Monday, September 14, 2015

3 Ways Universities and Colleges Fail Their Students

Welcome back!  Today's financial literacy post deals with career readiness.  I don't think it would be too far out there to say that some high schools in this country do a far better job of preparing students for a career than do U.S. colleges and universities.  There are still thousands of high schools in this country that offer career and technical education programs.  Similarly, high schools still enforce their cyber-etiquette policies, and occupation preparation teachers, as I would often observe, insert mention of their own work experience (as freelancers) to include what not to do on your phone.

What about colleges and universities?  What role do they play in providing real world experiences for the future workforce of this country?  In most cases, graduating college seniors leave the bubble world of their halls and buildings never having had a job.  Or an internship for that matter.  Colleges and universities have no problem letting their students get in deep debt.  What's more, top college officials do not seem to be in a rush to make positive changes that would impact the lives of the young men and women who will be leaving their doors.

Here are three ways colleges and universities fail students and the American public:

1.  They do not offer Freshman a College Finance seminar.  Every freshman should be mandated to take a college finance seminar and it should be subsidized by the university!  The credit card vendors giving out freebies (t-shirts, pens, other crap) for completed applications can't wait for every new school year to begin when a new batch of financial dimwits hits the pavement en route to lecture halls. 

2.  They do not provide (a few do, but not all) Seniors with debt counseling.  The least these higher learning institutions can do is have a debt counseling fair in one of their multiple state of the art gyms.  Senior students willing to get advice could wait in line behind one of many tables to hear a C.F.P tell them how best to deal with their mountain of debt.  This too should be at the expense of the university or college.

3.  They do not provide a career transition seminar for Seniors.  Universities need to bridge the huge gap between the theoretical knowledge their various colleges (Humanities, Business, Engineering, etc.) instill in students and the practicality of work relationships, teamwork, online etiquette, etc.  Imagine being able to learn about corporate culture from an executive.  Though it need not be this specific.  Many Millennials are self-involved, motivated, hungry...all great things.  But upon graduation, they're entering a world still owned by Baby Boomers and Generation X.  They need someone to tell them that sending emails out is not an effective communication method, e.g.  Continuing with my ongoing theme, all Seniors should be mandated to take this seminar and again, it should be provided expense free by institutions of higher learning.

The negativity surrounding the financial merit of obtaining an undergraduate degree continues to grow.  University officials have nothing to worry about.  There's still plenty of demand.  Yet, if I were a Dean or University President, I'd be looking for ideas to sway the public's economic mistrust of my work setting.  There is a moral obligation, I believe, on the part of institutions of higher learning, to give their soon to be alumni, a fighting chance at career and economic success.

The suggestions I've offered for every FAIL above may help lessen the financial burden graduates rack-up while earning their degree.  Deans and University Presidents: do what's right by these kids!

Thanks for reading. 

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