Don’t Commit to a College This Year Just Because You’re on Deadline. You Have More Control Than You Think

Basic information
Date of placement
18
0
0

May 1. For many Americans, it’s any other day on the calendar. But for hundreds of thousands of graduating high school seniors and their families, it’s a date they have been working toward for the past two years minimum, a date that will determine the direct, daily experiences of their next four, a date that can shape personal financial and career prospects well into the future.

It’s college decision day — the deadline for signaling your commitment to attend the campus of your choice in the fall, accompanied by a sizable and nonrefundable deposit check.

And for all the students and families weighing this choice this year, I have just one message: Don’t do it, at least not without a better understanding of what’s on offer.

Let me be clear. I’m someone who believes deeply, and benefited immeasurably, from a post-secondary education. I also happen to be a Harvard professor. But the pandemic has upended traditional social contracts in every facet of waking life, and colleges and universities are not immune. Far from it. The pandemic has revealed real weaknesses that have been plaguing the system for years.

Keep up to date with our daily coronavirus newsletter by clicking here.

Consider that as landlords around the country are forgiving rents, cash-strapped restaurants are repurposing kitchens to feed health care workers, and even the dreaded cable companies are adding gigabytes to family data plans in a small show of solidarity, colleges have proven flagrantly incapable of rising to the moment.

Universities should be utilizing their vast resources to make their programs more amenable to today’s crop of stressed-out students by lowering costs, allowing for more tailored, individualized course plans, and breaking up the standard four-year model. But what are they doing?

From refusing tuition reimbursement for curtailed semesters to not being able to provide plans for campus housing in the fall or even sharing the bare-minimum details of their own online learning capabilities beyond the stopgap they have in place now, the colleges and universities that make up America’s higher-education system are providing prospective students with plenty of reason to revisit one basic question: Is a traditional four-year college experience, and all that it entails, really what best fits your needs?

For generation after generation, Americans have played the same game in the belief that traditional higher ed was the only gateway to opportunity. We agreed to SAT tests on a bell curve that did little to determine talent. Now standardized tests across the nation are canceled, and many colleges are ignoring the scores altogether. We agreed to a system based on a false scarcity of slots at “elite” institutions. Now most universities are going to struggle to fill their incoming freshman classes and are facing strained budgets with out-of-state and international tuition reaching historic lows and athletic programs shuttered.

In a small act of defiance, if you are preparing to accept at a university, tell them you’re willing to go, but that you won’t send a check until you know exactly what you’re getting for that money. The consumers can realize that they have leverage over the suppliers.

It’s high time we rethought the role traditional higher education plays in our society. We have been conditioned to believe that enrolling in a four-year degree program at the “best” university possible — often regardless of its affordability — is in our best interest and will pay dividends later on. This is false.

Coming on the heels of a nationwide admissions scandal, the pandemic has pulled back the curtain on how even the most revered institutions in higher ed have major flaws in how they select students and educate them.

Students have more choice than they realize right now. The pandemic has created an environment in which the market has switched and the power is now in the hands of students, rather than administrators, to determine what the future of higher education looks like. High school seniors do not have to trap themselves by committing to a debt burden that far exceeds their parents’ salaries (if they have them at all) for online courses at a top-tier university, especially when most of those general education classes could be taken for a fraction of the cost at a local community college. Students will be able to determine what their education looks like.

Higher education was once seen as a social imperative. Now its modus operandi is in jeopardy. We should use this pandemic as an opportunity to make changes to our higher education system and begin to focus on preparing students for the post-COVID, 21st century economy, not one that hasn’t existed for decades.

Please send any tips, leads, and stories to [email protected].

TIME.com

May 1. For many Americans, it’s any other day on the calendar. But for hundreds of thousands of graduating high school seniors and their families, it’s a date they have been working toward for the past two years minimum, a date that will determine the direct, daily experiences of their next four, a date that can shape personal financial and career prospects well into the future.

It’s college decision day — the deadline for signaling your commitment to attend the campus of your choice in the fall, accompanied by a sizable and nonrefundable deposit check.

