Connect to succeed

“Drive-through education” — go to class, then go home — won’t lead to a degree, writes Isa Adney in Community College Success. Connecting to classmates and professors, building a network of friends and mentors, is the key to success.

That’s not easy for a first-generation student, as I write in U.S. News.

“I had a lot of fear” in the first semester, Adney says. “Professors are incredibly intimidating. They’re up there. They know all this stuff.”

When a professor wrote “see me” on her paper, she was terrified. It turned out he wanted to tell her about the honors program.

First-generation community college students may not understand their instructors’ expectations, concludes Rebecca Cox, a Seton Hall education professor, in The College Fear Factor: How Students and Professors Misunderstand One Another. Students in introductory classes told Cox they feared being exposed “as too stupid for college classes” if they spoke up in class or asked for help.

“Everyone’s scared” at first, Adney says. “It’s about the courage to take that first step.”

Once students connect with friends who’ll share information, they’re more likely to feel at home on campus and stay in school, researchers have found.

Students also need to think through why they’re in college, so they can set goals and develop an education plan, Adney advises. Like driving through, wandering doesn’t work well.

Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Post a Comment


I have been an educator for 20 plus years. I always remember my first year as a “community college student.” There was a great deal to learn and as an adult returning back to school I found it confusing. Often times there are expectations which I found difficult and need guidance. For example, writing a paper utilizing MLA style , getting assistance on writing a paper or knowing that meeting with an adviser will help you select courses that meet your graduation requirements. I was fortunate to meet fellow students who were seasoned and guided me. However, this is not always the case.

As a teacher I will never forget my start at the community college. I use my past experiences to teach and enhance my student’s future by explaining the importance of reading the syllabus and always having it available, taking the time to look at their graduation requirements and seeking out advisement. Most of my students are older adults from who like recent graduates from high school need guidance. I have found that the adult students themselves from there own learning communities and mentor others.

Your email is never published nor shared.