Cooling-Out Function at QC

Nabeela Hanif

Professor Alvarez

English 110

28 April 2012

Institutional Analysis of Queens College


College functions as a higher educational system in place for students who want to excel in their trajectory goals. Every student strives to achieve the best education they can acquire because they are sought after the American dream. But what happens when every student can’t reach their full potential to succeed in their ultimate dream? It seems like a simple answer…that some dreams are shattered. But that process of shattering those long goal oriented dreams comes with a heavy price that alters the educational system.  College portrays their image as one that would offer students academic achievement but many students have made out the lie themselves and have created an issue posing the real problem at hand.  

In this essay, I will demonstrate how the higher education system makes students’ believe one thing but in reality, they offset them in another path and before a student can realize it he/she is left with the cooling out process. Queens College offers the best of both worlds, an affordable tuition rate and a good educational experience. It allows thousands of students to have the opportunity to attend higher education and the potential for them to be successful one day. What Queens College doesn’t tell you is that they reorient all their students to fit their institutional needs and have students function to the school’s advantage. Queens College makes students believe they have every right, being part of the institution, but they don’t promise them the guaranteed right of a quality education. Also, Queens College doesn’t comprise a high tuition rate but yet so many students speak out against the tuition rates. Is tuition really the problem or are there bigger issues at hand that students are sidetracked by? If students place themselves into these niches, they sometimes fall into the cooling out function trap that isn’t easily mended.

Analysis of the Cooling-Out Function

Burton Clark specified in his Cooling Out Function that colleges are meant to reorient students to function within their own institution, especially for vocational planning, but I have experienced the complete opposite at Queens College. This college doesn’t have a means to an ends system in place to assist students from their transitional period to their career planning phrase. The staff that makes up the administration here are unwilling to subjugate a student’s needs just for their own sake of an easy job and in the end, it is always the student who suffers from these setbacks. If a student is uninformed, whether it be in advising or simple questions about campus, they have a less likely chance in succeeding in their ultimate goal. According to Burton Clark, “A third and major step in reorienting the latent student is a special course entitled Orientation to College, mandatory for entering students. All sections of it are taught by teacher-counselors who comprise the counseling staff, and one of its purposes is to assist students in evaluating their own abilities, interests, and aptitudes in assaying their vocational choices in light of this evaluation; and in making educational plans to implement their choices” (572-573). What Clark wants to put forth here is that students are supposed to be aided in the transition process to make it simple yet efficient for them while transforming them into a full embodied student of the institution they are entering. It is vital for students to be top priority for they are the predecessors of the college even after they leave the institution. The higher educational system puts emphasis on this because what this stage is really doing is filtering the students who are going to make it big because of their educational success from the ones who need the cooling out function administered into their educational trajectory. The cooling out function calls for students who can’t make it to alter their reality of success to something lower than their standards initially called for. This reorienting process does exactly the same thing; the institution is adhered to help students with this transformative period while their real goal is to separate students into two categories, success and failure.

According to Burton Clark, “Thus ethical and practical urges together encourage the high school graduate to believe that college is both a necessity and a right; similarly, parents and elected officials incline toward legislation and admission practices that insure entry for large numbers; and educational authorities find the need and justification for easy admission” (570). What Clark is referring to is that the way society is embedded into our culture gears every student to attend college because they have equal opportunity regardless of the starting point. There lies a guaranteed right for all students to enter into the higher educational system because they are part of this democracy. The problem that pursues this matter is that there is an abundance of students in all grades of the educational system and advancing ahead becomes a problem with such limited space. Since these rights are guaranteed by the students, colleges have to accommodate all these undergrads in large numbers. An apparent issue here stems from large crowded classrooms where students aren’t given the attention required to gain the knowledge and not just pass the class. A filter must be created to strain out the peers who can achieve greater lengths than others in order for the system to be maintained. There are many defects with setting up crowded classrooms but if it’s not an elite or private university, a student cannot be turned down because they have their entitlements as well. Easy admission also comes into play with this case scenario because the system cannot leave out the under achieving remedial student. Even if an argument is made that remedial students are set up for failure because lots of them will never graduate college, they made the decision themselves to be part of the higher educational system. It is a personal decision that shouldn’t be degraded and once again the educational system cannot impede on their educational trajectory directly either. Making the learning process a factorial implement is only lessening the experience for the student and Burton Clark clarifies that if every student is told to go to college, the system will suffer an overload by overcrowded classrooms. This only leads to a melting pot of different students who don’t end up receiving the proper education to succeed individually.   