And for all the students and families weighing this choice this year, I have just one message: Don’t do it, at least not without a better understanding of what’s on offer.

Let me be clear. I’m someone who believes deeply, and benefited immeasurably, from a post-secondary education. I also happen to be a Harvard professor. But the pandemic has upended traditional social contracts in every facet of waking life, and colleges and universities are not immune. Far from it. The pandemic has revealed real weaknesses that have been plaguing the system for years.

Keep up to date with our daily coronavirus newsletter by clicking here.

Consider that as landlords around the country are forgiving rents, cash-strapped restaurants are repurposing kitchens to feed health care workers, and even the dreaded cable companies are adding gigabytes to family data plans in a small show of solidarity, colleges have proven flagrantly incapable of rising to the moment.

Universities should be utilizing their vast resources to make their programs more amenable to today’s crop of stressed-out students by lowering costs, allowing for more tailored, individualized course plans, and breaking up the standard four-year model. But what are they doing?

From refusing tuition reimbursement for curtailed semesters to not being able to provide plans for campus housing in the fall or even sharing the bare-minimum details of their own online learning capabilities beyond the stopgap they have in place now, the colleges and universities that make up America’s higher-education system are providing prospective students with plenty of reason to revisit one basic question: Is a traditional four-year college experience, and all that it entails, really what best fits your needs?

For generation after generation, Americans have played the same game in the belief that traditional higher ed was the only gateway to opportunity. We agreed to SAT tests on a bell curve that did little to determine talent. Now standardized tests across the nation are canceled, and many colleges are ignoring the scores altogether. We agreed to a system based on a false scarcity of slots at “elite” institutions. Now most universities are going to struggle to fill their incoming freshman classes and are facing strained budgets with out-of-state and international tuition reaching historic lows and athletic programs shuttered.

Related Stories

In a small act of defiance, if you are preparing to accept at a university, tell them you’re willing to go, but that you won’t send a check until you know exactly what you’re getting for that money. The consumers can realize that they have leverage over the suppliers.

It’s high time we rethought the role traditional higher education plays in our society. We have been conditioned to believe that enrolling in a four-year degree program at the “best” university possible — often regardless of its affordability — is in our best interest and will pay dividends later on. This is false.

Coming on the heels of a nationwide admissions scandal, the pandemic has pulled back the curtain on how even the most revered institutions in higher ed have major flaws in how they select students and educate them.

Students have more choice than they realize right now. The pandemic has created an environment in which the market has switched and the power is now in the hands of students, rather than administrators, to determine what the future of higher education looks like. High school seniors do not have to trap themselves by committing to a debt burden that far exceeds their parents’ salaries (if they have them at all) for online courses at a top-tier university, especially when most of those general education classes could be taken for a fraction of the cost at a local community college. Students will be able to determine what their education looks like.

Higher education was once seen as a social imperative. Now its modus operandi is in jeopardy. We should use this pandemic as an opportunity to make changes to our higher education system and begin to focus on preparing students for the post-COVID, 21st century economy, not one that hasn’t existed for decades.

Please send any tips, leads, and stories to [email protected].

Contact us at [email protected].


