A college degree has become the perceived standard prerequisite to health, happiness, economic survival, and social mobility. But the promises of a four-year college degree are not always fulfilled, caution Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski in this Education Week Commentary. Rising tuition leaves many graduates with heaping debt and uneven instructional quality does not always pave the way to financial independence. What’s more, many of the emerging jobs available to young graduates will require certificates and technical degrees, and not a standard four-year college degree, they write.
While most high schools have increased their efforts to gain students’ entry into the collegiate promised land, they have not necessarily equipped students with the skills needed to succeed once they arrive. At the same time, colleges are not prepared for many of the nontraditional students they will be enrolling—and have not even begun to implement transitional programs and pathways that would accommodate these students. These disconnects illustrate how the college promise often fails to consider the necessary ingredients of long-term success. Colleges, high schools, and policymakers must consider these realities if they want to promote an educated, engaged citizenry across socioeconomic and racial divides, according to Washor and Mojkowski.
What do you think? Has the college imperative been oversold? Should more thought be given to high school transitions?
A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.