It is a student’s right to attend college but there is never any documented rights of receiving financial help. Also, the quality of education received at colleges and high schools are a major factor that contributes to the downfall in which the educational system stands on high grounds. All schools don’t offer you the best education possible due to myriad factors such as financial budgets or uninterested in the student’s success. Also, there is no scale to measure the success achieved in all colleges across America. Who’s to say a student can’t receive the same education at Queens College if you go to Hofstra University or St. John’s. According to the New York Times, “Cost is not the main problem for American higher education. But what are the main problems? The complexity of the financial aid process is one, because it scares away many poor students; in the ideal student, up-front tuition costs would remain low, and students would pay back colleges with a percentage of their income. The patchy quality of education at many high schools and colleges is a major problem. It’s also a problem that we don’t know which colleges are doing a good job and which are not. Finally, it’s a problem that Washington and the states spend billions of dollars subsidizing higher education but do not demand accountability” (Leonhart). The importance of higher education is placed in the hands of the American students who either want to attend the higher educational system or find a way around it. The cost of college in America protrudes on families budgets but there are bigger problems to worry about than just the hefty price, with Queens College being an exception to this rule for such affordable tuition. Millions of students receive financial aid to help pay for the costs of their education, while the ones who don’t qualify for aid are backed by parents that make enough to afford the strikingly high tuition rates. Yet, the structure of the financial aid system scares away so many kids from applying to receive the help. 

Queens College: In Depth

As a freshman at CUNY Queens College, I have just made my transition from high school into college and it was filled with many trials and tribulations. My problems here had nothing to do with making friends or adjusting to a large campus but all in dealing with the administrators here who don’t take the necessary steps to help half the students. At Queens College they try to make it easy and enjoyable upon entering their institution but I think the system’s structure impedes on the journey as an incoming freshman. I understand that QC is a City University of New York which means that it is a public school when all is said and done but that doesn’t mean the system can’t be more emphatic than it is. As a student who deserves full attention when inquiring about basic procedures, I have been turned down and even lied to numerously by various QC administrators who couldn’t care less if I was being helped or not. This institution depicts themselves as one that serves the students as top priority but in actuality is the biggest hoax of the CUNY system. Queens College does a fine job at initiating this process as well as tending to certain students over others and I have experienced this first hand. This school doesn’t measure you by the merits you’ve earned previous to Queens College or even if you made it into an elite university; all they are concerned with is how far you’ve made it in their educational system. The truth of the matter comes from the fact that this school pays more attention to students who are part of the Macaulay program or an Honor society over the other thousands of peers. This is the model depicted through the cooling out function in higher education. It is the institutions who think they can make the decision if a student will be successful or not and don’t give all students the equality of opportunity even if that is mentioned in the school’s mission statement.

