Higher education is a partnership between school and student — especially now | Anwar Curtis

May 27, 2020 6:30 am

Lincoln University (Philadelphia Tribune photo)

I remember like it was yesterday, starting my first year of college at Lincoln University. It would be a lie for me to dismiss having mixed emotions about this new lifestyle I was about to embark upon – you know embracing the responsibility of making it to class consistently despite the time of day or night classes were being held.

Anwar Curtis (Capital-Star file photo)

Then there was the familiar adjustment of  making an impact with my professors, counselors, and student body, which was something I experienced during my freshman year of high school.

I even remember forcing myself to tap into my entrepreneurship skill set because let’s face it jobs on campus were limited, working off-campus wasn’t really an option either, and calling home for money every week was unfair for my parents.

Yes, for students such as myself who had little to worry about as a freshman, adjusting to college life isn’t that tedious. But that isn’t the same experience for everyone

There are many students nationwide who struggle to adjust to the many different obstacles that come with pursuing a college degree, especially during their freshman year.

One could consider the different infrastructure and resources that are set up for students who attend a traditional college or university compared to a community college as a freshman being demanding and frustrating. Pursing an undergrad degree comes with a huge responsibility and two of those responsibilities are avoiding debt and meeting deadlines.

One major key that should help any college student meet these goals is the importance of building relationships, especially when your future is on the line.

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I remember conversing with a relative of mine about her experience while pursuing her degree. She said that if it weren’t for her connecting with a mentor throughout the way, she would have struggled to meet certain financial deadlines, which are the most important pieces when achieving a degree of any level.

For those of you who may not know education is a huge business and if you are a student who is limited to resources such as good advisors, professor’s, and mentors, well the fact of the manner is you could get overlooked and left out, even if you have a decent GPA.

Now this is not an indictment against colleges and universities because many resources are out there for students to achieve financial assistance.

And now thanks to social media many college and universities do require students to be active on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook but what happens when a student becomes overwhelmed with an excessive amount of emails and misses a message that then snowballs into missing out on scholarship money?

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And whose responsibility is it for that student to still get a chance to meet the requirements? Well for the many college and universities I would say it’s a partnership between the student and administration.

There was a case where a student missed out on receiving a scholarship at HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) due to a file upload discrepancy.

According to the school’s administrative team emails were sent to the student to resubmit the required documents due to him meeting the original deadline however, the student was unaware.

As the semester progressed scholarship monies hit his account and the student went to apply for his next go-round of classes. While applying for those classes the student was notified that his account was on hold due to a debt because the scholarship money was revoked. The student would then look into the problem but unfortunately it was too late.

There are many cases like this one where a student misses out on a great opportunity due to he or she thinking everything is good just to later find out that there was an issue.

Yes, for every one college or university there are thousands of students in attendance. And, yes, for every 100 or so students who coast through their freshman year without a worry, there are thousands of students who miss out due to them not knowing the importance of constantly checking emails, seeking mentors, and thoroughly following up with their advisors and their college professors.

Yes, pursuing a higher education comes with huge responsibility, integrity, and accountability but that shouldn’t be the standard for students only.

Educational institutions have to remain ahead of the game when providing an education of any level. And neither party can negate exhausting all options because a student’s success is a direct reflection of the education system.

Opinion contributor Anwar Curtis tells the stories of the people of Pennsylvania’s capital city. His work appears monthly. Readers may email him at [email protected]

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