By David W. Clark, Ed.M.
People, rather than programs, are decisive in giving a college education value.
Hmmm. It’s an interesting thought, after all that time, effort, and anxiety spent throughout high school nervously searching for the right match of college setting. Is it strong in my prospective major? What about career-focused internships? Retention rate? Graduation rate?
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni makes a similar point in his fascinating book on just this topic, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be (Grand Central Publishing, 2015). At one point, Bruni refers to Michael Lindsay’s 2014 study of 550 corporate CEOs, college presidents, and elected leaders.
The undergraduate colleges attended by these accomplished leaders was varied and showed no pattern. No Ivy league bias? Nope, none.
Research done on the colleges themselves suggest a similar, related point. Dan Chambliss, a professor at Hamilton College in New York, headed a 10-year longitudinal study funded by the Mellon Foundation to answer this question: What is the key to making an (expensive) college education work for you?
The conclusion of Chambliss’s research?
The most important single factor is the personal connections you make – with a professor, your advisor, and other students in your major.
What does this mean for your college search? Be an educated consumer. Do your research. Visit campuses. Talk to people: a neighbor who attended the college that has your interest, a counselor with expertise in the college search. Ask tough questions.
Next week’s topic: tips on becoming a savvy college consumer.
Mark your calendar for a complimentary evening program on Sept. 9 at 7 PM at the Newtown Public Library (201 Bishop Hollow Road in Newtown Square) for college-bound high school students and their parents.
Become a savvy college consumer. So little time, so many choices. This workshop will include strategies for making the college search work for you and help in de-mystifying paying for college.
Please RSVP at email@example.com.
For questions, call Mr. Clark at 610-304-719 (cell) or 610-642-4873 x 52 (office).
David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant, with offices in Paoli and Ardmore, who has been working with high school students for more than 35 years. David is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting, and he can be reached there.