Dordt College News

From academic failure to success

March 9, 2011

College life presents students with an exciting atmosphere where new opportunities and experiences abound. But in addition to experiencing a new atmosphere, many students also find themselves experiencing difficulties balancing their academic responsibilities with their new freedoms, and sometimes find themselves facing academic failure. While the situation may seem bleak, students are able to overcome this hurdle.

Dordt College Professor Bill Elgersma, along with Dordt junior Alex Henderson, led a group discussion on Feb. 28 titled “Going from Academic Failure to Success.” They shared their personal struggles to overcome poor academic standings with a group of Dordt students.

At the beginning of Henderson’s college career, he found himself struggling to meet the demands of college while trying to juggle his athletic schedule, social life, and academic work load. He shared his experiences with the group and explained what he did to turn his situation around. He said that for him, being a successful student depends on surrounding himself with people that help to hold him accountable (even if only by example) and then working to change his outlook. “Just changing my attitude, changed my behavior.”

He also encouraged students to use college tutors saying, “Let people help you. Tutoring is free, so why not use it.”

Elgersma continued the discussion by not only sharing his challenges as a student, but also sharing what he sees as keys for getting through college. “Motivation and persistence are the two key factors to success in college. These are what I see as the most important parts of being successful.”

He also noted an important strategy in helping gain confidence. “If you want to graduate, say it out loud. It’s not if, it’s when I graduate. If you beat yourself up, after a while you start listening to yourself.”

Dordt College has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for its commitment to helping students succeed in academics. In 2011’s rankings Dordt was one of only two regional colleges recognized for “A Strong Commitment to Teaching” and was also named on USN&WR’s top 10 list of “A-plus Schools for B Students,” a category that recognizes high-achieving colleges where “nonsuperstars” can thrive and succeed.

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