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Helping those who aren’t making the grade

It’s enough to shake up a first-year student and spell the end of university career, say some school officials.

A grade of C+.

It’s enough to shake up a first-year student and spell the end of university career, say some school officials.

As mid-term marks begin to pour in for university freshmen over the next few weeks, Ontario schools say they’re on hand to help curb dropout rates across the province.

“We’re dealing with students who are overachievers in high school. They often have never had anything worse than an A,” said Deanne Fisher, director of student life for the St. George campus at the University of Toronto.

“So, when they come to U of T and find they might have got a C+, or worse, on their first mid-term that can have quite an emotional impact on them,” Fisher added.

While most students continue with their studies after first year — retention rates are steadily improving for many universities — there are still a small number of students deciding to pack it all in.

The reasons are varied, from a crisis at home, to poor marks, financial struggles to a program that just doesn’t deliver.

For instance, Adam Miceli, 24, a music student at the University of Toronto, began at York University in biology five years ago. By the time second semester had rolled around, he knew he was ready to leave the school.

“I was coming right out of high school. I was thrown into things,” said Miceli, who said he had been overwhelmed by classes the size of stadiums.

 
 
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