I was glad to see it a thoughtful piece y The Washington Post about students who follow the path of transition to schools who are very reluctant. It’s worth reading for itself, but the article also offers much more than it says.
He highlights several key points: admission rates for translation students are often higher than for first-year students, pools are often more diverse, standardized tests count less if they are considered at all, and students who have excelled at college level. can undo with uninspired high school performance. All true. In the spirit of “yes, and“ “I will add a few points.
The article casually mentions, but does not stop, the difference between transfer students who start studying in public colleges and those who start studying in other elite four-year schools. A student moving from, say, Sarah Lawrence to Bennington or vice versa has already withdrawn a plan for selective admission to the first institution. A student moving from Holocaust College to Mount Haliok College – we had a strong pipeline – may or may not be. This latter student may have a much less traditional background, but is expected to have successful success at the college level you can count on.
This is one of the best parts of the open door reception policy. They are based on some epistemological humility: we don’t know specifically who will succeed in college and who won’t until we’re shown. Accordingly, we give everyone a chance. A student who graduated from a good public college with a high grade point average is a great bet on success at the next level. As Josh Weiner put it Washington Post piece, nothing predicts success in college better than success in college. Sometimes the students who succeeded here were not so successful in high school for a variety of reasons. Here they can press the reset button and show what they are actually capable of.
I have personally seen students do this. The student I met a few years ago nearly dropped out of high school because of the constant gay beatings. Harassment and bullying became so severe that he simply stopped going to school, which predictably affected his grades. He enrolled in the Gateway program at HCC, which allowed high school students who need a fresh start to attend high school classes on the public college campus. He said he was initially scared, but soon found that the college campus was safe. When he was able to relax and just focus on his work, instead of always watching his back, his grades jumped and he fell in love with school again. In his case, it was never about “merit”, whatever that meant. He just needed an environment in which he could be himself. As soon as he had it, he went and ran.
Sometimes adult students show up at a public college that many years ago had a relatively shaky career in high school, but they’ve matured in the meantime and absolutely crush it here. These students are excellent candidates for transfer. Academic late-blooming present.
The article doesn’t stop there, but logically raises the question of what “merit” means when students who would never walk through the front door at 18 have small problems at 20. than native students – and I’ve been told they do – how accurately predictable are the exact differences that separate the 5 percent of the best who get to Brown from the next 5 percent who don’t? One cannot help but be surprised.
From a student’s perspective, starting a public college can have several benefits. It’s almost always cheaper, especially if they live at home. First-year classes are generally much smaller than at flagship public universities. In Rutgers, when I was a TA in a political science class, there were 300 students in the class; the actual discussion was mostly reserved for the recitation sections led by the TA. In Brookdale this same class is limited to 32 and rarely achieves this. Most likely, it will be around 20 and taught by an experienced professor. And at this level we do not believe in the theory of education to “weed them out”; a student who wants to succeed and make an effort will find one green light after another.
(Professional advice for students who start here and want to move later: complete an associate’s degree before transferring. You’ll get more credits accepted when transferring, and you’ll save a lot of money.)
From the host institution’s point of view, strong public college graduates entering as junior classes can help compensate for the exhaustion of students enrolled immediately from high school. And these students come with a track record of successfully completing college requirements. They have shown that they know how to do it.
In political discussion, public colleges are often reduced to vocational training centers. This is a mistake. Yes, of course, professional programs are of great importance. But the transfer function is also real and important. To the extent that public higher education institutions in a given state function as a kind of ecosystem – officially or not – public colleges are key players in providing access and diversity within the flagships. Given how much we’re talking about student loan arrears, one might think that the path to transition will be more visible. It should be.
So thank you The Washington Post on this. It was nice to see the important topic given the attentive attitude it deserves.