According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 30 percent of students leave college after their first year, and nearly 50 percent of students never graduate. The leading cause is financial issues, but grades are another factor.
Records at Florida A&M University reveal similar issues.
A FAMU archival review showed that the retention rates for students who enrolled at FAMU during the 1997-2001 semesters declined each year from the fall semester to the spring semester. A lack of financial assistance and poor grades were shown to be the main reasons for the decline.
For some students, the plight to earn good grades was a negative part of the fall semester.
“I expected to earn good grades, but I didn’t do so well,” said Trey Williams, 18, a pharmacy student from Jacksonville.
Williams said he was upset at his lack of scholastic success. “I was mad at myself when I found out what grades I earned.”
Other students were similarly disappointed with substandard grades earned during the fall semester.
Demecia Purdue, a freshman education student from Belle Glade, also did not do as well as she hoped.
“I was not at all happy with the grades that I received,” said Purdue, 19. “Although I was late many times to some of my classes, I still turned in all of my work on time, so I do not believe that I deserved the grades that I received.”
Although there were some students who were not satisfied with their grades, other students received were academically satisfied with fall semester.
“I do believe that I deserved the grades that I earned,” said Daneshia Toomer, an 18-year-old freshman biology student from Fort Lauderdale. “I stayed focused, and I was dedicated to my studies the entire semester.”
Amanda Farquharson, 19, said she worked hard for grades as well.
“I did earn good grades during the fall semester by studying frequently with tutors and attending the math lab as much as I could,” said Farquharson, a freshman biology student from Miramar.
Even with involvement in extracurricular activities, some students manage to earn good grades and master their schoolwork.
Landon Ray, an 18-year-old freshman from Flint, Mich., said his first semester at FAMU was not academically challenging.
“Coming into college as a freshman, I thought my first semester was going to be difficult,” said Ray, a political science student. “Being one of the freshman senators, I had to balance my schoolwork and in SGA, but it was not that difficult either.”
Ray said he attended Senate meetings and studied between classes and at night.
“I believe that I did deserve the grades that I earned in my classes because I worked hard for them,” Ray said.
FAMU psychology professor Seward Hamilton has a solution for students to succeed. “Students just have to listen, take notes, read and study to do well in my class,” Hamilton said.
Williams said he has realized his key to success for this semester.
“For the spring semester, I’m going to study harder and go to bed at a decent time before tests,” Williams said.