Students feel unprepared for college, survey says

Nearly half of college students surveyed by Greenfield Online, an independent data collection firm, do not think their high school prepared them enough with the organizational skills needed to succeed in college.

The same survey found that 87 percent of students believe their grades would be improved if they were more organized and better able to manage their time. Another 48.4 percent of college students don’t think they have enough time to do their course work. Naturally, most students want to improve their time management skills.

Industrial and manufacturing engineering professor Roya Javadpour teaches project management and organization, which involves time management skills.

“Break big tasks into smaller steps and set deadlines for each of those,” she said.

Javadpour works mostly with seniors and graduate students, however, who have taken enough college classes to not fall into these problems.

“By the time their graduates and seniors, I see they’re pretty much well organized,” she said.

FileMaker, Inc., the distributors of an organizational software program, commissioned the survey. Kevin Mallon of FileMaker said software programs are simply tools that can help students get organized.

“The more tools that are available, the better,” he said.

However, almost half of students use handwritten personal calendars to manage their contacts, assignments and deadlines. Another 23 percent keep track of everything by memory. Only 21.7 percent use database software.

“Whatever works. Everybody has their own preferences,” Javadpour said. “As long as they use it appropriately.”

She also pointed out that traditional notebook planners are probably the cheaper way to organize.

“Everybody might not have the ability to get the PalmPilot,” she said.

Yet Mallon argued that students who use paper planners run a major risk.

“If you lose your notebook, you’re basically hosed,” he said. Students who use computer programs will have everything on their hard drive and possibly on a memory stick as well. “It’s the investment that you make as a student in your time and studies.”

Wine and viticulture sophomore Wes Levicki does not use any planners and said keeping everything in his head works perfectly well for him.

“I’m always in the library, that’s how I manage my time,” he said.

In addition, Levicki said he thinks his high school did make him ready for college.

“I was able to enroll in honors classes, so I think I was pretty much prepared for what I knew was going to hit me.”

The survey also found that while only 26 percent of students spend more than 20 percent of their free time partying, almost half say that their grades are affected by partying. At the same time, only 10.4 percent think their grades would improve if they spent less time at parties.

These results were found from the October 2006 survey of 221 full-time college students. Regional quotas were set to ensure that the study was a nationwide representation.