How to Succeed in College through Economic Hardships

Lady Rose Allen, at the African American graduation ceremony in Oakland on May 21, 2011. Photo by Babatunde Harrison

Times are hard for college students and the forecast is that the years ahead will get harder and tougher. For students who want to  build their version of the American dream through academic endeavors the years ahead will be particularly lean because scholarship monies will be harder to come by.

But there is a way whereby students can still struggle through the hard times ahead and earn themselves a decent education; so says Lady Rose Allen, a Lecturer and Counselor at Merritt College, Oakland, California. She told me in an exclusive interview for this article that students can still succeed through the lean times ahead. And she should know because she is an institutional expert on how to succeed in college. In fact, Lady Rose Allen lectures a class at the community college called “College Success”.

She sounded in her interview like someone who has given considerable thought to the subject of economic recession and what the future hold for minorities who want to build a better life through education. For nearly ten years Lady Rose Allen has been a beacon of inspiration to many students who have moved on into higher institutions and lucrative vocations. She spoke from a dedicated perspective on what it takes to move through the labyrinths of academia.

“One of the ways that folks who are less privileged can continue to do well is to plan ahead and enroll early so that they will have classes to go to. Preparation and planning and being aware of deadlines…sooner, is going to be a big part of the issue. People who plan ahead and try to get their lives a little bit more organized before they start school will have much more success than those who wait until the last-minute.

“…we are talking about simple things but it signals a big shift. We have to inform our communities sooner, we have to encourage them to come and sign up and follow through, and then when they get there, we need to show them how to use the system to their advantage. Take advantage of Counselors, take advantage of Instructors; step outside their comfort zones and form study groups, and not try to do it all in isolation…because we have all been reared to think independence is best,  but more often another approach,  inter-dependence is much more effective and much more powerful in our communities.” (Click on tracks to listen to the interview.)     tracks

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