Education is singular in it's ability to change lives for the better. Everyone, regardless of age, vocation or avocation has the potential to experience a higher quality of life through the acquisition of the right knowledge.
Many Paths to Knowledge
There are many paths to knowledge, and some may be better than others for each specific person. In the US today students can go to community colleges, liberal arts colleges, or research universities. They can choose between public and private, large or small, focused or broad. Not to mention the hundreds of alternative education paths some people use to great success including MOOCs, apprenticeships and other training or certification programs.
There are many right answers, but we know the one answer that is always wrong:
Students should never graduate college with a crippling amount of debt they can never pay off.
Debt For the Right Reasons
Debt, in and of itself, isn't necessarily bad if incurred in the pursuit of a career that will allow you to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time. Outside of that , students should strongly consider one of the many alternative paths most Americans are fortunate to have access to.
Far too many students don't receive that counsel, and many of those that do choose not to heed it.
We need to get outside of the narrow viewpoint that a four-year, residential experience is the only way to educate students.
Yes, that form of education is good for some students. But promoting it to all students comes at a cost. It is simply not a good fit for many, yet society often makes those that choose a different path feel inadequate.
This needs to change.
Change Starts at Home
A four-year, residential college experience should not be the "default" option. It it often accepted as the goal of a secondary school to get as many kids into a four-year college as possible.
The right goal is to help every student realize their own unique full potential through whatever educational path will best accomplish that.
This pressure for every student to go to a four-year school is often driven by parents. That said, college advisors have an important role to play in changing that perspective. That is often easier said than done, which is why advisors need to be armed with tools that can help them make their points.
Helping Families to See All Their Options
The four-year option is often the default in many peoples minds because it is the known option. If a parent or advisor didn't take an alternative path, then it can be hard for them to envision what that might look like or what it would mean for their student.
We need to create tools that help model out the various choices each student has to make them real. We need to help families see the various options they have and their pros and cons in order to ensure that each student chooses the path that is best for them.
Are you interested in joining us in this quest?