The student fraternity in a college is built up of different groups whose originality, culture, beliefs, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, political opinions, and social-economic status vary tremendously. Though despite these diversities, the students’ body and the entire campus have found better ways to create intersectionality amongst themselves. That has basically helped in the development of collectiveness amongst the different mixtures within the college(Brock). For example, a good relationship gets developed between male and female learners, or among students coming from different social-economic groupings. Therefore, diversity has several advantages such as helping expose novices to the various global cultures and assisting them to understand as well as accommodate their counterparts.
Cultural awareness is one of the building pillars of a successful society and interactions among humans. As such, inclusivity in college will require that individuals adopt an outgroup approach, besides the in-groups they associate themselves. In that case, they can play a role as part of the student family, as well as in their respective identity groups (Lai). Other benefits of diversity include student preparation for future careers and making them critical thinkers (Brock). In this paper, the focus will be on social-economic background and its implications on college student’s life in the United States.
Social Economic Background
This form of diversity when exposed in a classroom may lead to a variety of cognitive as well as social benefits. However, the difference in the economic abilities among the learners could as well be detrimental to the growth and development of each side, be they the well up or the deprived ones. Some of the advantages noted for the social-economic development have been the reduction in the number of dropouts among the college learners (Brennan and Osborne). For instance, in the past years particularly in the 1980s, students from both the well-up families as well as from the poor communities dropped out at an alarming rate especially those who were in segregated schools. Lack of exposure to other students’ needs and peer influence among these classes made them weaker in facing challenging situations.
In an integrated school, both the rich and the underprivileged learners are in combined activities and have an equal opportunity to participate. As such, it does not allow an opportunity for bias within the college system. Nevertheless, that does not mean a total non-existence of in-groups, which within their ranks will have some bias towards certain groups (Croll). In the social-economic segment, the richer students sometimes tend to segregate themselves from the rest of the learners, choosing to live a collegiate lifestyle. Although it may not be necessarily that they lock the rest of the people out, this form of lifestyle consumes a lot of monetary resources, thus limits the number of individuals who join them(Lai). In most cases, the participants in the collegiate lifestyle will hold parties and join athletic and other sports that will give them maximum attention.
Again, at this level, they are not mostly rebellious towards the college management to the extent that they want to see its failure. However, they display total disinterest in academic matters. As such, they do not want the college life to come to an end as it offers them a platform to conduct their private activities, but at the same time they want to do their things without getting question over them. In that case, their intersectionality with the rest of the student fraternity is to a certain level but not wholly satisfactory(Brennan and Osborne). Sometimes they play within both the in-group, as well as the outgroup arrangement.
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Implications of Social Economic Diversity on Campus
Various students will get influenced differently by the social-economic factors, and in particular due to the level of financial abilities by each of them. For the students from low-income families, most of them have developed a saving culture and have as well formed their own subgroups and cultures. However, they have on most occasions chosen to participate in activities where they have been accorded an opportunity to do so, without feeling controlled by the well-off students. Similarly, the richer college learners will as well chose certain activities where they may decide to participate (Croll). Nevertheless, there are outstanding benefits and disadvantages of the social-economic factors in the context of campus diversity.
Benefits of Social Economic Diversity on Campus
In an institution where the student fraternity is a mixture of well-up and needy individuals, they learn to prop up each other. For instance, those who are capable sometimes offer their assistance to the less fortunate in terms of meals, housing, clothing, and participation in activities that will require paying(Foley). That ensures that no one lags behind and everyone moves along in the right direction.
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Improved students’ relationships
By participating in supporting the needy students, a stronger bond among the learners develop. In that case, relationships thrive, and people consider themselves as part of one organization where they learn to share and interact positively with one another(Foley).Besides, it allows students to analyze the challenges they encounter as a group regardless of their social-economic background and hence can solve any problem arising in the day-to-day life.
Helps lower the gap between the rich and the poor
The implementation of social-economic diversity in colleges assists in improving the interactions between learners from high-income and low-income families. That guarantees they interact successfully. Again, it ensures the quality of education provided for all students is the same. Hence, no group benefits more than the other (Jaoul-Grammare). In that regard, all the students have an equal opportunity to perform and make their progress, with little or no bias at all.
Enhancement of Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking skills are appropriate for every college learner. The more the exposure to different realities in life, the better a student, evaluates and understands various situations that could either build or destroy their lives. Besides, in a diverse setup, students learn cooperatively to the backgrounds and perspectives that are rather dissimilar to theirs. The environment brings together individuals from lower, lower-middle, and upper-middle classes together(Jaoul-Grammare). As such, it promotes motivation, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and deeper learning.
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Disadvantages of Social Economic Activities
Rise of In-groups
Where institutions are not cautious, they may fall into the risk of having several sub-groupings arising from the student body. Such divisions could lead to cracks in the students’ unity. If the implementation of the mix-up is improper, it sometimes leads to the emergence of student cocoons based on the different social-economic activities, which makes it extremely hard for the entire student body to move on in unison.
The challenge of discouragement may fall on both sides. For instance, the poor students will feel dejected due to lack of enough money to participate in college activities, particularly on the entertainment. On the other hand, the richer students may feel pressured to maintain high status even if it means against their will. In fact, sometimes they are stuck in between where they feel unwelcome among the lower-class, while simultaneously they are unable to keep up with the collegiate lifestyle of their well-up counterparts (Marks, Cresswell, and Ainley).
Negative Peer Influence
In most cases, the mixture of wealthy and underprivileged students has resulted to some learners in the lower-income households to attempt to copy their peers, to get attention. That has ended dismally destroying the life of a student (Marks, Cresswell, and Ainley). Further, in other situations, students have introduced each other to drugs and other dangerous activities that could lead them to dropping out of schools.
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Diversity on campus is a positive thing for both the students and learning institutions as it provides an opportunity for interactions and learning of various backgrounds. It also has several other advantages including critical thinking skills enhancement, reduction of the gap between the rich and the poor, improved relationships amongst the students, as well as support for each other. However, there are also numerous disadvantages which may result from the approach if care is not taken. Such challenges include increase in the number of in-groups, demoralization, and negative peer influence.