By Vic Brown
When I enrolled in college back in the prehistoric days of 1966, the process was simple. I went to the high school guidance office, browsed some college catalogs, spoke with the guidance counselor about which school might be right for me, and sent off one application.
Once accepted, my parents drove me to campus to begin classes. It was the first time I ever laid eyes on the place.
A lot has changed, of course, and I have observed the current process from the vantage point of a parent whose three children all went to college, and later as a member of the faculty and staff of a liberal arts college, where my duties included assisting the admissions department.
College representatives attending fairs held in the local high schools, slick marketing brochures sent to students identified by the schools as potential enrollees, colorful presentations on the Internet, multiple campus visits during the final two years of high school—all of these are used by colleges, students, and parents as they play the collegiate acceptance dating game.
From an admissions department perspective, they are doing their best to market their schools to capable high school seniors. They stress the programs, the activities, and the living experiences that might appeal to the potential students. Although admissions officers will generally not speak ill of other colleges in their presentations and during interviews, they go out of their way to stress the positive aspects of their own school.
There is nothing wrong with this, as far as it goes.
But there seems to be something missing in the process, something that will eventually become evident to almost half of the students who engage in the collegiate search. That is a discussion not of which college to attend, but whether to attend college—now, or ever. CONTINUE READING HERE