(0)
0.0
Dislike 0
ОТН 0
Like 0

News list


15:50 Home prices in NL to increase 4% this year: ABN Amro
15:43 ‘Artefact detectives’ in Iraq aim to end the theft of their history
15:39 Archaeologists & filmmakers dig up the past of UAE’s Shamash temple
15:30 Moderation
15:05 [Ticker] Sweden halts Iran Air flights after crash
15:01 Middle East crisis: EU's delicate balancing act between Washington and Tehran
15:00 Dutch soldiers in Iraq safe, together, Defense Min. says
14:59 Outrage over reports EU-funding linked to forced labour in Eritrea
14:45 Meeting between the College of Commissioners and the Members of the Parliamentary Groups
14:33 [Ticker] Spanish court: EP must end Catalan MEP immunity
14:10 Boy, 10, randomly assaulted by woman on Haarlem street
14:01 Dutch cabinet now in favor of new fireworks limits and regulations
14:00 Girls more likely to be harassed, stalked online
13:51 2nd EU Clean Air Forum (Bratislava, 28-29 November 2019) - Part 2/3
13:49 [Ticker] Orban to offer free IVF in anti-immigrant move
13:27 Hate speech has 'no place' in Austria, says Kurz, after Bosnian-born minister receives abuse
13:20 Dutch car rolls in Belgium; deceased victims discovered hours later
13:00 Trump proposes 'NATOME': NATO expanded to MidEast
12:35 Lack of career prospects leaves care workers to quit, says report
12:35 Singer songwriter Jeangu Macrooy is Dutch Eurovision entry- AD
12:35 Defrosted kingfisher rejoins museum collection of dead animals
12:35 Saba again present at Holiday Fair - Saba News
12:35 Politicians should take responsibility for their own laws, says legal chief
12:35 ChristenUnie calls for firework clubs, backs ban on consumer sales
12:35 Good weather will bring clear views of partial lunar eclipse
12:35 'Explosive' growth in Amsterdam hotels despite stricter limits
12:35 More violent incidents at New Year, but fewer people are arrested
12:30 Number of hotels in Amsterdam region skyrocketing: report
12:05 [Ticker] Von der Leyen: 'Influential' EU means talk and trade
12:00 Pope Francis: "US-Iran tensions threaten rebuilding of Iraq"
11:40 More than 9,300 incidents over New Year's: police
11:30 Friends of plane crash victims mourn loss
11:21 EC Midday press briefing of 10/01/2020
11:20 2nd EU Clean Air Forum (Bratislava, 28-29 November 2019) - Part 1/3
11:18 Croatian Presidency of EU Council: press conference opening remarks by President von der Leyen
11:15 Croatian Presidency of EU Council: opening remarks by Croatian Prime Minister and President of EC
11:00 DUTCH RAILROAD CROSSING - Geldermalsen - Voetakkerweg
11:00 DUTCH RAILROAD CROSSING - Prinsenbeek - Spoorstraat
10:50 Girl, 10, dies after falling from asylum center's window
