Higher education is missing a critical element: A higher purpose

Robert Maranto is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership at the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. He has taught at ten colleges and universities, and produced 11 books, including “The Politically Correct University.”

He has written essays for us before and we are delighted to share another one from him:

By Robert Maranto

For the hundreds of college towns across America, like mine, it’s back to school time. Confused first year students and their parents snarl traffic and ask directions at every street corner. Our local economy depends on that spending.

For 18 million students, higher education offers a bit of everything, with dozens of majors, programs, certifications, clubs, institutes, study abroad opportunities, counselors, clinics, sports teams, Olympic swimming pools, rock climbing walls, bike paths, restaurants, and deans and deputy deans of every variety. Our local economy depends on that employment.

Unfortunately, the one thing higher education is missing is a higher purpose: Data show that today’s college students learn little. As Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa report in “Academically Adrift,” professors now do less teaching and mentoring of undergraduates, instead focusing on the status and income from grants and publications. Students have responded by spending a mean of 12 hours a week studying compared to 24 hours in 1961; even while “earning” far better grades from professors who do not take the time grade seriously. The lost study time is filled with jobs to pay for all those amenities and deputy deans, not to mention nice clothes and spring break in Cancun—all of which take precedence over learning. Politicians are all too happy to subsidize the college years since as Thomas Sowell wrote four decades ago, a young person asleep in class is a “student” while a young person asleep on the beach is unemployed. Generally speaking, politicians prefer the former statistic to the latter.

In the old Communist systems workers joked of party bosses: “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” Many college students might now say of their professors: “they pretend to teach us, and we pretend to learn.” Students are so disengaged from their studies that at public universities, only 29% graduate in four years, 55% in six years. As Richard Keeling and Richard Hersh show in “We’re Losing Our Minds,” unless colleges rediscover their purpose, they will evolve into diploma mills, and eventually fade away.

We professors must take back college. We must recreate a culture of intellectual engagement. Students are never as pliable as in the months before and after starting college, making this a unique time to influence them. Yet with our usual inattention to undergraduates, faculty leave orientation to student affairs administrators, who emphasize recreation, vocation, and politically correct victimization–not learning.

Faculty must take over student orientation, using it to communicate to students that they are lucky to attend college and are subsidized by others who cannot, that integrity matters, that the life of the mind is vital, and that with hard work they will grow smarter while with little work they will flunk out. Make the college “one book” Carol Dweck’s Mindset, which shows that intelligence grows with academic work. Students also need grounding in their school’s history and traditions, connecting themselves to something larger than themselves.

Orientation cannot work without follow-through showing that we really mean it, so our best rather than our worst faculty must teach first year courses. Those first courses must have high standards to set demanding expectations for the years ahead. Back in 1976 my first two grades at the University of Maryland were a C- and an F+. This unsubtle feedback clarified that unlike high school, college required effort. I buckled down, and eventually excelled. (Years later, I tracked down the professors who gave me the grades I deserved, and thanked them for their role in my success.) I want my kids to have that same experience.

Finally, colleges should be intellectual environments, yet they rarely hold debates on controversial matters like same sex marriage, affirmative action, progressive taxation, and America’s role in the world. Some academics presume that only “progressive” stands are acceptable. This sends a clear message that we do not value or even tolerate serious intellectual engagement and ideological diversity. Accordingly, colleges must sponsor regular debates on the same issues contested in the vibrant democracy of our host nation.

Since undergraduates constantly turn over, it would take only four years of this regimen to make any college an intellectual environment. Do any college leaders have the guts to go forward?

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

50 comments Add your comment

Michele

September 24th, 2012
3:27 am

This article addresses a trend I have seen brewing over the years. When I went to college in 1966 I knew of the high expectations I would meet in the university. All the emphasis was on learning and higher education. Today, as a teacher, I see that the emphasis is not there. The priority of most students going to college is to find the college that has the most outside activities to offer. Most students entering college have no idea why they are really there, nor do they know their intended major. A major does not come to the forefront until they have played around in college for a couple or few years of study. In recent years UGA was recognized as one of the top “party schools” in America. Wow, what a wonderful honor to receive. Yes, UGA has absolutely everything a student seeking a good time would want. What a waste for the taxpayers and the students. What a disaster for the parents paying their child’s way to school.

