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“Essentially, students were afraid that the professor would irrevocably confirm their academic inadequacy.”This nervousness was particularly concentrated among those students taking mathematics and composition courses, often the “portal to more exclusive classes.” Citing an “underlying fear” that they would be “exposed” in front of their peers and professors “as too stupid for college classes,” many of the students observed by Cox “exhibited very low tolerance for feeling confused or making mistakes” and often did not seek extra assistance to understand new skills or information.
Campus police should be contacted regarding any threatening and/or intimidating behavior.
“Being unprepared to meet certain expectations, however, is not the same as being unable to meet them.
When students fail to follow, or even violate, rules that are taken for granted, instructors may easily interpret the source of the problem.
In our interviews with 175 college students throughout the United States for Survival Secrets of College Students (Barron’s, 2007) students talked—sometimes painfully—about what they wished they’d known ahead of time and what they would have done differently.
In addition to fears about being smart enough, liking roommates, making friends, and missing home, students also worried about handling the party scene, having sex, covering costs, and being safe.
Why Students Are Afraid Cox believes a mismatch exists between many students’ expectations and those of their professors, and that some of the current pedagogical norms used in the classroom may be furthering this learning gap.“Students can easily arrive at college without understanding what is expected of them and how to meet the expectations,” Cox writes.
Despite best intentions, today’s first-generation college students and their professors “misunderstand and ultimately fail one another” in the classroom, according to a new scholarly work on community college pedagogy.
The College Fear Factor, published last month by Harvard University Press, is based upon five years of observations of community college courses and interviews with students and professors by Rebecca Cox, professor of education at Seton Hall University.
Unfortunately, many wouldbe adult students who desire to position themselves for a career change or return to college do not do so because of fear.
The following concerns and fears are shared by many working professionals reluctant to return to school: Working professionals and adults are concerned about the cost of returning to college, the time commitment involved, and the challenges of attending classes with younger students.