Rethinking The Bachelor’s Degree

The cost of a college degree continues to climb, and all the while, recent college graduates have trouble finding jobs, or end up taking jobs that don’t even require a degree, just to make ends meet. Over half of all freshmen now entering college take more than 4 years to complete a Bachelor’s degree, and the average student loan debt for college graduates is now $33,000 – up 30% in just the past 5 years.

What is wrong with this picture?

As this recent article states, maybe it’s time to rethink our concept of a college education. It’s obvious that “a wide gap has emerged between what the workforce needs and what colleges are producing.” So obvious, in fact, that ideas for overhauling the current higher education system are rampant. For example, Stanford University recently came up with the idea of an “open loop university,” giving students the ability to enroll in 6 years of college education which could be used at any time throughout their lives as needed.

Students Studying
(Attribution: By Mosborne01 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.)
This idea is somewhat similar to the interesting concept of the “educational pathways” described in the article mentioned above. In this model, students would be able to choose from a number of different pathways to a degree, such as a gap year, a combination of work and education, and an on-again/off-again pathway, as well as the traditional 4-year model that is currently used.

This more personalized model of education would allow students the flexibility to choose a path that suits their goals and personality type, as well as better meeting the needs of employers.

And if it sounds like it would complicate things, well, as the article points out, “we already have multiple pathways to a degree, but most come without the mentoring support needed or lead to a dead end.”

The decades-old model of our current education system is clearly not working in today’s modern, fast-paced and ever-changing world. Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit, and create a more flexible system of higher education that will better serve the needs of our economy – and our children. (You can find the full article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-idea-2015-lets-rethink-jeff-selingo)

Let us know what you think! And if you would like to speak with a college planning specialist about your family’s college plan, please contact us at 614-536-0246.

 

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