Monday, September 3, 2018

How to Go to College: Now and in the Future

Today I find myself thinking about college students. My dear niece is crossing the country in a week to start college, and I just had lunch with a former student of mine who graduated in May. Both of them are excited, but also anxious and unsure about the changes ahead. 

It is so good to talk to them because it keeps me from using the lens of my own experience from a few decades ago. Sure, there are some things that never change about college: newfound independence, new friends, the excitement of thinking you are thinking original thoughts... but let me tell you, as someone who has worked with students for over 30 years, and dips her toe into adjunct instruction about once a year, that SO MANY things are so different now. I'm passing along three helpful resources to help you tune in (and wake up!) to what is going on for college students in 2018 and beyond. Take a few minutes to read them over. I think some things will take your breath away.

Medical Students Aren't Going to Class. The headline for this article says it all. If you aren't convinced to read further, check this out: "According to 2017 data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, about one-fourth of medical students reported that they 'almost never' went to class during their first two years of medical school. Instead of attending lectures, students are turning to online learning tools such as SketchyMedical, a company that produces online visual memory tools to help students memorize and retain minutiae and vocabulary." All I can say is... "SketchyMedical"?? God save us all.

Cost of College in 2036. I had dinner with two friends who have an ADORABLE nine-month old baby boy. I will not be showing them this article....

Perhaps it doesn't need to be said, but my total costs for my freshman year in 1979 was $4,000. Yep - dorm, food, tuition, books. Granted, that was a public university, but to read that it will cost today’s newborns a whopping $302,700 ($75,675/year) to attend a four-year private college in 2036 is just flabbergasting! Parents are advised to set aside $980/month for the next 18 years in a 529 for their children to be able to pay for college. Gulp.

‘A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College’. Just when you want to go off the grid to live off the land rather than keep up with the insanity, rest assured that this article is good news. And while you're at it, read this one as well: 6 trends shaping the near and far future of higher edI'm not gonna lie, get ready to Google some (OK, many) terms as you read these articles, because there are some terms in here I sure had to look up ("OER"?? "nanodegrees"? "digital badges"?!), but it is worth the work to get up to speed on many of the disruptive trends happening in higher education right now. Word to the wise: do not be intimidated; rather, dive in to the deep end of the pool and start paddling.

EXTRA GOODIE! "How I Got Into College" on This American Life. Your brain (and your wallet?) might feel a little worn out after a couple of these posts, so here is something that will help you laugh a little bit and lean into a good story. Set aside some time to listen to this one.

Let me know if you have any feedback or questions. I'm here to help! Thanks for reading.

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