10:43 Compilatie 24H ‘Ontdek je stad’ 2019
10:32 Ontdek Amerfoort #Citytrip
10:26 UK accused of 'behaving like cowboys' over EU database copying
10:26 Men in west London have highest male life expectancy in EU - Life expectancy
10:24 Ursula Von Der Leyen and Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic talk to the press | LIVE
10:00 Car with possible explosives found in Gelderland town; link with ATM bombing investigated
09:40 Viktor Orbán threatens new Europe grouping to rival 'weaker' EPP
09:39 Stockpiling for the New Year
09:37 European ministers meet to salvage Iran nuclear deal
09:35 President von der Leyen meets with Andrej Plenkovic, Croatian Prime Minister
09:30 Dutch Listening Practice - Talking About a School Trip in the Netherlands
09:28 [Ticker] Johnson suggests Iran crash was 'unintentional' missile
09:22 In Myanmar Armys Corner, Aung San Suu Kyi Will Defend It in Rohingya Genocide Case
09:16 Trudeau: Canadians deserve answers on plane crash
09:10 Man, 68, arrested for taping jerry can to Leeuwarden train
09:09 Iran denies that it brought down Ukrainian plane with a missile
08:49 Ask Our Astronaut | What's next in space exploration?
08:18 8 teams who saw their seasons ruined by international breaks
08:17 Judiciary Council calls politicians to stop blaming judges for unpleasant rulings
07:45 Iranian missile caused crash of Ukrainian Boeing 737: Officials
07:39 House of Commons passes Brexit bill for UK departure from EU on January 31
07:37 Gay, bisexual young people over twice as likely to be harassed, stalked online
07:01 Canadian PM called PM Rutte about MH17 after Tehran plane crash
06:37 Only let specialized clubs light fireworks, coalition party says
06:27 [Ticker] Swiss afraid of EU wage dumping
06:25 [Ticker] Orban to start new EU movement if kicked out of EPP
06:24 [Ticker] EU blasts Israeli settlements on 'occupied' land
06:15 Croatian PM Optimistic About EU Talks For North Macedonia, Albania
06:10 ABN Amro names PwC's former Dutch chairman as new CEO
06:07 South Mississippi Strong- Mag Holland is an angel devoted to helping others
06:04 MEPs slam UK for violating EU police database
06:03 EU regions: don’t touch cohesion funds for Green Deal
06:02 [Opinion] Europe, Scotland and Brexit - what next?
06:02 [Ticker] Brexit back on EU presidency agenda next week
06:01 [Ticker] President of European Court of Justice lambasts Poland
06:01 [Ticker] Athens asks for US help in east Mediterranean
06:01 [Ticker] Ukraine investigators want to search Iran plane crash site
04:32 How polluted is the air where you live?
04:14 Poisonous caterpillar to strike earlier than usual this year

