Can we afford to leave this glass half full?

Can we afford to leave this glass half full?

A lot has been written about the challenges of helping first-year, post secondary students persist to graduation.  Low persistence rates mean fewer students graduate and enter the workforce as skilled workers. In this sense, our ability to increase persistence has a direct impact on the quality of our workforce and our ability to compete in the future global economy. We’ve written a white paper on this subject, The Need for First Year Experience Programs, that summarizes research on the effectiveness of First Year Experience programs for those institutions still on the fence about offering a robust, accredited program to all entering freshmen. In short, here’s what we learned: According to the Lumina Foundation, there will be a consistent, and widening, gap between the millions of jobs in the future requiring at least a 2-year degree, and the supply of college graduates to fill those jobs. The economic opportunity glass, if you will, will be left unfilled if we do nothing. Filling this gap will require that we prepare more high school students to be “college ready” and increase their persistence on to post secondary graduation. A review of literature on robust, first year programs designed to support students and increase their persistence suggests that these programs are effective. A non-empirical review of the programs currently available to students reveals that many institutions offer a freshman orientation course, usually taking a single day of information on healthy living habits and reviewing the institution’s student conduct code.  Other institutions offer remedial courses in math or English and consider this enough. In our opinion, neither approach is completely adequate. The first year programs that...
When it comes to college…make it count

When it comes to college…make it count

With annual tuitions for two and four year public/private colleges ranging from $3,300 to $31,000 according The College Board, going to college is more than just a casual decision.   Add room and board to this number and you getting into serious money. And when you multiply the total cost of attending a 4-year institution by four years, the investment can range between $80,000 and $160,000 just for tuition. That’s if you graduate in 4 years….most people don’t according to this report by ACT, a national college readiness organization. This makes your college decision an investment decision that involves your time, and money. Given the high stakes, how can you make the most of your college education? Here are three things to consider when thinking about your college investment: How well do you know yourself, your personality, skills, interests and talents? Most college counselors know that beyond declaring a major early, understanding who you are is one of the most important factors behind a successful college career. Knowing who you are and understanding the range of opportunities before you helps you make better decisions. How well do you understand the earning potential of the major/career you are interested in? All of the time and money you’re investing in your college degree should be weighed against the financial return you can expect for this investment. This isn’t to say that money per se should drive your decisions, but that you should be aware of the implications of the decisions you make. This is especially true if you are going to be depending on student loans to finance college because you’re going...