During the summer of senior year before I started college, I was poorly informed about the criteria that needed to be taken of before school started. I would call the main office for QC and ask about registering for classes or the medical reports that needed to be filled and I would be told that I hadn’t received my student ID yet so they couldn’t answer my questions. I had already registered to be a student at Queens College and I was told a well sugar coated lie about a student number that ceased to exist to me. If I wasn’t being transferred to six different people every time I called the school or given someone’s voicemail who never returned my calls I was left in the loophole without a slight clue of what needed to be done. At Freshman Welcome Day they treated all the incoming students like third graders and made us play silly games on the quad and then listen to some motivational speaker lie to make himself out to be the ‘perfect nerd turned stud’ because of Queens College. It was truly a waste of a day but students had to go because that’s when we were supposed to register for Fall 2011 classes. Every time I made a schedule that day, it was either all the class was full or the class was not available to incoming freshman. Well, if I’m just a freshman student why wasn’t the system in play correctly. While I struggled to pick out my classes, I was told I needed to hurry up because all the admins in the room clearly couldn’t be bothered with me and wanted to leave. I left that day with such a grudge against my potential college and it made me not excited to start college anymore. This is the experience I had to endure with my school, just a regular incoming freshman with no learning disabilities but yet I was treated like I couldn’t comprehend English.


College is designed for the student who has the potential to get ahead in life and needs a college degree for their career path. All throughout a student’s life, college is made out to be the final destination of all those years of prior schooling. From the exceptional Honor Roll student to the average remedial student, the educational institutions make out college to be their ultimate achievement. But what happens when some students just don’t have what it takes to make it into college? This creates a problem for the educational system to deal with by having all types of students placed into the same schools for the most part. Unless some students have the exception of going to a top- notch private school or a specialized school, chances are the agile and dull students are all put into the same classrooms. The students with the ability to get ahead have to suffer from this setback while the student who can barely pass his/her class is told that one they will be accepted into college. But yet when all these students enter the college vicinity, it’s not a magic eraser that comes and levels out the playing field for the incoming students. Some have more talent and knowledge than others, and some are just there because college sounds more promising than going into the army or getting a job. Queens College is a prime example of this because even though there is an 80 average to get into this school, there are different levels of classes and some kids are naturally brighter than others. A major problem with having a college with thousands of people is the attention and focus these students receive without being just another student number. The crowded classrooms are a setback to learning efficiently and in most cases a professor will never know the student’s names personally. As a freshman student in the CUNY system, I have been placed into an exceedingly large class for intro level course.

In the Fall of 2011 semester, I took Sociology 101 with Professor Rodgers and had 264 others students in my class. There were two assistants, who offered no vital help to the class other than proctoring exams, and a professor who didn’t even care to stay on topic half the lecture. After it became apparent that attendance was not necessary in this class, many students stopped showing up for the course. Here is an example of the system filtering out itself, with peers who wanted to learn and the ones who couldn’t care less. Unfortunately, the class size was still too large for one professor and I never felt like I walked out of class gaining any substantial knowledge. If it wasn’t for a great text book that taught me everything a professor couldn’t, I would’ve have fallen into the crack and not done well in such a large class. Half of the time, I couldn’t even hear what Professor Rodgers was saying because she felt speaking into a microphone hindered her lethargic lectures. When a class size is so enormous, it becomes hard to attain help in the course because the professor has so much on their plate that getting help turns into extracting the extraneous details apart. There is a harder time for a student to stand out in large classes because there are just simply too many students in one class. The lectures can never get very far because the focus is never instilled in a class lecture and the professor just concentrates on simple terms. The ambiance for a classroom is vital for the success of a student and large class sizes curtails the true achievement of a student. Every student deserves a chance but when all students deserve the same chance, the problems wind up being greater than what the institution can handle.

