Is Chicago State A "Dropout Factory," Too?

This month's Washington Monthly includes a feature story about college dropout factories that contrasts the experiences of students at places like Chicago State and at places like UIC:

"With its tree-lined campus and gleaming new steel and glass convocation center, Chicago State certainly looked impressive. But within his first month there, Nestor wanted to leave. Advisers in the engineering department seemed clueless about guiding him to the right courses, insisting that if he wanted to take programming he first needed to enroll in a computer class that showed students how to turn on a monitor and operate a mouse. (Nestor required no such training.) The library boasted a robot that retrieved books, but Nestor would have preferred that it simply stay open past eight p.m... Trash littered the classrooms and grounds, and during class many of the students would simply carry on conversations among themselves and ignore the instructors--or even talk back to them. Nestor was appalled. "It was like high school, but I was paying for it," he says. (College Dropout Factories)

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  • At 30 years old I decided to return to change careers. I opted for a nursing career and enrolled at Chicago State. I only spent one semester there and it was one too many.

    I enrolled at a time when their Nursing program was trying to resuscitate itself after loosing its accreditation because of the very low number of students who passed the Nursing license exam or NCLEX

    Every aspect of the experience was disheartening:

    Admissions to College of Nursing was predicated on passing an exam similar to the NCLEX. In this way CSU could skim the cream of the crop because if you could pass their exam you could probably pass the NCLEX.

    The students were not serious and were often disruptive. I was writing a check for my courses and often times had to ask classmates to take their conversations outside the classroom.

    Many members of the teaching staff were apathetic (one psychology professor stands out in my memory), accustomed to an uncaring student body, grading on a curve, and collecting the pay check. I also had to address that and make professors teach, not just hand out a syllabus.

    The nursing program was known to change every month, adding courses and students never really progressed.

    After one semester I had 4 A's but I had to go. The counselor told me that with my hours from previous college experiences it would still take me 5 years including summers to complete a nursing degree.

    With that GPA the begged me to stay but I had to go.

    I transferred to St. Xavier, finished the Nursing degree in a couple of years part-time and love and appreciate the education I received there.

    Moral to my story: You get what you pay for. Chicago State needs a new sheriff, with a new attitude who is allowed to make students and teaching staff accountable.

    L. Sanders RN

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