A recent post, 5 Ways to Make College a Success by the Gallup Organization, is right on target.
Here is what they said are the 5 specific ways to make your continuing education worth the effort:
- A postsecondary degree is a net positive only if it is well focused to the individual
- Don’t get a Bachelor’s degree by default
- Keep Student Loan debt to a very minimum
- Question of the value of “prestigious” schools, and 5) When you learn pay close attention to what you are actually learning.
Here is the quote from them is below.
The thing I would add to their point #5 on maximizing your college effort is, you need to figure out your “Core Competencies” as soon as you can. You need to have a plan to feed your Core Competencies. You need to take classes that feed your competencies and you need to take classes from Teachers in your Core Competencies. I have an iBook on this topic. http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1069685032.
What follows is the best advice from our research — some of it counterintuitive — for making the most of college.
- Get a postsecondary credential or degree. But don’t feel like you need to do this until you have a clear — or somewhat clear — idea of your goals. People who graduated from college at a later age were less likely to regret their education paths. In fact, think about career and life goals first. Then think about where you want to go and the majors and fields of study that align with those. Thendecide how much you are willing to spend — or take out in loans — on your education. Many Americans do all of this backward today.
- Don’t pursue a bachelor’s degree by default. There are many paths to a great career and fulfilling life, including earning technical and career certificates, associate degrees, etc. And you can always stack credentials and degrees over time. Associate degree holders, for example, are more likely than bachelor’s degree holders to strongly agree that they have the ideal job for them and that they are deeply interested in their work.
- Don’t take on more than $25,000 in total student loan debt.Graduates with student loan debt over $25,000 have lower overall well-being and are more likely to regret their education decisions.
- Question the value of attending prestigious, highly selective and high-priced colleges and universities. They actually provide little (at best) to no (at worst) advantage in being engaged in your job and in your life outcomes (thriving in your well-being). Nor do they reduce the chances of feeling education regret. College is much more about what you make of it — how you take advantage of your education — than the type of institution you attend.
- When you actually attend college, make sure you do the things listed below. Grads who hit the marks on these double their odds of being engaged at work and having thriving well-being later in life:
- As best you can, pick professors, not courses. Seek professors who have reputations for being amazing teachers and mentors.
- Invest in a mentor. This goes both ways — someone who agrees to or offers to mentor you, as well as someone you feel is worth the investment of your time.
- Find a job or internship where you can apply what you’re learning, or work to connect what you’re learning to your current job.
- Take at least a couple of courses that involve long-term projects requiring a semester or more of work to complete.
- Don’t try to “pad your resume” with a long list of extracurricular activities; get deeply, lastingly engaged in at least one.
Postsecondary education is a powerful pathway to a great job and a great life — but only if you make the most of it. Spread this advice to everyone you know. After all, it comes from the wisdom of hundreds of thousands of students and alumni.
Prior to the domestication of the electron, we had to go to “bricks and mortar” buildings and campuses to learn.
But, today, you don’t have to leave your desk to have virtually unlimited learning options available to you.
Unfortunately, our existing industrialized education monoliths continues to brainwash the business and professional communities that a traditional approach to credentialing is the only way. Under this, Henry Ford Assembly line model, all similar learners ride an educational conveyer belt in which they all take the same series of classes and when a number of courses or units are accumulated, they get a stamp of endorsement called a certificate or diploma. The amount of actually useful learning acquired on this 20 year assembly line varies greatly between learners.
There is no question a certificate or diploma is still relevant to today’s workforce. Employers and customers want to know you have the skills to do the job.
However, the problem is that the certificates or diplomas are not personally detailed enough for any outside observer to optimally value that certificate or diploma.
Fortunately we have 21st Century tools to fix this very real problem It is called “Micro-credentialing.” Micro-credentialing means that a learner gets a series of “personalized” micro-credentials acknowledging an individual’s completion of work, whether it is a noncredit course, a seminar, or other professional learning and skill building.
UC San Diego workforce research analyst Dr. Josh Shapiro notes, “Degrees and certificates often do a poor job of communicating detailed information about graduates. Micro-credentials and badges, however, indicate specific knowledge and skills—impacting skill sets that industry is seeking in new hires.”