Where does this come from? In my opinion it all comes from the theory in America that every child deserves the opportunity to go to college. Our entire educational system is based upon the premise that every child can make it through college. Any clear minded individual with years of experience in life could be able to say that “not everyone should go to college.” However, if your intent is to look for other paths to personal success, the system treats you like a failure.

Take a look around the world and you will find that many of the top performing educational systems offer much more opportunity than the American system does. In Korea, for example, a student is tracked from day one. The better the grades they get, the more opportunity they achieve. Achievement is the key to a student’s future. In America, “everyone needs to go to college.” This is the basis for the failure of the American educational system. Not only are we denying our students with the diverse opportunities they should be given based upon their abilities. There are individuals out there who would be highly successful as a cabinet maker, a plumber, an electrician, or any of the myriad career paths that SHOULD be offered to our students. Only the best and the brightest should be given the opportunity to attend our universities, not everyone. America needs to wake up and challenge the universities that spend more on football than they do on physics. Our priorities as a nation are totally off track.

Dr. Proud Black Man

September 24th, 2012
4:53 am

“Our priorities as a nation are totally off track.” Couldn’t have said it any better.

Dunwoody Joe

September 24th, 2012
5:40 am

Maranto’s essay is very important and touches on several key issues at the heart of the undergraduate ” educational experience.” It opens the discussion about how higher education can regain its mission.

Maureen, how about a follow-up where leaders (Deans, etc) at our Georgia schools–public and private–comment on this essay and offer their ideas and perspective? It might be interesting to ask the leaders of some of the top public universities, the “Public Ivies”, to share their approach. There is plenty to learn from those institutions that have successful records with undergraduate education.

This topic has the potential to be tranformative.

Peter Smagorinsky

September 24th, 2012
6:01 am

If the author had actually tried to research his topic instead of writing a set of opinions, he’d know that the following claim is highly problematic: Students are so disengaged from their studies that at public universities, only 29% graduate in four years, 55% in six years.

Actually, the problem is that they can’t afford to go fulltime because state’s have reduced funding, which requires tuition hikes to cover expenses; and many students can only afford to go part time because they are working to pay for tuition and their other life expenses. It’s a financial problem, not one of engagement.

Some mighty lazy work there by the author.

redweather

September 24th, 2012
6:19 am

@Pete, thank you for pointing out what I would have thougt was obvious enough to warrant mention in the article.

“Back in 1976 my first two grades at the University of Maryland were a C- and an F+. This unsubtle feedback clarified that unlike high school, college required effort. I buckled down, and eventually excelled.”

Many of today’s students instead visit Ratemyprofessor.com and unload on the professor. Bad grades are simply never their fault.

bootney farnsworth

September 24th, 2012
6:23 am

@ MIchele

Delta is ready when you are. part of what makes this nation great is the ability and opportunity to take a shot at being the best you can be.

no promises, but the opportunity.

that we have a society where anyone can to go college if they wish is a good thing. no, its a great thing. it gives us something found nowhere else on earth – it obliterates the class and caste systems.

only is America is something to be proud of.

there is a major difference between not everybody should go and not everybody can have the opportunity to try. pity you can’t / won’t see this

mountain man

September 24th, 2012
6:30 am

A real issue is that college diplomas now are the substitute for high school diplomas. Since high school diplomas now are being given out to anyone who attends, without regard to whether they can ACTUALLY read or write, a college diploma has become a necessity. It used to be in our industry a smart person could work their way up the corporate ladder and become a manager without a college degree. Not so now – you have to have a four-year degree to be a manager. We also require ALL employees to have a high school education or GED. No dropouts, please.

