The many contributing factors to the GSU educational experience

Jade Boykins

In the United States, 45 percent of college students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years according to Fox News.
While that may be true for most colleges, the students on Grambling State’s campus have a split outlook on their educational experience.
While most people get this perception of college as being an elite entity, some college students might not agree with that way of thinking.
“I don’t feel like I got all my money’s worth at Grambling. I didn’t learn nearly half of what I should have. The only classes I recall really learning in were my history classes,” Jessica Smalls, a transfer kinesiology major from New Orleans, said.
Often, some students can sit in a class and essentially learn little to nothing and must go home just to teach themselves.
After teaching themselves the material they need to know (and potentially missing key points, terms, etc.), a test is usually given on that specific material.
Which is known as “teaching-to-test.” Although teaching-to-test has become a popular teaching method on college campuses, does it really help the student advance their education?
“I don’t feel like I’ve learned what I should at Grambling, really the professors give us the material and we have to learn it ourselves just to fail the test that we take on the material,” Tyler Casnel, a sophomore mass communication major from Jackson, Miss., said.
During interviews, several students admitted that they have not applied themselves which contributed to one of the reasons why they aren’t learning. Students also admitted that their lack of attendance has led to an educational decline. On the other end, some students also said that the material was not engaging. Where we know that when students aren’t engaged, they participate less.  
Another contributing factor can be the fact that everyone has a different learning style which can contribute to their lack of learning. Both parties (the student and the instructor) have a responsibility in a student’s educational experience.
Here’s what a couple of alumni have to say oin the topic.
“My educational experiences at Grambling have been both educational and eye-opening to real life. It taught me to learn how to obtain information on my own as well as in the classroom,” Asha Bronson, a senior history major from Los Angeles, said.  
The type of learning style she had forced her to be a more independent student. She ultimately took control of her learning experience and taught herself outside of the classroom as well.
“My educational experience was very profound. Not only did I learn the ins and outs of my major which is leisure studies, I learned other important facts in non-major courses as well. I felt I was prepared for my field of study. There are a lot of resources (people) on campus and programs that were presented,” Ceirra Williams, a recent graduate that majored in leisure studies from Homer, La., said.
However, when you add other ingredients to the pot such as extracurricular activities, relationships, children, being a college athlete, working a job, hobbies/talents, etc. and unavoidable life situations such as deaths in the family, finances, an absence of day-to-day necessities (i.e. soap, food, tissue, etc.), the lack of a support system and just the overall stress of being a college student can become overwhelming.
“The only thing for me that was at fault during my experiences, I needed more structure in the advisory department and pointing me in the right direction when things occurred, I didn’t have much guidance from my family and that played a role” Williams said.
There are so many contributing factors that can lead to a good or a bad college educational experience. Ultimately, it is both the student’s responsibility, and the professor’s responsibility to ensure that the student’s educational experience is what it is.