New Student Survey Findings

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New Student Survey Findings

Student’s Background

From the survey, I found out that students from University of the District of Columbia come from different backgrounds. Based on the responses, I can say that there are those who are from a rich background as well as those from humble backgrounds. Another thing I learned from the survey as far as students background is concerned is that some come from religious backgrounds and others come from non-religious backgrounds. Generally, as far as the background of the students is concerned, I can conclude by saying that the University of the District of Columbia comes from diverse backgrounds. I managed to survey 20, and I realized that 7 are international students and 13 are native students. Out of the 20 students, six come from humble settings, and 13 comes from rich settings. Generally, like any other university that accommodates international students, the student population from the University of the District of Columbia presents a broad cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity. This diversity is born of the geographical mobility of students and creates a heterogeneity of needs and learning habits.


Student’s Goals and Aspirations

True to their diverse backgrounds, the student’s goals and aspirations are also diverse. Some student’s goals are mainly influenced by the conditions of their backgrounds. However, one clear thing is that most students aspire to complete the undergraduate and look for jobs before coming back to the postgraduate. Some wants to be managers while others wants to be lecturers and tutors. I also realized that some students have goals of becoming leaders so that they can change the social situations of their backgrounds. For example, I found one of the respondents from the humble setting who revealed that his aspiration is to complete undergraduate and join politics so that one time he can be a leader and will change the situation of his community. Generally, I can say that most of the student’s goals and aspirations are driven by the problems they have and the influence of their parents and society.

Goal setting is known to enable students to envision the direction that they would wish to take or move to. It was noted from the survey that making goals usually encourage motivation to move forward and achieve the desired goals, and offers a positive aspect for students, parents, staff and even members of the wider community to become involved in the education of students at the University. Several factors were found to contribute to the development of resilience in learning. For instance, goal setting and the capability to make appropriate decisions are just a few skills that work collaboratively in the event of resilience.

The life of a student is not often as smooth as most people may think. They experience various issues ranging from academic expectations, social problems such as relationship, financial concerns, among others. When faced with multiple obstacles, like stressors, for example, the loss of a family member or getting a lower grade than expected, the ability to successfully adapt to the situation at hand and accomplish the task at to experience a positive outcome is considered as resilience. But it is important to note that stress and perceptions are elements that are defined differently from one individual to another.

From the survey, many of the respondents argued that making good goals that can be realistic and achievable requires one to take specific heavy steps. Some of these include:

  • Writing your academic and life goals in a more positive way instead of doing it the negative way.
  • To achieve many goals, you have to begin by completing one. You cannot achieve all your targets at once. One must begin somewhere, and many times, you may stumble on the way. However, this does not mean that you are going to fail.
  • At the University of the District of Columbia, students often make SMART goals which they use a reference point in their pursuit of seeking success academically, socially, or even politically. Smart goals entail specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and Time-framed.
  • Goals should be displayed visually in regions where they frequently or easily be read. This will allow those involved to remember what they need to or what is expected of them.

At the University of the District of Columbia, every student understands the significance of motivation to learn. Even it is possible to make students learn by giving them external rewards or by making them remain compliant, the most powerful approach to learning takes place when the students assume ownership of the learning process. The survey found out that through this approach, the students will be able to relate what they learn in class to a broader set of goals that they have implemented and the goals they are intending to accomplish.

Aspirations supplement every dream. When students create a vision of what they want to achieve in the future, the education they get is what drives them to move towards that direction. We found out that education powerfully motivates students to provide their best effort for full engagement in the learning process.

Many educational institutions do not clearly value the aspiration of students. Universities may have the total number of students enrolled for a given program or major, and most people may believe that this information is an indication of student aspirations in learning. But such kind of measures offers relatively little insight the strength of student commitment to their academic outcomes, where they would wish to be, whether they are aiming higher towards a more challenging future or whether they seem to undershoot the line relative to their potential and capabilities. At the same time, some students may remain undeclared for periods or frequently switch majors or programs, indicating that they have not decided on their aspiration. Such students may need academic guidance help, but they do not get. This is a different case at the University of the District of Columbia.

The university takes the step of asking students directly what they consider as their aspirations and the trail the evolution of student objectives over time. According to one of the professors at the University, it is essential to know generally how deeply the students are committed to their goals and how far they might be. On a specific note, it is essential for students and advisors themselves understand the connection between student behavior and student success.

It is no doubt that instructors can hugely benefit from understanding the aspirations of the students in their courses. Many instructors often make a speedy trial to collect such information, sometimes through a simple indication by hands on the first day of class or by making students fill brief profiles where they may indicate their major or identify their objectives. Should the instructors get access to more longitudinal, systematic information on the aspiration of students, and the course taught to them; they may be able to adjust the assignments, instructions, and assessments accordingly. For instance, if part of the students in a course were seriously motivated and highly interested in a course, it would be essential to provide additional options to the students to further improve their understanding and mastery of the course content. At the same time, for the students with fewer connections between their aspirations and the courses they do, the instructor can decide to offer them exploratory kind of assignments that would help them develop a better reason to appreciate their subjects and try make more connections between their aspirations and the subject.

