Date of Award

5-1-1986

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

School

School of Education

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Boggs

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine factors that would influence freshmen college students to remain in school by using an experimental design of rap sessions with low socio-economic, low achieving first-year college students in a control and experimental group.

The sample consisted of 39 students in the control group and 27 students in the experimental group randomly selected from 190 newly recruited students for the 1985-1986 academic year at a junior college in Selma, Alabama.

Information was gathered from the students and their parents, from the students' academic files in the registrar’s office, the financial aid office, academic special services office, and personal interviews of the students. The information is limited to that which was written on the required forms housed in the various offices mentioned above, and that which was obtained directly from the students.

Specifically this Study concerned itself with two questions: What are the characteristics of those students who drop out of college? And, what are the characteristics of those who do not drop out?

The variables considered in this study consisted of father and mother income level, father and mother educational-level, the student's academic ability, and the student's career aspiration.

The findings revealed that students of low socio-economic, low educational background are looking for any excuse to drop out of school.

Those who drop out do so because of many small home problems ranging from the need to aid in the support of the family; pressure from family members to be at home instead of seeking a college education; parents' lack of encouragement, coupled with the parent(s)' feeling that if the child is educated they lose the child's respect; the need for said student to be at home to take care of her child, and the lack of a pursued or desired career. All of the above are enhanced due to no caring advisor in whom to confide.

Those who stay in school are encouraged by parents to make something out of themselves; they come with some idea of what they are striving towards in life for a career. In addition to the above the positive advisor, giving time to the task of advising, becoming a mentor of the students being advised, going the extra mile to seek out any given student for advising and the immediacy of causing the above to happen, strengthens the student's desire to stay in school.

When the parent(s) educational background and income were observed, it was revealed that both areas contributed to the student's staying in school, but only in conjunction with the lack of parents being able to expose the students to the tools of learning at an early age, and from the pressure of the parent(s) who needed the student's help in bringing in some form of income to assist the family in their needs.

Thus, the students come with many needs beyond academics. The need to be encouraged, built up to believe in themselves, that life can be better, that they should stick to obtaining an education, that there are ways of working out their problems, that someone is concerned and cares about them.

The format of the rap session made a significant difference in those of the experimental group who did not drop out versus those of the control group who received no treatment and thus dropped out in a significantly greater number.

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