Education Should Prepare Students For Work, Life

Students put lots of money and time to get a college degree today and they should know what they can get from it at any particular institution. Just as we can now buy stuff from anyone anywhere in the world, because of the online offerings, we should have more clear choice and know what we can do with what we get from colleges.

There are debates about whether college is worth the time and cost, whether a degree is relevant anymore, and stories of college graduates who don’t have good jobs. So much information in many fields is passé after 4+ years of college so we have to learn even more—learn how to learn. It takes most students more than 4 years to finish so it’s costly and students miss opportunities if they got a degree sooner and the money that comes with a good job.

What would I want changed? I want more businesses involved in deciding what needs to be taught and what they need from college graduates, even if they fund some of the training or course offerings. Right now it’s up to those tenured professors, some of whom have friends in the real world outside the ivory towers but most don’t know how to make a living outside of a university. Things in the business world are changing so rapidly that colleges and universities aren’t keeping up with the technology, the demands and the knowledge base need. It’s important to know the 3Rs of course—if you can’t read well or write well or do decent math, you are handicapped in careers (that’s part of the problem with K-12 education—drop outs, unprepared graduates, those needing remedial help in higher education). For community colleges, more prep and training for those who want careers that don’t require a four-year college degree.

We need professors, but perhaps different kind of professors—not so lofty though still theoretical and idea driven and research based—but more practical ones to educate students for what’s going on now. Smart students can overcome teacher, professor, instructor limitations in any grade. It’s the average students who need more help—the world is run by C students, the daily workers. Right now many colleges focus on great facilities, sports teams, good living quarters—but people need careers when they finish.

Just a few thoughts—lots of other things need to change too; technology, ways to prove students pass courses or are qualified, ways to learn, using top professors on taped lectures to be viewed on demand as a whole or in 5-10 minute segments, ebooks and materials that don’t cost an arm and a leg, internships and experiences, etc.

Society and business needs are changing at record speeds there must be some better preparation for students so they can function well when they start to work.

- Larry Alvarado, Owner of Your Success in School