August 20, 2011

Where College Fails

The first two years of college are called basics, it’s supposed to be knowledge you will need in everyday life and everyone should learn these things.

How many of you have ever had to use algebra in your everyday life? No? I didn’t think so, me neither. If you have a job as an engineer or other technical employment that has to do with math, then yes, you probably have used it but for the rest of us in the general public it never comes up… not once.

I’m all for teaching people basic skills the average person will need to function in society but I think a whole lot more would succeed if they didn’t have to learn things they will never use. Failing a class in college we don’t even use is devastating, expensive and time consuming.

Some of the smartest AND most successful people I know quit school because of failing college classes and some of the dumbest people I know have master’s degrees. I’m not saying people shouldn’t go to college, I’m simply saying that if people didn’t have to take worthless courses they might succeed.

Many students fail college due to having to take classes they are terrible at and will never need in the field of work they are training for. Engineers will never need to dissect a mouse and writers don’t need physics.

Knowing how to find information is the best skill anyone can be taught.

Once you know how to research and get an answer you can take on any problem.

Personally, I think it’s a way for colleges to get more money from students. Who would take those classes if not forced to? Granted, there are careers that need that knowledge but many of us can get through life without ever knowing much of it and in fact statistics show that people forget 70% of what they learned in college unless it’s something they use in their career on a day-to-day basis; most of it isn’t.

Here are a few things that need to be added to the curriculum. These are important skills most never pick up unless a parent helps them out.

Balancing a checkbook, budgeting and not getting into debt.

Many just look online to see how much money they have left in their account never disputing any calculations made by the clerks, who more than likely only has a high school diploma. Until recently there were no limits on bank service fees and with debit cards they can tack on more charges for overdrafts. It’s too easy to overspend these days.

Read the fine print and make sure you understand every fee and compare prices. There are banks with no banking fees and service charges, you usually have to keep a minimum amount in your account but it will save you lots of money.

The first thing college teaches students, is to acquire large amounts of debt in the form of student loans. Check around for rates and low interest student loans. Again, make sure you understand all the details.

Learn how to talk to people and socialize

This is another skill that is vital to human functioning. If you know how to approach others and ask for help or information you can go far in this world, further even then the most intelligent valedictorian. Being able to network is crucial in most careers.

In this texting world we live in, many don’t even know how to interact with their peers much less strangers.

Young people need to know how to deal with difficult people and improve conversation skills.

Common sense

Some people just seem to be born with this trait but I’m not so sure. I think somewhere in their history they learned it, maybe by being let down by other people they learn not to blindly trust.

Knowing that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Learning to check your surroundings and not assume you are always safe.

Relationship training

Learning how to get along with others whether it’s marriage or on the job. This could be lumped in with socializing but it goes a bit further. Once you’ve met a person or gotten that job you have to learn how to keep things running smoothly. Working closely with other people or living everyday with another individual takes a skill not everyone has.

Reading body language and facial features is important to understanding those we have to get along with.

Maybe, just maybe if colleges let people learn what they want to learn they might be more successful. Perhaps we should rethink what is thought of as “basic knowledge.”


Kathy29156 said...

I agree with you 100%! Most colleges do pump a person for thousands on courses that have little or no relevance to their chosen field. The only way I have ever used algebra since is helping my kids figure it out, and I am still wondering why!! LOL

Pamela N Red said...

That must be why we need it, Kathy, to help our kids with homework. lol