Monday, March 8, 2010
A Fighting Chance - Part One
A Fighting Chance – Part One
At thirty-four, Peggy never completed her education, and knows returning to college is the right career move. She never excelled in high school, but her newfound determination makes her confident enough to enter the local college. She is certain her efforts will pay off in career development and personal satisfaction. She applies herself to her first core curriculum course, studies hard, and achieves a mediocre grade. Peggy assumes she does not have what it takes, and considers dropping out of college.
In reality, Peggy is an excellent student, with the skills and focus needed to exceed her academic expectations. However, she is missing a few keys to college success. Peggy does not realize most college professors are required to have graduate degrees, and many hold PhDs. Instructors spend years, usually five to ten, writing papers in their fields of study, and are held to the strictest writing standards. As graduate students grind through curricula, writing skills become second nature. As a result, by the time Peggy hits the classroom, her professor, at least subconsciously, expects minimum writing skills. Peggy does not realize her knowledge of the subject matter gleaned from her first course is outstanding. Her less-than-stellar performance had nothing to do with her effort, but was linked directly to her inadequate attempt to convey her knowledge to her instructor.
Many adults return to school unaware of their weak writing skills. Still others fear returning to college because they know their ability to communicate in written form is wanting. Perhaps in grammar school they paid little attention in class. Family problems might have impeded their writing progress. Maybe their teacher failed to get the message across. The reasons are insignificant. However, good writing skills are not a by-product of maturity. While adults cannot beam back to the sixth grade for grammar lessons, they can understand a few concepts that will transform their writing skills to an acceptable level that screams serious student to the college professor. For a few weeks, I will introduce a few of those concepts. Stay tuned.