11:18 Croatian Presidency of EU Council: press conference opening remarks by President von der Leyen
10:50 Girl, 10, dies after falling from asylum center's window
10:43 Compilatie 24H ‘Ontdek je stad’ 2019
09:35 President von der Leyen meets with Andrej Plenkovic, Croatian Prime Minister
09:28 [Ticker] Johnson suggests Iran crash was 'unintentional' missile
07:45 Iranian missile caused crash of Ukrainian Boeing 737: Officials
07:37 Gay, bisexual young people over twice as likely to be harassed, stalked online
06:24 [Ticker] EU blasts Israeli settlements on 'occupied' land
04:14 Poisonous caterpillar to strike earlier than usual this year
14:10 Boy, 10, randomly assaulted by woman on Haarlem street
13:51 2nd EU Clean Air Forum (Bratislava, 28-29 November 2019) - Part 2/3
13:20 Dutch car rolls in Belgium; deceased victims discovered hours later
11:40 More than 9,300 incidents over New Year's: police
11:20 2nd EU Clean Air Forum (Bratislava, 28-29 November 2019) - Part 1/3
10:32 Ontdek Amerfoort #Citytrip
09:40 Viktor Orbán threatens new Europe grouping to rival 'weaker' EPP
09:16 Trudeau: Canadians deserve answers on plane crash
09:10 Man, 68, arrested for taping jerry can to Leeuwarden train
09:09 Iran denies that it brought down Ukrainian plane with a missile
07:01 Canadian PM called PM Rutte about MH17 after Tehran plane crash
06:37 Only let specialized clubs light fireworks, coalition party says
06:15 Croatian PM Optimistic About EU Talks For North Macedonia, Albania
06:01 [Ticker] President of European Court of Justice lambasts Poland
06:01 [Ticker] Ukraine investigators want to search Iran plane crash site
15:50 Home prices in NL to increase 4% this year: ABN Amro
15:43 ‘Artefact detectives’ in Iraq aim to end the theft of their history
15:39 Archaeologists & filmmakers dig up the past of UAE’s Shamash temple
15:30 Moderation
15:05 [Ticker] Sweden halts Iran Air flights after crash
15:01 Middle East crisis: EU's delicate balancing act between Washington and Tehran
15:00 Dutch soldiers in Iraq safe, together, Defense Min. says
14:59 Outrage over reports EU-funding linked to forced labour in Eritrea
14:45 Meeting between the College of Commissioners and the Members of the Parliamentary Groups
14:33 [Ticker] Spanish court: EP must end Catalan MEP immunity
14:01 Dutch cabinet now in favor of new fireworks limits and regulations
14:00 Girls more likely to be harassed, stalked online
13:49 [Ticker] Orban to offer free IVF in anti-immigrant move
13:27 Hate speech has 'no place' in Austria, says Kurz, after Bosnian-born minister receives abuse
13:00 Trump proposes 'NATOME': NATO expanded to MidEast
12:35 Lack of career prospects leaves care workers to quit, says report
12:35 Singer songwriter Jeangu Macrooy is Dutch Eurovision entry- AD
12:35 Defrosted kingfisher rejoins museum collection of dead animals
12:35 Saba again present at Holiday Fair - Saba News
12:35 Politicians should take responsibility for their own laws, says legal chief
12:35 ChristenUnie calls for firework clubs, backs ban on consumer sales
12:35 Good weather will bring clear views of partial lunar eclipse
12:35 'Explosive' growth in Amsterdam hotels despite stricter limits
12:35 More violent incidents at New Year, but fewer people are arrested
12:30 Number of hotels in Amsterdam region skyrocketing: report
12:05 [Ticker] Von der Leyen: 'Influential' EU means talk and trade
12:00 Pope Francis: "US-Iran tensions threaten rebuilding of Iraq"
11:30 Friends of plane crash victims mourn loss
11:21 EC Midday press briefing of 10/01/2020
11:15 Croatian Presidency of EU Council: opening remarks by Croatian Prime Minister and President of EC
11:00 DUTCH RAILROAD CROSSING - Geldermalsen - Voetakkerweg
11:00 DUTCH RAILROAD CROSSING - Prinsenbeek - Spoorstraat
10:26 UK accused of 'behaving like cowboys' over EU database copying
10:26 Men in west London have highest male life expectancy in EU - Life expectancy
10:24 Ursula Von Der Leyen and Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic talk to the press | LIVE
10:00 Car with possible explosives found in Gelderland town; link with ATM bombing investigated
09:39 Stockpiling for the New Year
09:37 European ministers meet to salvage Iran nuclear deal
09:30 Dutch Listening Practice - Talking About a School Trip in the Netherlands
09:22 In Myanmar Armys Corner, Aung San Suu Kyi Will Defend It in Rohingya Genocide Case
08:49 Ask Our Astronaut | What's next in space exploration?
08:18 8 teams who saw their seasons ruined by international breaks
08:17 Judiciary Council calls politicians to stop blaming judges for unpleasant rulings
07:39 House of Commons passes Brexit bill for UK departure from EU on January 31
06:27 [Ticker] Swiss afraid of EU wage dumping
06:25 [Ticker] Orban to start new EU movement if kicked out of EPP
06:10 ABN Amro names PwC's former Dutch chairman as new CEO
06:07 South Mississippi Strong- Mag Holland is an angel devoted to helping others
06:04 MEPs slam UK for violating EU police database
06:03 EU regions: don’t touch cohesion funds for Green Deal
06:02 [Opinion] Europe, Scotland and Brexit - what next?
06:02 [Ticker] Brexit back on EU presidency agenda next week
06:01 [Ticker] Athens asks for US help in east Mediterranean
04:32 How polluted is the air where you live?

