College Failure

January 3, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

     My daughter is a senior in high school and she’s a good student (A’s and B’s), but she doesn’t write well. I am very concerned that her poor writing skills will result in college failure.

    She works hard in school and, according to her English teacher, she’s doing well. However, compared to what was expected of me when I was in high school, she would be getting C’s and D’s.

     I don’t know how to communicate my concern to my daughter about her college future. She wants to study education and become a kindergarten teacher. College failure would destroy her dreams.

Please advise,


Dear Teresa,

     As a former high school English teacher, I can validate your observation that academic expectations regarding writing ability are lower than they were a generation ago. This holds true for college as well as high school.

     As your daughter is a good student in high school, I would expect her to be an equally good student in college. Ideally, professors work with their students to help them succeed and colleges offer remedial writing classes to struggling students. Rest assured, there are supports in place.

     It is a good idea for any high school junior or senior to take an expository writing class prior to entering college. I suggest that you encourage your daughter to take a class at a local college or university on Saturdays or over the summer.

     Additionally, I would encourage her to make good use of her college’s writing center during her freshman year. Be proactive and predict college success instead of college failure.

     I am confident that your daughter’s good work habits will stand her in good stead throughout her life, college and beyond. Please let me know how your daughter fares next year. My money is on her success!

All my best,


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