The tools available to us today can usher in a welcomed new learning era, in which the competency verification industry needs, can be more optimally met. The tools available to us today, can easily and cheaply provide information to the community beyond what a transcript or diploma is able to convey.
We are living in a time when people need to possess a list of competencies that can be added to over time with a verifiable rubric to measure skill mastery, recognized and endorsed by industry and connected to our emerging online social media outlets like LinkedIn.
“Badges without taxonomies, without some shared understanding, without rubrics, are meaningless,” notes Matthew Pittinsky, an assistant research professor in the school of social and family dynamics at Arizona State University and founder of Parchment, a credentials-management company.
The notion of a student obtaining one large qualification rather than offer an array of micro-credentials (badges) is a relic of the past. From an employer’s point of view, the value of hiring a person with numerous mini-qualifications and a diploma provides a higher confidence in their investment as opposed to the risk involved in hiring a “blue chip” student from a brand name university.
UCSD Extension K-16 Programs have begun to implement a micro-credentialing program targeting students enrolled in our pre-collegiate programs. Their strategy seeks to refine the operational process involved in offering badges but also elevate these credentials from an informal acknowledgement to a professionally recognized measure of skills.
Of Course many people, particularly those entranced in the existing educational industrial monoliths, will dump all over this approach. I understand that. Confirmation bias, selective perception, and motivated reasoning combine with these educational agents of the past to resist any other model. But, that resistance will eventually wain as more and more 21st Century tools are deployed.
So, what are Micro-credentials:
- One skill at a time: Each micro-credential will focus on one competency and skill tied to a single rubric.
- Evidence to demonstrate skills: Students must demonstrate their competence by demonstrating and providing multiple examples of their work and to multiple assessors.
- Assessment and review: Each micro-credential will be reviewed, evaluated and endorsed by an advisory panel to ensure it is a reliable articulation of a specific skill.
- Connected to needed Community skills: Each micro-credential must be linked to needed community skills.
I found an interesting post in http://www.onlinecollege.org/2011/09/13/15-key-facts-about-homeschooled-kids-in-college/ that listed 15 “facts” about Homeschooling and College.
Assuming the “Facts” are accurate, I can conclude that Homeschooling is a good thing.
I think it makes sense to conclude that non-traditional education can be better than traditional education. As I’ve said many times, traditional education is an 18th Century system built on a 1st Century mindset. So it is not surprising to me that non-traditional education can be very effective.
Here is the list. It should generate some discussion.
Homeschooled students are able to work at their own pace, and as a result, students have the freedom to move significantly faster than those in a traditional classroom. Michael Cogan, a researcher at the University of St. Thomas, discovered that homeschool students typically earn more college credits before their freshman year than traditional students, with 14.7 credits for homeschoolers, and 6.0 for traditional students. Earning college credit before freshman year can save thousands of dollars and shave time off of a degree. The 14.7 average credits for homeschoolers represent a full semester of freshman year, which is typically 12-15 credit hours.
Perhaps benefiting from personalized test prep, homeschool students typically score higher on standardized college admissions tests. The homeschool average for the ACT was 22.5 in 2003, compared with the national average of 20.8. The SAT was no different, with a homeschool average of 1092 in 2002, and a national average of 1020. ACT and SAT scores are very important for college admissions and even financial aid, so doing well on these tests is vital to a great college experience.
As a homeschooled student, you work on a flexible schedule. Young children may rely greatly on their parents for scheduling and instruction, but high schoolers typically become more autonomous in their studies, learning key skills for success as independent students in college. Research indicates that this time spent learning how to study independently pays off, as homeschoolers typically have higher GPAs than the rest of their class. Homeschool freshmen have higher GPAs in their first semester at college, with 3.37 GPAs for homeschoolers, and 3.08 for the rest. This trend continues with an overall freshman GPA of 3.41 vs. 3.12, and senior GPAs of 3.46 vs. 3.16, indicating that homeschoolers are better prepared for college.
Homeschooled students seem to be more likely to participate in college-level education. As reported by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, more than 74% of home educated adults between 18-24 have taken college level courses. This rate is much higher than the general US population, which comes in at 46% for the same age range.