Too many young people have to go to college because that is the only way to prove you have a basic education.

mountain man

September 24th, 2012
6:34 am

Another issue is that we give student loans to ANYONE – without a guarantee that they will be able to repay them. Student loans should be based on earning potential and major – and grades. Or else there should be a co-signer who has qualified for the loans.

Wilbur

September 24th, 2012
6:52 am

Wow, Peter. You say the problem with Higher Education is that we need to make it cheap but call someone else lazy.

Mortimer Collins

September 24th, 2012
6:57 am

In other words “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need (or needs)” with a smattering of politicaly correct stupidity.

bootney farnsworth

September 24th, 2012
7:07 am

while Moranto makes some good points, he also misses several obvious issues.

-life is a lot more complicated these days. it is no longer realistic to expect a kid can do college in four years. frankly, I’m not sure it was 30 years ago.

-college has too many built in distractions -and I’m not talking parties and football games- to make it easy to keep to schedule.
*too many schools require indentured servitude (service learning).
*coop and study abroad can actually slow down the process
*the old trick colleges use of having upper level classes scheduled at competing times.
*the skyrocketing costs of education require more people to work than ever before.

-colleges do indeed have a mission. self promotion

bootney farnsworth

September 24th, 2012
7:11 am

@ GPC we used to have faculty who made the same sort of “these minds have been touched by God”, and I am the living proof.

they wanted to see the offices of the president, finance, and advancement under the control of the faculty senate. yet when pushed for specifics, all they had to offer were cliches.

Out by The Pond

September 24th, 2012
7:32 am

Mountain man makes a valid point….a college degree has replaced the high school diploma. His mistake was assuming that by obtaining that sheep skin one has master the ability to read and write. My brother the college professor once told me of the students at Georgia State, ” one third have absolutely no business being there, one third could be there if they went some where else for two years and took remedial courses, and the last third are ham strung by the presence of the first two thirds.”

Solutions

September 24th, 2012
8:17 am

All this was covered in the book titled “The Five Year Party.” Here is a link to a web page about the book.

Solutions

September 24th, 2012
8:19 am

Opps, the link didn’t take above, I will try again: http://www.thefiveyearparty.com/

@ Michele

September 24th, 2012
8:27 am

“In Korea, for example, a student is tracked from day one. The better the grades they get, the more opportunity they achieve. Achievement is the key to a student’s future.”

How many Korean technological or cultural (besides “Gangnam Style”) innovations from the last century can you name?

Tommy gunn

September 24th, 2012
8:27 am

As a parent of three children in college, I could not agree more. We have colleges adding sports programs and other amenities that the students could care less about. We also have the teachers who would rather play the “tell me what I want to hear” game, and little instruction is given. It all seems an excersise in futility.

Solutions

September 24th, 2012
8:29 am

bootney farnsworth – When I earned a BS in engineering 40+ years ago, my degree program required 147 hours, today that same degree only requires 130 hours. What courses were dropped? The flunk out course, like fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, one of the electrical engineering courses, and dynamics. At least they kept statics, the precursor to dynamics, statics considers systems of loads that are not accelerating. Add acceleration, and things get a lot more complicated.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

September 24th, 2012
8:42 am

I have read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset and that is not a good summary of it. Nor would I push her work as the number 1 book on campus. A Mindset is about creating the worldview that will filter all experiences. I liked it much more when colleges transmitted knowledge and assigned readings and we created our own mindsets over time.

I do agree wholeheartedly that college is a wreck. The way I explain it to other parents is to look at even the elite schools to see it they are about transmitting knowledge or using college as a captive 4 year platform to change the motivating values, attitudes, and beliefs of the students.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/credential-inflation-how-reforming-higher-ed-with-learner-outcomes-can-damage-all-degrees/ is an old post of mine but it remains valid. Especially in Georgia where Jan Kettlewell originated the whole concept of P-16 back in the mid-90s. Unfortunately with all the Hope funding and property tax revenue from K-12, it can turn the student into a source of continued revenue for adults employed by the system. To be kept in school at any cost. The results is personal expectations for career success that cannot be met because neither K-12 or higher ed was trying to impart marketable knowledge or skills.

