Studying ‘success’

Low-skilled community college students should take a “success class” that teaches study skills, time management and “college knowledge,” a California task force recommends. But requiring a new class would burden a college system that’s already broke.

Britain’s Open University offers free online classes to give adult students the confidence they can handle college work. Can it work in the U.S.? The Gates Foundation is funding pilot programs.

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  1. Or they could just succeed in their current classes if they have any business in college.

  2. tim-10-ber says:

    Hmmm..they should have taken this in middle and high school…learning this in college is a little late —

    We must do a better job of holding K-12 accountable for graduating kids with a diploma that truly means more than the paper it is written on…dang!

  3. Lightly Seasoned says:

    There’s already a program that does this for K-12 — it’s called AVID. I haven’t worked with it, so I have no first-hand experience, but it seems if there is a product out there, it seems Gates should know about it. I mean, they’re the education experts, not me.

  4. I don’t think you can teach success, and I think this single path towards college is a wrong-headed approach for everyone. So many careers that did not need a degree now suddenly do. College quality is slipping, and as I noted in my most recent blog post some 36% of kids are not learning any higher-order thinking skills in college. I think we are herding kids like cattle into the higher education system, when there are more appropriate ways for them to learn the same skills, some of which are more directly tied to a hard skill or to economic activity. As some commenters have noted, it is too little too late to teach such a class in college. So many assume that college=job, and the current labor market is strongly rejecting this. Besides, what is success? It is not the same for everyone, nor for every field, so this could be one additional class that gives students a false sense of preparedness. Get out into the world, or as Longfellow said: “be not like dumb, driven cattle; be a hero in the strife!”

  5. Walter E Wallis says:

    A college degree for a clerk’s job is overkill. As a non-graduate who now has a P.E. license in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, I can attest to the discomfort when I was given the white application form and grad engineers got the pink one. I took all the dirty engineering jobs and so “arrived” about ten years late. I couldn’t make it at HP or Lockheed, but I have collected a few fees from them for engineering they could not handle in-house.

  6. Study skills and time management, along with self-control and persistence, used to be necessary for HS success, even in the non-college-prep tracks, when I started school in the 50s. Such skills were explicitly taught and reinforced, starting in first grade, along with planning for a self-supporting future.