As parents get ready to send their children off to college for the first time, I'm thinking of an article I read last year in USA Today.
The title of the article was “First two years of college wasted? Report: Little learning done by many students.”
Here’s the opening sentence: “Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college… a new report shows.” The findings were based on surveys of over 3,000 students on 29 campuses, as well as results from the Collegiate Learning Assessment.
Here are some of the highlights (or rather lowlights):
- After 2 years in college 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning
- Students spent two-thirds of their non-sleeping time socializing or recreating
- 35% spend five or fewer hours/week studying alone (that’s 50% less than students 30 years ago)
- 50% reported they never took a class where they wrote more than 20 pages over the course of a semester
- 32% said they never took a course where they read more than 40 pages/week
This is bad news for those of us paying (or about to pay) $50,000/year in college costs. How is this happening? Apparently, professors are more interested in their own research and students are more interested in their social lives. But my question is,
Where are these kids going to college? What college allows this to be the status quo? Many of our client students read more than 40 pages a night, and write more than 20 pages a week! And they’re in high school.
Unfortunately, the article didn’t name any of the 29 colleges surveyed. They would immediately go on our “avoid at all costs” list. Meanwhile, what can you do to ensure you’re not about to fund your child at one of these Club Meds?
- on your college visits, ask students how much time they spend studying, reading, writing
- look up a couple courses on the college website, and take a look at the course syllabus (many are online these days)
- spend some time on college review websites such as CollegeProwler.com and CollegeConfidential.com, where real students reveal the real dirt about their college