The learner-centered focus will simply make the problem of paper credentialling across the Board worse. And very expensive. Especially in the long term.

Whirled Peas

September 24th, 2012
8:54 am

A heck of a lot of kids in college have no business being there. They go to college because they are told they should and it beats working for a living. So when they get to college the first courses they have to take are remedial courses to learn what they should have learned in high school but didn’t. They graduate in 5 years with big debt and have a degree like Women’s Studies or Poetry and then wonder why they can’t find a job.

This Letter to the Editor appearing last month in the Cincinnati paper should be required reading for high school seniors and their parents.
http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012309070142

BHG

September 24th, 2012
8:58 am

bootney, you speak of co-op like it’s a bad thing, listing it in with a bunch of other “distractions.” I would argue that co-op is one of the best educational tools a college has, and it’s not used nearly enough. I learned more in the few semesters of my co-op job than I did in all my classes put together. Considering that I graduated with actual job experience on my resume and money in the bank (with no student-loan debt), I’d say I was much better prepared for adulthood than a lot of other graduates.

Yes, that means I didn’t graduate on the expected four-year plan, but that extra year was more than worth it.

Solutions

September 24th, 2012
9:14 am

BHG – You are absolutely right about Co-op, both my children participated in Co-op at Tech, and both got their first jobs as a direct result. One now makes over 200K a year plus a significant bonus, and the younger one makes over 100K. Without the Co-op they would not be where they are today. Not to mention, they were well paid in their co-op programs.

Solutions

September 24th, 2012
9:22 am

@MIchele – It is not about last Century, it is about 2013 and beyond. The well educated Giant Generation is retiring, subsequent generations are less well educated, especially in the technical subjects, with each generation weaker than the last. The best and brightest stopped majoring in the hard subjects like math, physics, chemistry, engineering and the like, and choose instead business via the MBA and law school. Today we have a glut on non quantitative MBA graduates and lawyers, all who want to be the leaders. The Asians are going to be the technological leaders in 2013 and beyond.

red herring

September 24th, 2012
9:35 am

good article. i believe that colleges spiraled out of control when we passed the hope scholarship. they viewed that as an opportunity to continue to request their normal state funding plus what their “bonus” of the hope scholarship money. The costs of a college education did not increase so rapidly prior to the hope being passed. Now college deans are fundraisers and every school in each college has one (forestry, vet, etc.) There is more fundraising than education. Colleges have built huge condominiums (called them dorms) and filled them with every amenity in the book so they could charge even more. In many cases students are forced by the colleges to live in these high rise luxury dorms even when they could find an apartment cheaper (or live with their parents while attending). College and high school administration have expanded greatly in their sheer numbers and salaries– god help us if we try to cut some of these positions or their incomes which in many cases far exceed our governor’s salary. Change must come as students nor their parents will be able to afford this long term. When college deans run to the legislature crying “we must have more money” they need to be told “NO—you need to live within your means and provide education rather than entertainment—-spend the money we give you more wisely”. What a novel concept—think that might work in Washington D.C. as well?

Rob

September 24th, 2012
9:37 am

Education is a bottom up problem. Universities are reacting to a swarm of ill prepared students.

the prof

September 24th, 2012
10:03 am

For oh so many, it’s “you can lead a horse to water…..”, but just occasionally you get the following in your email….
How are you? I hope you are doing well! I am in the middle of cramming for a histology test I have tomorrow and I just had to take a minute and send you a quick “thank you” email to let you know how beneficial your XXXXXXXXXX class was for me. It tremendously prepared me for dental school in so many ways. I wish all the classes I took at XXX were as helpful as yours. I feel like the difficultly level of your class combined with the volume of material is the most similar to dental school, and if I could I would recommend any pre-professional at XXXto take any of your classes!