Therefore, it was noted that at the University of the District of Columbia, the instructors and various faculties emphasize on institutional awareness and self-awareness of the student goals to help them create a learning culture based on greater student participation and ownership of the learning process. This is the kind of culture developed at the University, sending a message to the students who cannot connect their ambitions to their courses, make it clearer, stronger and relate the goals to their behaviors. When students are capable of reflecting their objectives with their behaviors, they become motivated to make more significant contribution in class and much more engaged in the academic community of the university. As a result, the overall educational environment of the student is improved, consequently leading to better academic performance. Knowing much about the aspirations of students and appreciating and acting on such information is an essential strategy any educational institution should use to improve the outcome of students and the general quality of educational learning.


The survey findings revealed that students from the University of the District of Columbia have different skills. The most common skills revealed include leadership skills, technical skills, soft skills, and hard skills. Some are talented in arts while others are talented in sports. University is a diverse environment that contains people of different walks of life, cultures, countries, religious backgrounds, gender, and political ideologies. The diversity of the learning environment brings with them different skills that students possess.

University is a breeding ground for various skills and talents. For example, some of the students are talented in various sporting activities such as boxing, netball, basketball, football, rugby, athletics, skating, among many others. They use sporting activities to entertain people. Others are using their sporting skills to represent the school in championships and to many other students; the sporting activity is their talent and their profession as well.

Another skill that students possess in the university is the leadership skill. You will find that most of the leaders within the university have not studied a leadership course, but they have the desire and skills in leading the students. They show the required characteristics of a good leader, and in most cases, they excel in leading the students to success and harmony within the university. Some groups of students received overall universities award for best student leaders.

Some students within the university also had technical skills. It is no doubt that technology has become an integral part of the society we live in. Some students within the university were found to have the skills of navigating through technology to be successful. The study found out that these skills came from regular use of technology while others were taught to the students as part of their course. Through digital literacy, students have developed a foundation of skills and knowledge to apply technology in their learning process. Familiarity with technology and technology devices has helped many students prosper not only academically but also in life. Other students have entrepreneurship skills. The students say that they can successfully create a business enterprise and reach to broad demographic customers with their products and services. In fact, most of the students in such line are business owners. They are able to be creative and innovative with a strong knowledge of the market or industry they intend to engage in.


Colleges are one of the most challenging environments for students. There are a lot of challenges that student faces while in colleges. The key challenge faced by most students is the financial challenge. The study also found that a family with an annual income of $21,000 must pay $8,300 a year in tuition, which accounts for 40% of the family’s income. It is very difficult for the family to cover the student’s tuition and accommodation. Due to this, some experience food shortage issue, which means a lack of adequately nutritious and safe food issues or the ability to access food in a generally accepted manner. The report believes that students who do not have a stable source of food are very difficult to work despite going to work or seeking help. Lack of finance also limits some of them from concentrating. Tuition fees are increasing at an alarming rate, and as earlier mentioned, the cost of textbooks, transport, supplies, and meals are also increasing. This makes life at the university become a nightmare, especially when you have a limited amount for budgeting. A large number of students were found to drop out of campus every year because of their inability to afford the cost of learning and learning requirements. Others have been forced to consider looking for employment rather than going for studies, to make ends meet. The study also showed that many students who graduated had debts to the school and the government. Contrary to the prevailing opinion, learning is becoming more and more expensive.

Another issue is the learning style and teaching approaches. Learning styles describe the aspect that every student has a different style of learning. This is the preferential way through which students absorb, process, understand and retain the knowledge or information taught to them. For example, when learning how to build a block, students must be able to understand the process by verbal instructions, but others must be to manipulate the block physically. The survey revealed that students present a diversity of cultures, languages, professional experiences, academic levels, and learning styles. The teaching approaches may not match the different learning styles for the students. This is due to the fact that not all teachers are prepared to teach effectively in a multicultural context due to lack of training or intercultural experience. It is clear that the diversity of learning needs and styles and communication difficulties in multicultural contexts can create misunderstandings between teachers and students. For example, differences in language skills and accents may interfere with students’ oral participation. It is important to note that individual styles of learning depend on emotional, environmental, and emotional factors and one’s previous experience. Some instructors, however, fail to understand their students and their preferred style of learning. Therefore, they apply teaching practices that are not tailored to the needs and understanding of the students. Consequently, this leads to the creation of a learning environment where the students are not motivated to explore and enjoy their learning process. Everyone is different and therefore, educators should understand the differences in the learning style of their students so that they can apply best teaching strategies into their daily activities, assessments, and curriculum.

Teachers must design instructional styles that function well in a diverse classroom. It is essential to note that effective teaching approach involves engagement of the bright students and slow-learning students as well and even those with attention deficit trends. In this case, differentiated instruction and a balanced combination of teaching approaches can help reach to all students in a particular classroom, not just a small number that positively corresponds to one given teaching style. Generally, knowing how to engage students often begins by choosing the teaching style that you enjoy most. Even though an instructor may prefer one teaching style over another, he/she must find the style which works well with the students.

Another significant challenge that students face in colleges and universities is the complexity of learning. Reports from the study indicate that university education is academically challenging for many students. The courses offered at universities and most colleges seem to demand a lot of effort as compared to learning at the high school level. Well, this is why it called an institution of higher learning. Most often, universities often congest two-year course content into one year, and some students fail to cope up with the intensity of learning and research.

Another common challenge is homesickness among university students, particularly those who learn in institutions that are very far away from home. The study indicates those who are most affected by homesickness are the first-year students.