Bridging the gap

No matter their background, students need determination

The study by The Education Trust reviewing universities with high graduation gaps reflects a clear need to properly prepare high school students for higher education.

A student’s success at a major university is often dictated by his preparation prior to entering the institution.

I know a large number of minority students at Ferris come from major cities within the state such as Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids. However, many of these cities suffer employment and budgeting issues that negatively influence creating a proper educational environment.

For instance, in September 2010, it was reported that Flint’s homicide rate was over four times the national average. Detroit is statistically suffering one of the highest unemployment percentages in the nation and in 2007 reported having 33.8 percent of its residents below the poverty level.

Many of these statistics can be attributed to the educational setbacks minority students face. Unfamiliar and unprepared for the transition, the amount of dedication at the university level may become overwhelming. In addition, the constant increases in tuition find many minority families being unable to afford four years of college.

Growing up in Detroit, I attended many schools that lacked simple teaching supplies such as computers and textbooks. Being one of the first people in my family to attend college, I was unaware of the financial aid options I had that could make college more affordable.

These factors all made my transition from high school senior to college freshman difficult.

However, once I got to college, I knew that I would be the determining factor for my success. There are a countless number of minority students from Ferris who have not only graduated, but have achieved a lot along the way.

Over the years, Ferris has done a great job of transitioning minority students into college through OMSS and various RSO’s.

Regardless of race or socioeconomic status, I believe the success of a college student at this university is ultimately dependent on their determination to succeed. n