Homeschoolers are everywhere
Patrick Henry College is one college that specifically caters to the homeschool population, but homeschoolers are increasingly accepted in a wide variety of colleges and universities. In fact, homeschoolers are now in over 900 different colleges and universities, many of them with rigorous admissions. Some of these colleges include Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, and Rice University.
Making it to college is one thing, but actually sticking around and graduating is another. Students who have homeschooled will typically do better than other students, with a slightly higher retention rate, at 88.6% vs 87.6% for traditional students. Graduation rates show a higher disparity between homeschoolers and the national average, with 66.7% of homeschooled students graduating, compared to 57.5%.
Some colleges actively recruit homeschool students
Homeschool students have proven themselves to be so outstanding that several colleges have begun to actively recruit them. Boston University, Nyack College, and Dartmouth are among them, with a Dartmouth College admissions officer recognizing, “The applications [from homeschoolers] I’ve come across are outstanding. Homeschoolers have a distinct advantage because of the individualized instruction they have received.”
Homeschooled students are very likely to succeed in college
Research and probability indicates that homeschooled students typically do very well in college, not just academically, but socially as well. Skills learned in homeschooling translate very well to the college campus, with strong self-discipline and motivation. Colleges recognize this advantage, including Brown University representative Joyce Reed, who shares, “These kids are the epitome of Brown students.” She believes they make a good fit with the university because “they’ve learned to be self-directed, they take risks, they face challenges with total fervor, and they don’t back off.”
Although traditional students will typically be expected to submit their high school transcript, homeschooled students usually do not need one, submitting other information instead. Sixty-eight percent of US universities will accept parent-prepared transcripts. Others will take portfolios, with letters of recommendation, ACT or SAT test scores, essays, and more, allowing homeschooled applicants flexibility in admissions.
As long as they meet standardized guidelines, homeschooled athletes can be awarded freshman eligibility to participate in college level sports. The number of homeschooled students participating in sports is growing as well, with up to 10 each year in 1988-1993, and as many as 75 students in the late 90s. Homeschool waiver applicants are typically approved, and in the 1998-1999 school year all applicants in Divisions I and II were approved, indicating not only an increased interest in college sports from homeschoolers, but an excellent openness in participation.
Many homeschoolers are National Merit Scholars
The National Merit Scholar program is an academic competition offering prestige and cold hard scholarship cash for high achieving students. The number of homeschool National Merit Scholars is increasing at a high rate: in 1995, there were 21 homeschool finalists, compared with 129 in 2003, a 500% increase. Homeschoolers are clearly doing well in their studies, and as a result, are reaping the rewards in scholarship money to use in school.
Colleges and universities often recognize that homeschooled students tend to be exceptional in their academic performance, and combined with advanced studies and extracurricular activities, make great candidates for admission. In addition to actively seeking out homeschooled applicants, colleges may also be accepting more of them. In the fall of 1999, Stanford University accepted 27% of homeschooled applicants. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s an incredible number when you consider that this rate is twice the acceptance rate experienced by public and private school students admitted in the same semester.
High achieving homeschool students can benefit from advanced curriculum in college, which is why so many of them end up in honors programs once they go on to study at universities. At Ball State University, most homeschooled freshmen were admitted at a higher level than regular students. Eighty percent of homeschool students were admitted to “upper levels of admission,” and 67% were in the Honors College.
Due to some confusion in the past, homeschooled students may have had to obtain a GED in order to qualify for financial aid. But the Homeschool Legal Defense Association indicates that laws have changed, and as long as students have completed their education “in a homeschool setting that is treated as a homeschool or a private school under state law,” they are eligible for federal financial aid without a GED.
Traditional scholarships are often open to homeschooled students, but there are also some created specifically for the homeschool crowd. In an effort to attract stellar homeschooled students for admission, colleges are developing homeschool scholarships. Belhaven offers $1,000 per year, College of the Southwest awards up to $3,150 each year, and Nyack College will give up to $12,000. With the high cost of a college education, these scholarships can really pay off for homeschoolers.