel or even perform at a satisfactory level in college. Without any sense of purpose, it’s hard to build up the drive to constantly perform the difficult task of learning information that is all too often meaningless to the person who is learning it.
College itself is not that difficult. It is the combination of having to complete college at such a tumultuous and transient time in students’ lives that makes it most difficult. If students can manage their lives and remember why they are in college, college is far from impossible.