Many people question the success of a student coming out of the CUNY system or measure the level of education received at such institutions. Just because Queens College is a public city university doesn’t mean that they do not have high overachievers that make a name for themselves in their profession. Queens College doesn’t hold the prestige as an elitist school as Fordham University, but it all depends on the quality of the student and how they want to build character for themselves as a student. Just because Queens College doesn’t have a tuition of $40,000 doesn’t mean that they can’t give you a good education to make the student succeed in their future. Can we really measure the success of an institution by their high tuition costs? I highly disagree because there are successes and failures from both a CUNY school and a prestigious university. With America’s recent economic recession, the cost of a private education is sky rocketing while many families can’t stretch their pocket that deep to afford these schools. There is where CUNY rises to save thousands of American families from becoming indebted to Uncle Sam in ways they know they can never contribute back to. There are many students at Queens College who receive financial aid because economically, it is hard for families to afford the cost of college. Queens College tuition isn’t high at all but many families do struggle to pay that amount and try to give their children the best education possible. People from all walks of life walk these campus grounds with the same goal of achieving the American dream, even if the higher educational system impedes on their “guaranteed rights. At Queens College, students are fortunate enough to have an affordable tuition that doesn’t break the bank with awfully high rates. An average school year would cost a QC student about $6,000 total including tuition, books, and fees. There is a high percentage of students who receive financial aid with opportunities to exceed in their studies. There is a problem with some families not being able to afford tuition costs but they are not taken for granted by the system either. Queens College can offer it’s students a high quality education but it also depends on the effort of every student. It is the student body as a whole that can account for a greater learning experience and the individual student for attributing to these factors as well. Every student in every college has the right to succeed in college but personal effort makes up more than half the effort as well. Queens College is a diverse school that has a little bit of everything-highly gifted students to other slower developing students- and every peer has to make their own mark, just as in every college across America does.

Cooling Out Function Really Does Work


This essay has argued that the cooling out function has taken a different approach to the students of Queens College, perpetuating failures and successes all housed under the same roof. I have demonstrated how the administrative staff reorients the students, how the large classes impede on students’ rights to a college education, and how tuition should not be the biggest issue that is wrong with Queens College. The cooling out function can apply to every student in college but the extent of it lies in the institution’s hands. The higher educational system can be the pathway for some students realizing they can’t make it big and allow other students with the capabilities to further succeed. Basically, the cooling out functions isn’t a bad concept at all. Every student is allowed the equality opportunity to attend college but each individual also has to earn their rite of passage in the school system as well. With the high population of students in America, there needs to be a system in play to filter out the successors and failures all attending the same institution. While many would complain that it is highly unfair, it offers segmented ways for all types of students to achieve their greatest capability. Further research into the cooling-out function at QC could also take a closer look at the academic criteria students must endure, the lack of social life on campus, and the shortage of parking spots for all students.




Work Cited

Clark, Burton R. “The ‘Cooling-Out’ Function in Higher Education.” The American Journal of Sociology 65.6 (1960): 569-576. Print.

Leondhart, David. “College Costs Aren’t The Main Problem.” The New York Times. 25 Feb. 2011. Web.
Shen, Jack. Welcome Day. 2011. Photograph. Queens, NY. 15 Aug. 2011. Web. 4 May 2012.

Tantongco, Jano. Tuition Hikes. 2011. Photograph. Queens, NY. 26 Apr. 2011. Web. 4 May 2012.

Tubbs, Chris. Large Lecture Hall. 2007. Photograph. Detroit, MI. 27 Aug. 2007. Web. 4 May 2012.



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  1. Nabella, this is some fantastic writing. I can tell you will have no trouble with composing academic discourse. This is more or less a “basic” model into some of the more complicated essays you’ll write by the time you are a senior. I think you did a great job integrating sources, as well as making smart connections between the theories and your observations.

    If you read back to some of your first blog posts of this semester and compare the writing with this, I’m sure you’ll note the differences.

    I think you should probably make your example of an elitist school, Fordham, maybe even more hyperbolised, say Princeton, or Brown, maybe MIT, for examples.

    I like the media, some great shots of “student life.” You also did a perfect job citing your sources.

    Things to fix:

    –The first two paragraphs in “Queens College In Depth”, the section above, these two first paragraphs could each be broken into two, as they are long, and they can stand apart on four different ideas instead of two long ones.

    –The PIE paragraph from Leondhart needs more P–I think you can move some lines up from the E section to fill in the gap. You always want to introduce your audiece to the quote before you give it.

    7.8 out of 8 points

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