University is much tougher than high school, there is no doubt about that.
There is additional pressure in having to compete with students from around the world, less support in the larger setting than pupils find in high school, more demanding classes and expectations, and for many, the pressure of trying to juggle a part-time job to pay for it all.
Lots of students will tell you that trying to adapt to it all makes the first year of post-secondary the most difficult of their academic years.
According to Thompson Rivers University, around 30 per cent of students drop out in the first year; that is, non-Aboriginal students. Aboriginal students apparently face additional challenges since statistics show a 45 per cent dropout rate in their first year at TRU.
Yet at the high school level, more Aboriginal students are graduating in this school district than ever before, with 64 per cent moving on to university-level studies compared to 75 per cent of non-Aboriginals.
So if more Aboriginal students are successfully completing high school, one would think there should be even a larger pool making their way to TRU and finding success in their studies.
The district and TRU agree it’s a head-scratcher so have hatched a plan to work together and delve into why the problem exists, as well as what can be done about it.
TRU will supply the district with a list of students who have dropped out in their first year and a programmer with the district will mine the data to find out details about these students’ academic history — what courses they took, how they performed in those courses, even attendance figures.
Common elements among those who dropped out will be examined and this report will be shared with TRU to try to figure out ways to work on the issues.
“We can see if we need to change some of the things we’re doing to improve the chances of Aboriginal students,” said school district Supt. Terry Sullivan.
Hopes are that the information can be amassed quickly and what is gleaned can be used to help students by as early as this fall.
In an era where complaints run rampant that problems exist because various organizations do not communicate with each other for the betterment of the groups they serve, it is refreshing to see TRU and the school district taking such progressive action.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.