Essay Example: Exploration of the Causes for Why Students Fail College Courses

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Middlebury College
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Cases of students failing college courses have always been a topic of discussion in different college forums. Both scientific and non-scientific research has been conducted by different players about the issue leading to many reasons being listed as perhaps the main causes why students fail college courses. However, it is worth noting that college scores have little with the success of a person in the future a good example being given for this is Bill Gates who dropped out of college because he failed college courses but that doesn't count now because he is the richest man in the world (Holt 21). Despite the minimal connection between failing in college courses and career life, some have been reported to have been impacted negatively by failed college courses such that college failure has translated into them failing in life.

Causes of college failures are considered to be as a result of both the intrinsic abilities of a person as well as the environment under which a student is brought up at. Some of the reasons that have been put forward as what causes students to fail college courses include; lower IQ in the courses they are studying, physical challenges, their tastes, and preferences are not met by the course and demotivation. Causes that arise from the environment has been identified as; family lineage failure in certain courses, lack of a conducive environment for one to study, tutor's incompetence and incapacity, negative influence and peer pressure, disharmony with college students among others (O'Brien & Adams 15). The reason why the causes have been classified into two broad classes, intrinsic causes, and environmental causes, is because the majority of causes that have been identified to result in serious causes of failed courses and which perhaps needs the elaborate plan to address are personal/intrinsic causes.

Environmental causes are identified as easy to address. Thus a failure can be turned into success in three easy steps, identifying the cause, assess the situation with regards to the extent of the impact it creates, and then address the issue comprehensively. For instance, if the cause has been identified as lack of conducive environment for learning a conducing an environment will be set up thus having an immediate bearing on student's performance. To understand the causes and to explore them conclusively, it is worth looking at each cause individual to exploring the situation in each cause as well as to whether the situation is likely to exist in the future or not (Holt 27). Intrinsic causes of failing college courses are considered to the hardest to rectify because they are deeply entrenched in individual students. Thus it goes beyond issues of attitude and preferences.

One of the leading personal causes of failing a college course is low IQ in the area of study, in most cases, students tend to have different IQ levels depending on the different types of courses they do. For instance may have high IQ in science courses while they may have low IQ in arts, enrolling the said student in art courses will be most likely to cause them to fail in the art courses because their IQ with regards to the field is considered to be low (O'Brien & Adams 21). The physical challenge is perhaps another personal cause that often causes students to fail college courses. A student who is disadvantaged with regards to their sight will be likely to fail courses where testing is exclusively done based on the sight-ability.

Tests and preferences is another cause that has been identified as the cause of failed courses, students often have different tastes and preferences, when they are not given a chance to exercise their right to choose courses that they like, and in turn they settle on courses that their parents or guardians like, they are likely to fail because they will have low dedication to studying or pursuing them. Motivation is perhaps another issues that causes students to fail college courses, students who are highly motivated in their studies are likely to score high marks thus end up doing well in their courses, those who are not motivated are likely to fail because they lack the inner drive that makes them study on their own (Baird 43). Obviously, non-conducive environment impacts negatively on the performance of students. For instance; students in countries that have not invested in better studying facilities tend to have low scores as compared to those in regions where they have the best learning facilities.

Additionally, when the environment is not peaceful such that there is constant noise or a constant disruption of learning as it is the case in regions that experiencing conflicts, students in such regions are likely to fail their college courses. Tutor's incompetence is another cause of failed college courses when students are placed under the tutorship of incompetent staff; they are likely to perform dismally as compared to those who are placed under competent tutors (Bain 17). In most cases, students who fail certain campus courses results from lack of understanding because their lecturers did not make them understand the subject they were being taught or being trained as in the case of practical subjects. When such happens, a student will have no other outcome other than that of failing the course.

The situations that contribute to students failing college courses can be mitigated through both personal interventions as well as collective intervention. For instance, in the case of lack of conducive environment for learning, if an environment is not made conducive by the college itself since it is a matter that is beyond student's control, students in such environments will continue to fail but when the environmental challenges are addressed the problem will be fully mitigated. Some situations are therefore bound to continue inhibiting students thus making them fail in college courses (Wick 93). The same case applies to intrinsic issues; personal situations are bound to exist in the future if students are not assisted through programs such as counseling and support.

In summary, failing college courses is not a natural occurrence rather it is a situation which can either persist to the future or be addressed. Students are created with different capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses, their failed courses can, therefore, be corrected provided they right mechanisms for addressing their challenges are used failure to which the failure will continue to exist.


Work Cited

Bain, K. (2014). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Baird, K. (2012). Trapped in mediocrity: Why our schools aren't world-class and what we can do about it. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.


Holt, J. (2009). How children fail: Introd. by Allan Fromme. London: Pitman.

O'Brien, P. S., & Adams, P. (2010). Making college count. Cincinnati, Ohio: Patrick O'Brien Enterprises.

Wick, J. W. (2012). School-Based Evaluation: A Guide for Board Members, Superintendents, Principals, Department Heads, and Teachers. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

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