Top 3 Student Barriers to Academic Success: Insights From 1,500 Students
College Pulse’s recent student survey uncovered how student experience barriers to academic life. Learn how well students are able to access the classes they need, navigate the catalog, and understand degree requirements.
1,500 students across the US recently shared their experiences navigating academic life in a survey conducted by College Pulse and Coursedog. Students at both two- and four-year institutions reported on how well they’re able to access the courses they need, how easy it is to navigate their school’s catalog, and how they rely on technology and advisors to plan their academic schedule.
While the survey showed some promising results (e.g., 70% of students agree their courses teach them relevant skills), it also brought to light persistent barriers that students experience navigating academic life. The following survey results highlight how access to the right classes and clear academic requirements can make or break a student’s academic journey.
6 in 10 students report difficulty enrolling in the classes they need
55% of students frequently (i.e., almost every term) or somewhat frequently (i.e., some terms) experience difficulty enrolling in the classes they need to meet requirements for their major or general education. When trying to enroll in the classes they need, students most frequently encounter the following barriers:
- The class was already full when trying to enroll
- The class was not offered at a time that worked for their schedule
- The class was offered at the same time as another class they needed to take
While students at both two- and four-year institutions encountered these barriers, four-year students were more likely to experience difficulties enrolling in the classes they needed. For example, 62% of four-year students attempted to enroll in a class that was already full, compared to 45% of students at two-year institutions.
Students who have trouble navigating the catalog are four times more likely to say they’ve experienced enrollment difficulties
Of students who reported that it is very difficulty to navigate their school’s online course catalog, 45% say they frequently experience difficulties enrolling in the classes they need. Comparatively, of students who report their school’s online catalog is very easy to navigate, only 11% say they frequently experience difficulties enrolling in the classes they need. This suggests that institutions with difficult and non-user friendly catalogs are impacting their students ability to navigate academic offerings and access the courses they need.
1 in 5 students will stop attending their current institution if they can’t enroll in the classes they need
21% of surveyed students strongly or somewhat agree that they will stop attending their current school or transfer if they can’t enroll in the classes they need. This sentiment is particularly acute among first-year students. First-year students are twice as likely to say they’ll stop attending their current school if they’re unable to enroll in the classes they need (33%) compared to seniors (15%).
Additionally, students at two-year institutions are more likely than their peers at four-year institutions to say they will stop attending their current school or transfer if they can’t enroll in the classes they need (i.e., 27% vs. 21%).