I’m scheduled to deliver the commencement address Friday at my alma mater, Grambling State University in Louisiana, so I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to the America into which these students are graduating.
I must admit that finding hopeful, encouraging things to say has been exceedingly difficult, in part because the landscape at the moment — particularly for young adults — is so bleak.
Here are some of the facts that I’m up against rhetorically and that these students will be up against more literally.
1. Being a college graduate is becoming less exceptional. As the Pew Research Center pointed out in November, “Record shares of young adults are completing high school, going to college and finishing college.” College graduation rates are growing even more in other countries. And Anya Kamenetz noted in The Atlantic magazine in December, “During the past three decades, the United States has slipped from first among nations to 10th in the percentage of people holding a college
Parenting would be so much easier if we could just give our children the fruits of all our hard-earned experience, and they would accept it, and go off on their young lives using our middle-aged knowledge as their template.
But of course there are many things that each person just has to learn for him or herself out of toil and agony; no amount of those items on a parents’ life list will change what a child knows.
If I could just pass my own experiences on, as I did my genes, I would let my college applicant daughter know: rejection is a process. You apply, get rejected, improve the application, and reapply elsewhere or differently.
Rejection isn’t a bad thing or something to be afraid of. It is part of life, something everyone, no matter how successful or talented, will experience.
An artist recently spoke to the seniors and parents at my daughter’s high school and told those assembled that she usually had to apply to nine things
This week, the last of the high school seniors who have yet to make up their minds about where they’re going to college in the fall, will finally put their deposit check in the mail and end the college search process that for some began years ago.
So much time, effort and money goes into picking the right college, but then too many students fail to engage in the process that follows: getting ready for their first year and figuring out what they want to get out of the entire college experience. It’s why some 400,000 students drop out of college each year and why one-third of students now transfer at least once before earning a degree.
One of the decisions you’ll need to make early on — if you haven’t already — is picking a major. Choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life is fraught with anxiety for many students, so you’re not alone if you have no idea what to choose.
The end of April is in sight, and this can only mean one thing: the National Candidate Reply Date is approaching.
On May 1, accepted students must notify one college of their intent to enroll by submitting a deposit. As such, high school seniors are jet-setting around the country to attend “yield events” at the colleges to which they were admitted. After months, nay years, of efforts to impress colleges, the tables have turned and students have the opportunity to be courted by my colleagues in admissions.
For many students, the college choice represents the first time that they have had to make a weighty decision. Each individual reacts to this reality in his or her own way. For some, the perceived grandeur of this selection is almost paralyzing. Others set about methodically, determining the pros and cons of each institution as though a single rubric and maybe a bit of calculus will facilitate the task.
No matter what process you select to aid your discernment, the following might be
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dazzled by the potential of free online college classes, educators are now turning to the gritty task of harnessing online materials to meet the toughest challenges in American higher education: giving more students access to college, and helping them graduate on time.
Nearly half of all undergraduates in the United States arrive on campus needing remedial work before they can begin regular credit-bearing classes. That early detour can be costly, leading many to drop out, often in heavy debt and with diminished prospects of finding a job.
Meanwhile, shrinking state budgets have taken a heavy toll at public institutions, reducing the number of seats available in classes students must take to graduate. In California alone, higher education cuts have left hundreds
He left his job at Microsoft in 1999 to found the charity, which has opened 15,000 libraries and 1,600 schools and published more than 850 original children’s books. It has also enrolled 20,000 girls in a program just for girls’ education. Room to Read is now the size of a corporation itself, with 10,000 volunteers in 53 cities.
Q. Where did the idea come from?
LONDON — It was not the most relaxed of cocktail parties. Teachers and administrators — who had been running down corridors and stressing out in elevators between job interviews in recruiters’ hotel rooms — were sipping pints of beer and glasses of wine, scanning the room nervously.
The International Schools Services Recruiting Conference in San Francisco in 2012. While job fairs are still a big part of recruiting teachers, more schools are also using video conferencing to do long-distance interviews.
As recruiters from international schools lined up at the cash bar at a Hilton, their perspective future employees watched for any signals that they might have landed jobs.
Here’s a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families. Students growing up in richer families have better grades and higher standardized test scores, on average, than poorer students; they also have higher rates of participation in extracurricular activities and school leadership positions, higher graduation rates and higher rates of college enrollment and completion.
Whether you think it deeply unjust, lamentable but inevitable, or obvious and unproblematic, this is hardly news. It is true in most societies and has been true in the United States for at least as long as we have thought to ask the question and had sufficient data to verify the answer.
Elise Amendola/Associated Press
LONDON — At least I didn’t have to whack anybody.
When I told a cousin that I was taking my daughter to look at U.S. colleges this spring she sent me a DVD of “The Sopranos” episode in which Tony, embarking on a similar tour, encounters a former associate and strangles him with a length of wire while his daughter is visiting Colby. Although Maine is home to several superb schools, it seemed safer to skip the whole state.
In the second week of April, Cornell hosted a celebratory luncheon for Tata Scholars at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.
My parents and I flew down to Mumbai to meet the other Tata Scholars and Lee Melvin, the associate vice provost for enrollment at Cornell. On the evening we arrived, we were treated to dinner at an expensive restaurant. The next afternoon, the formal luncheon took place. It was informative and enjoyable.
On the flight back home, I could not help but calculate the cost of the weekend. Although it was very generous of Cornell and the Tata program to host the all-expenses-paid luncheon, I cringed a little when I realized that this one weekend cost as much as I will need to earn from my on-campus job during freshman year.