Mountain Man

September 24th, 2012
10:06 am

“i believe that colleges spiraled out of control when we passed the hope scholarship”

I would agree with that statement but there is more to it than that. At the same time that more money was available via the HOPE scholarship, the State was also cutting back on its support. Then the colleges were building these “Taj Mahal” student learning centers and then charging outrageous “fees” for them (not covered by HOPE). Add to that book costs have also gone through the roof.

Atlanta Mom

September 24th, 2012
10:16 am

I believe the problem here is not the universities, but the parents. My children knew they were going off to school to get an education, not a four year vacation. They also know there is no more support after they get their degrees (in four years), so they better have a plan when they graduate.

William Casey

September 24th, 2012
10:38 am

Mountain Man is correct about fees and textbooks. Cost increases are astronomical. My son is a senior with the full Zell Miller Hope scholarship. Fees and texts run about $1,500 per semester.

William Casey

September 24th, 2012
10:40 am

@Solutions; thanks for the link. I just ordered “The Five Year Party.”

Ashley

September 24th, 2012
10:43 am

Picture this scenario, adult number one has two degrees and tons of experience, lost his job because of down-sizing, can’t find another job in this economy in his field of expertise. Adult number two played college football, got drafted after sophomore year, washed out after one season in the pros, no college degree or any other work skills. Now adult number three, graduated high school, vocational education taught him to be a plumber, messy work but he charges $75.00 an hour. Unfortunately the first two adults can’t afford to get their pipes fix. The moral is every high school graduate should have the privilege to attend college or any institution of higher learning, but should that be the only outlet for our future breadwinner, we will always need plumbers, electricians, and the blue-collar industry, who else is going to build your house or mega-mansion when the economy changes (lol)? Let stop making vocational and tech schools a dirty word.

NONPC

September 24th, 2012
11:26 am

This is too funny. Liberal arts colleges and degrees think that they (themselves) ARE “the higher purpose”.

williebkind

September 24th, 2012
12:47 pm

Maureen this is an excellent column. We need this kind of information printed everywhere. However, the tech schools are outperforming the Universities for the middle class. I find most college faculty prima donnas when engaging them about the learning curve of todays college students.

Ronin

September 24th, 2012
12:53 pm

I also agree with Mountain man. The cost of “higher education” has grown by multiples of the inflation rate. HOPE provides more customers to Georgia colleges as a base, the fees are simply out of control.

While the economy is down, look at some of the capital expenditures at many universities. Multi-million dollar student centers, gyms. Higher education is a “profit center” vs. an expense like k-12.

How is it that in k-12, which is free, that so little job skill related information can be taught. But, when you pay for two years of vocational or four years of college, you’ve actually got the credentials to be employable. Something is seriously wrong with our educational system. On second thought, it’s probably actually functioning the way the educrats want it to. It’s a business model to create k-12 jobs and same for “higher education”.

If you want to learn something, simply get a library card, (it’s free) and start your own company.

mountain man

September 24th, 2012
1:10 pm

“How is it that in k-12, which is free, that so little job skill related information can be taught.”

The best “job skill related information” is how to read, write, and do basic math. The problem is that employers are not going to be bothered with doing in-depth testing to see if your high school diploma means anything. They would rather just ask for a higher education degree.

mountain man

September 24th, 2012
1:11 pm

A “higher purpose” would be to teach as many students as possible as much as they can learn – but to do that you have to reduce the price of education so more can afford it.

Kristine

September 24th, 2012
1:14 pm

I agree that the undergraduate degree does not have the academic clout it once did. But it my family our parents required us (both my sister and I) to take a year off before college and volunteer or get full-time employment. They wanted us to know what the world was like and how hard it was, and most importantly not to go to college until you knew what you wanted to do. As my fater said, “Unfortunately work is 70% of your life, if you don’t like work, you’re going to bring it home to the 30% that you love, so make damn sure you love your job”. So we volunteered for City Year a National Youth Program that works in the inner cities. It turned out to be the best thing we ever did. We worked really hard, interviewed different people in professions we thought we might be interested, learned about the real world, and the real value of college. When we got to college we knew what a degree meant to us, we worked hard, did the extra work needed, and only went out when we budgeted time for such occasions.
I think all students after high-school should be required to have such a year-off, and also learn about finance because it seems no one teaches it to them.

