For years parents have come to me with the same concern. Their children are struggling to find direction after graduating from college. The kids don’t know what to do, and their parents don’t know how to help. And they’re not alone.
Consider these statistics cited in a recent Forbes article.
- A national Pew survey says 57% of prospective college students believe college is no longer worth the tuition it charges.
- Seventy-five percent of respondents believe a college degree is unaffordable.
- An Inside Higher Ed survey of chief academic officers revealed that 96% believed their universities “were doing a good job.”
- In sharp contrast a Gallup survey showed 14% of the American public, and only 11% of business leaders, strongly agreed that graduates have the necessary skills and competencies to succeed in the workplace.
The subject shifted to challenges the parents face communicating with their children about life plans. Over and over again I see good intentions of parents, students and teachers, but the delivery is missing the mark.
Here is an example: 22 year old female, graduated high school with 104 average. She is in her last semester of her BA at a State University with a 4.0 GPA. Sounds good right? But in a few weeks she could face the real world and have to take her resume to the market. She has no job experience. No certification or professional license. No clear career path. No job leads. And no plan other than more school…her major of choice, communications. So for 3 months, before school bails her out of the real world for two more years, she will work as a server to pay for beer. Maybe grad school on the same campus will get her there…what do you think?
I’ve seen this too many times for it to be an exception, it is more like the majority. At the least, we are facing a recurring a problem.
I don’t want to point at the education system and say you suck. But…
I mean I was a teacher, a coach, and a professor. I helped K-12 and University students everyday for years. It’s meaningful work, I’m not knocking the teachers. Education is by no means an utter failure. But the higher education system is failing many people.
The burden of misguided college isn’t just wasted time, it’s a financial burden for most.
But it’s missed opportunity for all!
While the K-12 stakeholders are preoccupied struggling to establish standardized testing. Our youth need testing that complements the curriculum and facilitates academic success, independent thinking, and creative problem solving. Not testing that drives the curriculum teaching to a test and not the student.
Higher education and academia can be split. Professors who tend to focus on theory, history, research, and publications. College administrators and program managers care about keeping their budget. Education is bureaucratic, change is resisted and slow.
For 6 years I’ve worked in corporate America everyday, working with Fortune 100 executives and private business owners. They are looking for lean, not unproductive. Efficient, not incompetent. Proactive, not reactive. Experts, not rookies.
Since 2002 the entrepreneur in me has been asking questions.
- What do you want to achieve?
- What are your struggles?
- What did you do to make it easier?
- How can I help more people be successful?
Bringing it all together
There is good news, this is not about blame or pointing a finger at the system.
YOU CAN MAKE COLLEGE WORK FOR YOU!
College is not on autopilot, there is no guarantee.
Take control. Decide how you want to spend your time.
Be responsible. Learn to dictate life and be decisive.
Think about quality of life and your financial needs.
Explore career options and gain field experience.
Take advantage of campus resources
Grab the wheel, hit the gas, and start driving your life forward. Where do you want to be? How will you get there? What resources are available? Who will hold you accountable?
What do students need to transition into professionals?
Take the next step: Watch a 3 minute video introduction
Michael Spence has teaching experience, parental instincts and a passion for helping others. Michael shares his knowledge and experiences to help students and parents receive all the benefits a college experience can provide.