Essay on the Importance of College Student Development Theory to Undergraduate College Life


A human person is the only creature with a consciousness and a conscience, and he is also the only creature that can grow during his existence. This is referred to as the capacity for progress, and it is our greatest advantage in all of nature. Education is the means by which an individual’s intellect is developed. In turn, higher education is the means by which a developed personality and an efficient and qualified expert in a certain field are created. Thus, the ultimate goal of every college student is the development of his or her intellect.

This objective may be complemented by other objectives, such as achieving a solid financial position in life, although such objectives are secondary to the core objective of personal development. Growth is a slow and time-consuming process, so it must be examined and supported by theory; this also applies to student development. This factor prompted the 1979 formulation and launch of the student development hypothesis (Komives and Woodard, 2003, p. 168).

The same authors assert that the examined theory offers academic and student affairs professionals with a shared vocabulary (Komives and Woodard, 2003, p. 168). Consequently, the primary objective of this paper is to examine the role of student development theory in undergraduate college life.

Main Body

Implementation of the PTP model

The PTP model must be mentioned first since it can be utilised to provide a structurally developed approach to the application of student developmental theory. It can be used to gain sufficient information and build specific activity guidelines.

The fifth chapter of “Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice” describes a case in which the instructor uses the PTP model to enhance and intensify the undergraduate counselling course. Principal qualities introduced by the instructor include the use and emphasis of case examples in the training process, and the instructor’s specific attention to two spheres: individual differences and the examination of shared characteristics with others.

Considering the first feature of the instructor’s chosen method, it is possible to state that the disputed nature of the complicated material he employs provides an excellent opportunity for contemplation. First, it is a Pandora’s box, as Evans et al. have stated (1998, p. 269). The use of a metaphor illustrates the risk posed by the adoption of a new technique.

However, students’ knowledge of the material’s realism and complexity is undeniably crucial and useful for their educational development. The course material might be understood as a “challenge to the current condition,” a trait essential to developmental theory (Student Development Theory 2009). Thus, its reasonableness may be established. The possible benefits, such as a greater connection between students, the instructor, and the course material, are more proof of the PTP model’s positive influence (Evans et al., 1998, p. 269).

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“Knowledge of self plus knowledge of others plus knowledge of the environment plus skill development equals effective peer counselling” was the course’s model (Evans et al., 1998, p. 269). The consideration of the formula elicits a favourable response because the model incorporates all the essential components of an efficient educational process. This methodology is universal and may be applied to virtually every course at various educational institutions with only slight modifications.

Implementation of development theory

Considering the topic of the present work, it seems essential to examine the theoretical foundations of the current educational environment. The complex application of developmental theories will produce nontrivial outcomes. Psychological theories are useful for resolving identity difficulties, whereas cognitive-structural theories are required to enhance the educational process by establishing a balance between challenge and support for students.

Finally, typology theories can serve as a foundation for analysing the similarities and contrasts that are crucial to this educational context (Evans et al., 1998, p. 270). The latter theory can be applied to the investigation of person-environment fit difficulties; for instance, the application of Erickson’s theory can provide an explanation for a student’s unique conduct based on their belonging to various psychological stages. Due to the specialised nature of medical education, the application of this theory to medical students can be particularly fruitful.

Taking into account all eight steps of the instructor’s approach evaluated by the authors, it is feasible to conclude that his modifications to the counselling course, the implementation of the PTP model, were logical and fruitful. If the model improves comprehension of the course’s objectives and concerns, its implementation can be justified and the instructor’s example can be followed.

Student education and personal growth

Evans et al. (1998) state that “student learning and student development are the same” as the next significant notion (p. 272). In fact, we proposed the identical concept in the introduction of this study. Evidently, the terms “learning” and “growth” are synonymous. In this case, the application of development theories is extremely beneficial, as they combine both concepts.

The material offered in “Enhancement of Student Learning and Personal Development Objectives” is therefore reasonable and should be approved. Every endeavour must have defined objectives; without them, it is pointless. For this reason, psychological and cognitive-structural theories can be quite beneficial for enhancing learning.

The typology theories can facilitate a successful educational process flow that meets the goals outlined by the other two theories. This concept is contained in the chapter under consideration. The implementation of this idea can be particularly effective for medical students, given the significance of personality variations in the area.

The constraints on theories:

After analysing the beneficial effects of developmental theories, the negative aspects must be addressed. The authors emphasise the limited scope of the theories in terms of their generalisation of humans and the environment (Evans et al., 1998, p. 283). This is indeed the case, and it is necessary to enhance the theories in order to remove this constraint. Additionally, cultural and territorial factors should be taken into consideration.

Lastly, the development process should be viewed as being smooth and consistent, as this is a crucial characteristic. Overall, it is necessary to broaden the audience for the application of the ideas and to improve the instrument’s technical aspect. Evans et al. address every one of these inadequacies of the theoretical foundation (1998, pp. 283-284).


In conclusion, it must be said that the application of development theories to the educational process is not only reasonable but also essential. They can assist in enhancing the educational system and process. Effective action techniques can be derived from theoretical foundations by educators. The implementation of the ideas will enhance the development and learning of students. Nevertheless, the theories are far from perfect, and it is important to refine them. Evans et al. cover all of these concepts, and their examination of developmental theories is a significant contribution to the theoretical foundation of higher education.

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