Old People Love to Try to Give Young People the Answers, if Only Just to Feel Like Their Age is Useful Somehow

What would you tell your high school self?

by: Sarah Stroup (Q4Colleges.com)

Dear Sarah,

I am Sarah of the future writing to you to provide you (us?) with some perspective on how your life right now will look once you are seven or eight years down the road.  If you are tired of people trying to tell you what to do, how to think, and who to be, then I don’t blame you.  Old people love to try to give young people the answers, if only just to feel like their age is useful somehow.  If you are already annoyed enough to stop listening, then it’s possible that you don’t need my advice because you already have enough confidence in yourself to go get yourself into scrapes, have adventures, and prosper.  Ultimately, that’s what I want to say to you anyway. Continue reading “Old People Love to Try to Give Young People the Answers, if Only Just to Feel Like Their Age is Useful Somehow”

Life Is Never What You Expect It To Be, And That’s Okay

What would you tell your high school self?

by Adrienne Rodney (Q4Colleges.com)

Hi Adrienne,

You probably have an idea (or wish) of what life will be like at 32. I’m sure you’re very successful (you want to be a publicist, right?), thin, educated and probably married with children. I’m sure you also got to where you wanted to be by 27. Am I right? Is this what you imagine?

Unfortunately life doesn’t work the way you want it to. That doesn’t mean life is worthless, just that what you envision is not always reality.

Life at 32 will be NOTHING like you think it will be, but that’s okay. There are some lessons I’ve learned along the way that I’d like to pass to you.

1. Don’t let others make important decisions for you.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. You’re going to want to Continue reading “Life Is Never What You Expect It To Be, And That’s Okay”

The Narrowing of the American Mind

Are we preparing students for the professional world?

By Carol Geary Schneider (AAC&U)

Envision this: You’re an employer, interviewing a candidate for an entry-level position in your unit. The applicant is very direct.

“I’m in it for the money,” she explains. “I make all my choices on the basis of how much I can expect to earn. I chose my major based on earnings reports. I applied for this particular position because you pay more than any other company in the region. Actually, I’m a bit sorry that I didn’t stop with a two-year degree, since I read in the newspaper last week that I could have made almost as much in my first job with half the time spent on college. I hate thinking about all the time I wasted.”

You have no difficulty deciding not to hire this new graduate. The job applicant who arrives talking money first, money only, lacks common sense, and career sense, too.

And yet our candid candidate did Continue reading “The Narrowing of the American Mind”

Into the Future With MOOC’s

How will open online courses affect the future of education?

By Kevin Carey (New America Foundation)

In the spring of my freshman year in college, I took “Principles of Microeconomics” in Lecture Hall 1, a 400-seat auditorium. The professor was an economist and thus possessed a certain perspective on human nature. On the first day of class, he explained that our grades would be based on two midterms and a final. If we skipped the first midterm, the second would count double. If we skipped them both, the final would count for 100 percent of our grade. I may or may not have waited until the hour ended before walking out the back door of Lecture Hall 1 toward the nearest bar.

Fifteen weeks later, suddenly mindful of various dire warnings from my father about passing grades, continuing financial support, and the strong connection between them, I cracked my Continue reading “Into the Future With MOOC’s”

Perhaps Someday We Can Forgive Our Common Enemies

What would you tell your grandchildren?

by Brooke Allen (Q4Colleges)

 

Dear Grandchildren,

You and we have a common enemy: your parents.

This is just the natural order of things. Parents and children put each other through hell everywhere. Your dysfunctional family is no big deal.

Think about it. You imagine you are the center of the universe even though you can’t even wipe your own butt. Unless your parents sell you into slavery, you cost way more than you are worth. The reason babies are cute is because otherwise parents would kill them.

And your parents are the Devil incarnate. They are hell-bent on controlling you – telling you what to do, how to do it, and what to think. Even if by some miracle you feel your parents are not idiots it is only because they are good at manipulating you. If children were not dependent on their parents they would kill them. Continue reading “Perhaps Someday We Can Forgive Our Common Enemies”

Is Cheating by Colleges Just Another Clever Marketing Ploy?

