Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Are you sure you want to pursue a college degree?

Chronicle of Higher Education
Among high-school students who graduated in the bottom 40 percent of their classes, and whose first institutions were four-year colleges, two-thirds had not earned diplomas eight and a half years later. That figure is from a study cited by Clifford Adelman, a former research analyst at the U.S. Department of Education and now a senior research associate at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Yet four-year colleges admit and take money from hundreds of thousands of such students each year!

Even worse, most of those college dropouts leave the campus having learned little of value, and with a mountain of debt and devastated self-esteem from their unsuccessful struggles.
Free Exchange Economist.com
Pedro Carneiro and Sokbae Lee found as more people pursued higher education the quality of a typical college graduate decreased. The relative scarcity of quality graduates can explain the premium to higher education rather than the total number of graduates. This suggests some incurred the cost of post secondary education, but did not reap its premium. It may also explain why post secondary enrolment increased, but so did drop out rates. Workers might have recognized the value of education and initially pursued it. But, they soon realised the returns to the education they actually had access to was not substantial enough to warrant time away from the labour market.
These studies are from the US. My experience in the UAE is that similar results hold. I would emphasize, though, that not all high schools are the same. If you had a choice of high schools, and you did not choose the more challenging school you are likely to be in for a tough time -- and a long stay (or drop out) -- in a college that expects you to perform.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous fellow a said...

I graduated from one of Bahrain's public high schools. I have found that American universities don't really expect much from their students. This is especially true when it comes to mathematics. However, this easy ride doesn't last for very long and the university expects you to bridge a massive gap between American high school education and university expectations.

I have seen American students struggle to keep up. The opposite happens here. Universities do not readily admit students, but once admitted, fail to challenge them throughout their entire educational process.

3:33 PM  

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