Meeting the Academic Challenges of an Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum
Chris was accepted into the Electrical Engineering program at a competitive engineering university with a scholarship. He was ranked in the top 10 percent of his high school class, had earned a 90 average and was considered smart in science and math. However, despite his track record, Chris ended up on academic probation after his first semester at college. Chris had never learned to study new and difficult information; he had never been challenged academically. The academic work in high school was so easy for him that his study skills never were developed. He would boast about how little time he spent studying or writing papers. After completing the Academic Skills Seminar that helped Chris learn about his individual learning-style strengths, his second semester grades were significantly better because his approach to learning new and difficult information was dramatically changed.
Approximately 25 percent of the freshman class at an engineering university were placed on academic probation each year. Students remaining on probation for more than one semester often were disqualified or withdrawn. Tinto ( 1993) reported that many students leave college as a result of unclear individual goals or intentions, a lack of connectedness with the institution, or academic underachievement. Tinto ( 1993) further suggested that by identifying the problems students encounter and offering appropriate interventions, an increase in persistence might result.
Several interventions with students on probation have been described with varied course content including study skills, time management, goal setting,