July 2, 2015
College (Un)bound, by Jeffery J. Selingo
The four-year college experience is as American as apple pie. So is the belief that higher education offers a ticket to a better life. But with student-loan debt surpassing the $1 trillion mark and unemployment of college graduates at historic highs, people are beginning to question that value. In College (Un)bound, Jeffrey J. Selingo, editor at large of the Chronicle of Higher Education, argues that America’s higher education system is broken. The great credential race has turned universities into big business and fostered an environment where middle-tier colleges can command elite university-level tuition while concealing staggeringly low graduation rates, churning out graduates with few of the skills needed for a rapidly evolving job market. Selingo not only turns a critical eye on the current state of higher education but also predicts how technology will transform it for the better. Free massive online open courses (MOOCs) and hybrid classes, adaptive learning software, and the unbundling of traditional degree credits will increase access to high-quality education regardless of budget or location and tailor lesson plans to individual needs. One thing is certain—the Class of 2020 will have a radically different college experience than their parents.
As an undergraduate student, a mere six credits from achieving my degree, I identified with much of what the author had to say. I’ve witnessed first hand both the hardships and the celebrations in the long road to an undergraduate degree.
I would recommend parents of high school sophomores and juniors to read this book, as there is a lot of information on choosing a two or four year degree, and some no-holds-barred common sense on how to make the dream of college a reality – and to put the best foot forward.
I have long suspected that the bachelor’s degree is the new Associate’s degree. The author does a great job explaining this perception and what it means to me and my children. From the history of what college used to be to what he hopes college will be in the future, Jeffery J. Selingo tackles online, hybrid, large campus, small campus and the idea that learning is an intrinsic human value regardless of accreditation.
Jeffrey J. Selingo is a leading authority on higher education worldwide and a contributing editor for “The Chronicle of Higher Education”. He frequently speaks before national higher-education groups and appears regularly on regional and national radio and television programs, including NPR, PBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CBS. His writing on higher education and technology has appeared in the “New York Times”, the “Washington Post”, and the “Huffington Post”. The National Magazine Awards, Education Writers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Associated Press have recognized him for his work.