To my mind college ought to be a really satisfying experience. When we graduate from this old place, we should be proud of our accomplishments, of what we've learned and the way we've performed. Right now, as a senior, I'll have to admit that my four years on this campus have been pretty uneven. Some of the people around here have pushed me so hard that I was amazed I had the stuff in me to respond. Others have engaged in a hit- and-run operation; I'm pretty disgusted with both of us, as I look back on it.
Let me put it this way: where I found weakness, I took ad- vantage of it; but where I found strength, I respected it. If I'm allowed ever to slip by, I'll do it every time. But if I'm really expected to perform. I'll come through or go down fighting.
THE STUDENT was attempting to be honest. His remark oc- curred in a casual conversation in a dormitory lounge late one evening. We were near the end of our tour of twenty Ameri- can colleges and universities. But to us his words were not new. Similar testimonies, including some more emphatic and discour- aged, had been heard from his counterparts wherever we traveled. It was talk of this kind, listened to early in our study and lasting until the final college had been visited, which led us to identify the implicit as well as the explicit level of expectancy as a highly important determinant of what happens to the college student. Our observations were reinforced by the frequent student reac- tion echoed by another who concluded, "Oh sure, I've received good marks and all that, but I've never really had to work very hard. Now that it's almost over I feel as though I've been cheat- ing myself, or maybe I've been cheated. I've never really been pushed."
If this level of expectancy is so important, where and how does it begin to operate? We found, as one might expect, that it is cer-