Imagine you are applying to a Cape Verdean university —
You begin the process with an entrance exam. If you fail the exam, you are still admitted to the university. This does not mean you are ready or prepared for the workload; it merely means that the university is desperate for students and money. You hear through the grapevine that classes are starting around October 4. You arrive at school and discover that professors are still on vacation. You travel back and forth to the university, even if you live on the other side of the island, because it is imperative to know when classes are actually beginning. You find out, two days ahead of time, that class schedules are posted in the university lobby. No information is posted online and informational emails are nonexistent. When you arrive to see your schedule, you discover that although classes were supposed to start October 18, they are actually beginning tomorrow. You were also told that you had classes in the morning and now all your classes are in the afternoon. You must ask your boss to revise your work schedule, again. After all, if you attend the university you are not supposed to have an outside job — only full-time students are admitted. You talk to your professors and they are still unsure of what they will be teaching, even though classes begin tomorrow. No one knows exactly where your classes will take place because construction is still in progress on many of the classrooms and faculty offices. And, some classes that you registered for have no professor. You show up on the first day of class, hoping someone knows something…
Although this is a hypothetical situation, many prospective students confront these challenges daily. When I think back to my freshman year of college, I am greeted with images of orientation, friendly faces to help along the way, as well as numerous papers and informational emails– a stark contrast to the Cape Verdean university experience.