Students Speak Out: Quotes about Switching (Abstract of Section)
Author(s): Nancy M. Hewitt and Elaine Seymour
Students' comments suggest Science and Engineering cultures are better organized to weed out students than to support them.
A more subjective, yet very powerful, form of testimony to the sincere efforts of switchers to stay with their S&E majors comes from their own accounts of their struggles, from the accounts of non-switchers who described friends' experiences, and from seniors evaluating their majors as likely to lose able students.
- I remember a big argument over the fact that so many people were being weeded out from the engineering school, and one of the professors said, "We're not just weeding people out, we're ripping out half the garden." -- White female engineering senior
- And you could say to them,"Do you realize you're pushing talented people away from their major?" -- White male chemistry switcher
- What bothers me is the number of people that want to be in engineering, who know what engineering is about and really have the capability to do well and be good in the field, but they end up going a different way for reasons other than lack of ability. -- White female engineering senior
- It's the way this gentleman teaches. He believes in grading people on a curve and slaughtering people in the first exam. You lose everyone 'cause no one's encouraging you to stay -- the professor is very unapproachable. I think you lose a ton of good people because, why would they sit here and get slaughtered when they can go to another department and have some interaction with the professor, and some encouragement? -- White male chemistry senior
- The students who left were smart enough. They were just extremely overwhelmed and scared to fail. -- White female biochemistry senior
- It was just accelerated -- push, push, push all the time. That's why I kept on pushing myself, I thought, "Well, I'm just not pushing myself hard enough." I saw all around me all my friends were dropping out. -- Asian male engineering switcher
- You get people that would probably do well if they were given half a chance, but there's so much competition, and not a heck of a lot of help. -- Black female engineering senior
- I tried. I mean, I tried for all these courses. I've thought about devoting every ounce of my life, but I don't know if that's possible. . . This Christmas, I went home with my chemistry book and read nine chapters while I was at home, but when I came back here, I started failing the tests and I just got more and more upset. -- Native American male chemistry switcher
- My G.P.A. has hung right around 3.7 and only went as low as 3.6 in my first block. My physics courses were B's or B+'s, and the math was, I think, an A-. -- White male physics switcher who will enter graduate school in music
--Abstract by the Online Ethics Center staff.
Original book by Nancy M. Hewitt and Elaine Seymour.
Cite this page:
"Students Speak Out: Quotes about Switching (Abstract of Section)"
Online Ethics Center for Engineering
National Academy of Engineering
Accessed: Saturday, May 25, 2013