15:50 Home prices in NL to increase 4% this year: ABN Amro
15:43 ‘Artefact detectives’ in Iraq aim to end the theft of their history
15:39 Archaeologists & filmmakers dig up the past of UAE’s Shamash temple
15:30 Moderation
15:05 [Ticker] Sweden halts Iran Air flights after crash
15:01 Middle East crisis: EU's delicate balancing act between Washington and Tehran
15:00 Dutch soldiers in Iraq safe, together, Defense Min. says
14:59 Outrage over reports EU-funding linked to forced labour in Eritrea
14:45 Meeting between the College of Commissioners and the Members of the Parliamentary Groups
14:33 [Ticker] Spanish court: EP must end Catalan MEP immunity
14:10 Boy, 10, randomly assaulted by woman on Haarlem street
14:01 Dutch cabinet now in favor of new fireworks limits and regulations
14:00 Girls more likely to be harassed, stalked online
13:51 2nd EU Clean Air Forum (Bratislava, 28-29 November 2019) - Part 2/3
13:49 [Ticker] Orban to offer free IVF in anti-immigrant move
13:27 Hate speech has 'no place' in Austria, says Kurz, after Bosnian-born minister receives abuse
13:20 Dutch car rolls in Belgium; deceased victims discovered hours later
13:00 Trump proposes 'NATOME': NATO expanded to MidEast
12:35 Lack of career prospects leaves care workers to quit, says report
12:35 Singer songwriter Jeangu Macrooy is Dutch Eurovision entry- AD
12:35 Defrosted kingfisher rejoins museum collection of dead animals
12:35 Saba again present at Holiday Fair - Saba News
12:35 Politicians should take responsibility for their own laws, says legal chief
12:35 ChristenUnie calls for firework clubs, backs ban on consumer sales
12:35 Good weather will bring clear views of partial lunar eclipse
12:35 'Explosive' growth in Amsterdam hotels despite stricter limits
12:35 More violent incidents at New Year, but fewer people are arrested
12:30 Number of hotels in Amsterdam region skyrocketing: report
12:05 [Ticker] Von der Leyen: 'Influential' EU means talk and trade
12:00 Pope Francis: "US-Iran tensions threaten rebuilding of Iraq"
11:40 More than 9,300 incidents over New Year's: police
11:30 Friends of plane crash victims mourn loss
11:21 EC Midday press briefing of 10/01/2020
11:20 2nd EU Clean Air Forum (Bratislava, 28-29 November 2019) - Part 1/3
11:18 Croatian Presidency of EU Council: press conference opening remarks by President von der Leyen
11:15 Croatian Presidency of EU Council: opening remarks by Croatian Prime Minister and President of EC
11:00 DUTCH RAILROAD CROSSING - Geldermalsen - Voetakkerweg
11:00 DUTCH RAILROAD CROSSING - Prinsenbeek - Spoorstraat
10:50 Girl, 10, dies after falling from asylum center's window
10:43 Compilatie 24H ‘Ontdek je stad’ 2019
10:32 Ontdek Amerfoort #Citytrip
10:26 UK accused of 'behaving like cowboys' over EU database copying
10:26 Men in west London have highest male life expectancy in EU - Life expectancy
10:24 Ursula Von Der Leyen and Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic talk to the press | LIVE
10:00 Car with possible explosives found in Gelderland town; link with ATM bombing investigated
09:40 Viktor Orbán threatens new Europe grouping to rival 'weaker' EPP
09:39 Stockpiling for the New Year
09:37 European ministers meet to salvage Iran nuclear deal
09:35 President von der Leyen meets with Andrej Plenkovic, Croatian Prime Minister
09:30 Dutch Listening Practice - Talking About a School Trip in the Netherlands
09:28 [Ticker] Johnson suggests Iran crash was 'unintentional' missile
09:22 In Myanmar Armys Corner, Aung San Suu Kyi Will Defend It in Rohingya Genocide Case
09:16 Trudeau: Canadians deserve answers on plane crash
09:10 Man, 68, arrested for taping jerry can to Leeuwarden train
09:09 Iran denies that it brought down Ukrainian plane with a missile
08:49 Ask Our Astronaut | What's next in space exploration?
08:18 8 teams who saw their seasons ruined by international breaks
08:17 Judiciary Council calls politicians to stop blaming judges for unpleasant rulings
07:45 Iranian missile caused crash of Ukrainian Boeing 737: Officials
07:39 House of Commons passes Brexit bill for UK departure from EU on January 31
07:37 Gay, bisexual young people over twice as likely to be harassed, stalked online
07:01 Canadian PM called PM Rutte about MH17 after Tehran plane crash
06:37 Only let specialized clubs light fireworks, coalition party says
06:27 [Ticker] Swiss afraid of EU wage dumping
06:25 [Ticker] Orban to start new EU movement if kicked out of EPP
06:24 [Ticker] EU blasts Israeli settlements on 'occupied' land
06:15 Croatian PM Optimistic About EU Talks For North Macedonia, Albania
06:10 ABN Amro names PwC's former Dutch chairman as new CEO
06:07 South Mississippi Strong- Mag Holland is an angel devoted to helping others
06:04 MEPs slam UK for violating EU police database
06:03 EU regions: don’t touch cohesion funds for Green Deal
06:02 [Opinion] Europe, Scotland and Brexit - what next?
06:02 [Ticker] Brexit back on EU presidency agenda next week
06:01 [Ticker] President of European Court of Justice lambasts Poland
06:01 [Ticker] Athens asks for US help in east Mediterranean
06:01 [Ticker] Ukraine investigators want to search Iran plane crash site
04:32 How polluted is the air where you live?
04:14 Poisonous caterpillar to strike earlier than usual this year
I agree and close
x Cookies text