Is college ready for you? Part 3

Jeff Selingo, former editor in chief for The Chronicle of Higher Education, has written a book that every educator and every parent of a college age student should read.  It’s called There is Life After College (2016), and it synthesizes his discoveries from two years of interviewing the country’s top employers and colleges, as well as families of college aged students.

I had the good fortune to hear Selingo speak at an event a couple of months ago, during which he cited this Chronicle survey.  In Life After College he adds this insight:

“While some sort of degree remains the foundation of a successful life and career, other coming-of-age, real-world experiences in the late teens and early twenties--particularly apprenticeships, jobs, or internships--actually matter more nowadays in moving from college to a career.”

How much more do they matter?  Real world experiences (internships, employment, volunteering, and extracurriculars) constitute 66% of what employers consider most important in a recent college graduate.  Colleges have known this since at least the 2014 Chronicle survey.

This is congruent with what 5000 global hiring managers reported to the World Economic Forum when they were asked to cite the ten most important skills for their workforce in the year 2020. With the exception of "critical thinking," none of the other ten skills is likely to be a learning outcome in the typical college class.

Have colleges designed the experiences of their students to meet that 66%, to meet those top 10 skills?






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Christian Talbot