Ole Guy

September 24th, 2012
1:34 pm

Howbout let’s knock off the circular discussions on this issue and face up to the real problem(s). The coils of political correctness have all but strangled the life out of education, be it at the hallowed levels of the college classroom, kndygarten, or anywhere in between. Believe it or not, the sole objective of the educational delivery process is not…repeat NOT entertainment…nor is it social appeasement, baby sitting, or anything resembling fun. IF, by pure chance, it just happens to fit any-or-all of those criteria while achieving the primary objective(s), well and good. When the kid, age 8, 18, or 28, walks into that classroom, the very last thing the kid should expect is FUN, followed by (perceived) fairness. What the kid SHOULD expect is the immediate responsibility of full participation in the whole damn educational saga; that includes (yes, dear helo parents) HOMEWORK…how much? Enough to 1) ensure full absorption of the day’s teachings, and 2) prepare for the next day’s work.

Is that too ole fashioned? Do we have to “understand” the “unique” problems faced by today’s youth? Do we have to “cut them some slack” in order that they might not feel overwhelmed by it all?

While these educational gurus, repleat with “impressive” alphabet-bound titles, produce such fine works, essays, and findings, you folks seem to want to…like ducks following the leader…gush with the oohs and aahs over the snake oil these “experts” crank out (in pursuit of the requirement of publishing any-and-all pop educational gibrish which happens to be the popular thoughts of the day).

Common frequin sense, people…these “findings” are like bad weather to the airman…it will always be with us. The ONLY way to (safely and efficiently) navigate through and around bad weather is through the DISCIPLINED approach to procedure; that procedure, in the educational community, can only be through the strict adhearance to STANDARDS…no ifs, ands, or buts; no special considerations; no dispensations for (what the pc crowd has annointed as…) at-risk. ONE STANDARD for EVERYONE. Unless, of course, you all don’t mind your kids spending their adult years in dismal despiration; in near-third world economic conditions.

You decide, and while you’re at it (if you can), sleep well.

Ronin

September 24th, 2012
1:45 pm

Mountain man, reading, writing and basic math should be mastered by sixth grade, eighth at latest. That would leave two to four years for vocational training. If they want to leave school at 16, 10th grade and know how to do plumbing or electrical work, have at it.

bootney farnsworth

September 24th, 2012
2:15 pm

@ BHG,

I’m not taking a stand on coop one way or another – just acknowledging it as one of many reasons why
getting out in four years is neither optimal or plausible.

bootney farnsworth

September 24th, 2012
2:19 pm

@ mountain man,

dead on. but its not just the HOPE. in the last 10 years there has been a steady reduction in the companies providing student loans. this benefited the gov’t, who is now somewhere between the biggest and only game in town.

just like health insurance, the more the gov’t becomes a player, the more costs are gonna escalate.

Mountain Man

September 24th, 2012
2:28 pm

“Mountain man, reading, writing and basic math should be mastered by sixth grade, eighth at latest.”

Should be, but isn’t. Thanks to social promotion, it often is not mastered by the end of the 12th grade. We don’t have the GHSGT anymore, but even when we did, you could get a variance after failing a few times. So like I sai – high school diplomas are worth about as much as toilet paper.

Hillbilly D

September 24th, 2012
2:48 pm

Now adult number three, graduated high school, vocational education taught him to be a plumber, messy work but he charges $75.00 an hour.

The $75 is the fee he charges, not what he profits. He has to pay his overhead out of that, trucks, tools, insurance, etc.

And if you think the $75 is too much, you can always fix your own plumbing.

Mountain Man

September 24th, 2012
3:44 pm

“And if you think the $75 is too much, you can always fix your own plumbing.”

I do – it saves me $75 per hour.