Should “caveat emptor” be the operative philosophy when we  market to students, or should we hold ourselves to a higher standard than, say, a car manufacturer?

by Brooke Allen (Q4Colleges.com)

Emory University confessed that for 11 years it has been fudging data it sent in for U. S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings. The publisher said that, “Our preliminary calculations show that the misreported data would not have changed the school’s ranking in the past two years (No. 20) and would likely have had a small to negligible effect in the several years prior.” (Read the article here.)

This second confession by U. S. News only serves to prove that their ranking methodology is deeply flawed. Since integrity is such a major part of character, confessed cheating should drop you to Dead Last in the rankings, and a cover-up should get you barred altogether pending review by the accrediting authorities. Continue reading “Is Cheating by Colleges Just Another Clever Marketing Ploy?”

My mission is to be of meaningful help to my people. But who are “my people?”

What is your mission?

by: Brooke Allen (Q4Colleges.com)

My personal mission is to be of meaningful help to my people.

Who are “my people” exactly? If I were Armenian I might consider my people to be Armenians or if I were a lesbian then they might be lesbians.

I am neither of those.

I’m a 59-year-old Caucasian male with a mostly useless master’s degree.

And my people are over-educated Westerners.

This mission came to me after Continue reading “My mission is to be of meaningful help to my people. But who are “my people?””

We collect essays from people who care about higher education.

Go HERE to submit original essays, suggest topics, and refer us to previously published work (by you or others).

Questions are followed by author’s last names which link to their essays.

Advice

  • How do you get the most out of college? Strow, Perry, Ramirez 
  • How does a poor student become a good one? Halfon
  • How can you write better? Toor, Elbow
  • How can we communicate more effectively? Jones
  • How can you become a better learner? Krebs
  • What kind of schools should students consider? Henderson  
  • How do you even decide to go to college or not? White
  • Suggest a question.

Wisdom

Critical Thinking

  • What should colleges teach? Schwartz/Sharpe, Allen 
  • Is higher education improving or going down hill? Wolin, Goldrick-Rab, Ramaley, Schwartz 
  • Is graduate school worth it? Seligman
  • Are students learning the best way? Poe, Jaffee, Stavans
  • Are we preparing students for the professional world? Shapiro, Schneider
  • How can students and faculty improve their interaction? Toth
  • Is higher education the best thing for everyone? Yaffe
  • Are too many students going to college? Williams
  • Is imitation a form of flattery – or stealing? Cohen
  • Do we need to pay for knowledge? Rubin 
  • How much do students know? Dolby
  • How will open online courses affect the future of education? Carey, O’Donnell
  • Is competition good? Potter
  • Where is higher education headed? Martin, Spar, Williams
  • Are we evaluating colleges the right way? HurtadoHauptman  
  • Is the admissions process a good one? Schwartz, White 
  • How should higher education be funded? Urgo  
  • What do academics do wrong? Lang, Jenkins, Goldstein 
  • Do we have a moral obligation to care about our students’ futures? Cassuto
  • Are our students the customers, the product, or something else? Schlesinger 
  • Who gets to be on top? Haag, Espenshade, Wilson
  • Are colleges doing research the right way? Schell
  • How should higher education be funded? Loss
  • Is our college here for the students or are the students here for us? (awaiting submission)
  • Should our college game the U. S. News rankings? (awaiting submission)
  • How is our reputation different from reality? (awaiting submission)
  • Should “caveat emptor” be the operative philosophy when we  market to students, or should we hold ourselves to a higher standard than, say, a used car dealer? Allen
  • Do we have a fiduciary responsibility to put our student’s best financial interests ahead of our own? (awaiting submission)
  • What, if anything, should a diploma from our college mean other than having passed a minimum number of courses?  (awaiting submission)
  • Suggest a question.

College Admissions Essays

Just for fun, we are collecting both wacky and wonderful college admissions essay topics and answers HERE.