Why do undergraduate students underachieve in their pursuit for excellence?Why do undergraduate students underachieve in their pursuit for excellence?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are a variety of reasons undergraduates underachieve in college, but I think there are three main ones. The first is economic. Many need to work or struggle to pay, and cannot focus. The second is preparation. Many just don't have the skills they need to succeed. The third is distraction, such as going to parties and taking part in social activities.
litlady33's profile pic

litlady33 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I agree with the above post. There is definitely a maturity issue and getting the most out of education just isn't on the list of top priorities for someone just getting out of high school and going into college. Distractions are also a large factor; which is not always a bad thing. In order to be more well-rounded, it might benefit a college student more to become involved in organizations or other exta-curricular activities, rather than spend all of his/her time studying.

I would add that another issue is that, because undergraduates cannot really look ahead, they do not realize how important it is to get everything they possibly can out of their education. Many times, people do not realize how useful that education is until they get out into the workforce and have to apply that knowledge. Hindsight is 20/20. I would guess that, given the chance, many people would do things differently and focus more on getting the most out of their education. This is why college is such a great learning experience. You don't have someone telling you what to do and how to do it, so many peoiple make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There are many answers to this question. We need to keep in mind that all people are different and that some undergraduates actually do really well and succeed. With that said, here are a couple of reasons why undergraduates may underachieve.

First, there is a maturity factor. Many undergraduate students are not mature. They still have a very young mindset, where they are not thinking about their futures. They live for the moment instead.

Second, there are so many things to do when you are in college. So, studies are neglected at times. In other words, there are many things to distract you.

Third, for many college students, this is the first time away from home, and so there is new freedom. With this freedom, sometimes irresponsible decisions are made.

adi4672's profile pic

adi4672 | College Teacher | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

I am going to address this issue in a simple way with the hope that it helps in understanding what college education means or should mean. College education involves developing skills starting with the most basic ones and moving onwards to more complex ones. Each curriculum is designed following this philosophy. Each student should make himself/herself aware of it. Each student then should be able to organize the material presented in class in such a manner that at the time of the exam s/he can pull the information stored in the brain and formulate the answer as it is required to be answered in order to indicate that s/he understood the materials presented in class. If one stops at understanding only the basic concepts then that person will be given a lesser grade than another person who strived to understand more complex academic material.

Overall, I would recommend a student to go through the material before the exam and organize the information from basic knowledge to more complex elements. It does help if there is a clear input from the professor as to how the grading will be. The professor can provide a list of questions that cover the whole academic material for that particular class. Those questions will be ranged between the simple questions to the hardest ones. It is up to each student to work with himself/herself as to what he or she wants to achieve on personal level. As to the question itself, I think it is only a matter of statistics.

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