Pride and Joy

September 24th, 2012
7:18 pm

College is NOT about partying. It’s about football. Partying is just the side dish to go with the main entree — football.

Robert Evans

September 24th, 2012
7:27 pm

“This unsubtle feedback clarified that unlike high school, college required effort. I buckled down, and eventually excelled. ”

Back in ‘96 my grades were Cs and Bs. I dropped out. Then I dropped out again.

I always knew what I needed to excel, and never got it until it was too late to take advantage of it: lab work; a true apprenticeship.

Give students who would excel along their own course more opportunities. Don’t try to force mold them unless, like you, that is what they need.

I leave you with this 1975 article by Brian Martin: http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/76dialogue.pdf

“But worse than this, being forced to cover certain material and to take examinations sidetracks their interest and deadens their enthusiasm. After being required to study the course material, they do not feel so keen to follow their own interests in their own time. Thus the course material is doubly a waste of time, in that it is irrelevant in itself, and at the same time militates against spontaneous study and learning. And while John and Graeme can easily retain the integrated insights gained in their own studies, they are only too aware that they immediately forget what they were forced to learn.”

Robert Evans
IUPUI B.S. Biology, 8/2012
34 years old

High Schooler

September 24th, 2012
8:10 pm

I feel like I should offer my input.
As a high schooler with a 33 on the ACT, a 1920 on the SAT, and a 3.4 GPA (with a plethora of AP classes in my resume), I would like to throw it out there that I want to go to UGA. 
I COULD go anywhere I wanted. Maybe even an Ivy League. But I WANT to go to an in-state, public school.
No, I don’t want to go there because of the football. I’m a theater kid, sports don’t interest me.
No, I don’t want to go there because it’s a “family legacy” or what people might consider family influence. Both my parents went to and work at Tech, their rival.
No, I don’t want to go there because it’s one of the top party schools in the nation. With the double major AND minor I’m planning on getting, I won’t have much time to party.
Of course, I haven’t been to college yet, so I wouldn’t know anything about the workload or staff effort put forth. However, through my AP classes, I have experienced heavy workloads, sometimes requiring 6 hours of work a night (since all my core classes are currently AP). I have had the teachers that don’t care about my education, the ones that don’t know how to teach, and the special few that invest in me as a student seeking knowledge. Those teachers are always the ones that give the most homework, and those who don’t are the ones that can’t teach, but that has also taught me to do my own outside work to learn what I need to know for the AP tests. I feel pretty prepared, hopefully that’s enough.
As an all-AP student, I would like to say that the HOPE GPA is too low. I feel like it should be somewhere around 3.5 (and yes, I realize that this means I wouldn’t get it in my current situation). We are spending too much money on the HOPE given to the “students” who take all regular, easy classes and get all As. Perhaps it requires weighting the honors as .5 more points and 1 whole point extra for AP/IB classes, but those who take the more challenging curriculum should be rewarded with more money from the state, and the snoozers who sit through class and doodle should have to pay their own way if they want to go to college and party. It makes me mad to see the kids that don’t try get the Zel Miller scholarship because of an all-regular class transcript and know that I am struggling to get HOPE in my all-AP curriculum. 
In short, I am going to college for the right reasons, and it’s insulting to see people make assumptions about students today when not all of us are destined to flip burgers with nothing more than a degree in partying. Because of those “students”, opportunities for those qualified are diminishing, or even disappearing altogether.

UGA Student

September 25th, 2012
3:05 am

GPA only matters for Business students and Grad School…pretty much every other major requires a beefier resume with outside experience. I have a 3.1 but already have an offer in my field (the crapshoot known as Music Business), because I put myself out there, proved that I can be a go-getter should it be necessary, proved my knowledge and passion for quality music and the numbers that go into it, and now I’m arranging a regional tour for a band out of Athens.

Jason

September 25th, 2012
1:44 pm

Yet another harkening back to a “good old days” that didn’t really exist except in the memories of those who lived it. Funny how we only remember the best aspects of the good old days.

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