Rethinking the College Commitment: Issues Today Are Too Big To Ignore

The most dangerous thought a parent can have today about their child going to college is “I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about mine going off to school because he or she grew up in the right environment, doesn’t use drugs and hangs out with the right kids.” Parents, including me, would do well to remember that we are exposed to only a small fraction of our children’s thought life. As they get older, we are exposed to less about how they use their personal time. And while our predictions regarding them might often be accurate, being wrong about even one thing can be overwhelming – even disastrous.

Consider the sobering evidence regarding college today:

1. Drop Out Rates are a Catastrophe! The college drop-out rate is twice as bad as the high school drop-out rate, and the high school drop-out rate is terrible. Approximately, 25% of all high school students don’t graduate (Colin Powell’s colleagues say so and the evidence bears it out). The rate is close to 50% for college students (and for some schools it is substantially higher than 50%) based on graduations rates after six years of college, not four. You don’t want to see the four year rates.

2. How Much Debt Can You Stand? The average college student leaves their higher education experience between $25,000 – $35,000 in debt whether they graduate or not Best Food For Students. That’s the average. Student loan debt in the United States surpasses all credit card debt – over $1,000,000,000,000 (trillion). Worse, the amount continues to grow.

3. What Happened to My 6,000 Hours? A student who leaves college after two years has invested up to 6,000 hours of their life in an endeavor that failed. Failing, in and of itself, is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, failure is often a great teacher. Here is the problem: The political, social, educational and banking system enculturate youth and families that you cannot be successful in life without a college degree. The sad situation now is that almost half of those we send to college fail at the primary venture society says they must succeed at to be successful in life.

4. Major Research Says Learning is Not Happening at College? According to Dr. Richard Arum (University of New York) and Dr. Josipa Ropka (University of Virginia), students are completing their junior year of college with virtually no net increase in learning. In their book, Academically Adrift, they demonstrate that the overall volume of reading and writing-based homework expected of college students is the lowest it has been in a generation. Even with the decreased work, graduation rates are still abysmal. Arum wrote over 10,000 presidents and university leaders addressing the issues within the past two years, and there has been virtually no response from the educational community.


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