The College Dream and the College Reality

As the spring semester ends for many college students, high school seniors are preparing to graduate and many will join the ranks within collegiate institutions in the fall. As these new graduates enter into colleges and universities they are entering into a new and changing world. It’s truly a dream world; a world full of opportunity. However, there is a darker side of college called: reality.

There’s a college dream but there is also a college reality and the more incoming college students understand the college reality the better chance they have to create their college dream.

So, what is the college reality? (I have to credit Dr. Tim Clydesdale and his presentation at Collegiate Summit for some of this information and for spurring me on to discover more.)

–         70% of high school graduates begin college but only 30% finish.

–         Approximately 31% of college students meet the criteria for alcohol abuse.

–         College alcohol abuse leads to almost 800,000 cases of assault and sexual assault each year.

–         78% of incoming freshman say that the #1 reason for attending college is to be “very well off financially” but the average college student graduates with around $27,000 in debt.

–         The #1 thing college graduates want from their job is fulfillment but in 2012 53.6% of recent college graduates are unemployed or under employed.

–         A 2010 CNN Money article reported that 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation.

It’s a tough time to be a college student right now; economics are changing and education is changing and students are often caught in the middle. In my next post, I’ll talk about the shift to an idea based economy and how that affects college students and education.

But for now, what are some ways to make sure that incoming college students are part of the 30% that graduate college and not the 70% that fail to graduate? I have seven tips. 

  1. Go to class. Showing up is half the battle.
  2. Learn how to study. Learn what study method work best for you and stay consistent in using it.
  3. Know that you will have debt and don’t add to it. While you’re in college, learn to live within your means and start saving.
  4. Remember: EVERY decision has consequences and you cannot escape consequences. Good decisions bring good consequences and bad decisions bring bad consequences. Ths includes what you post on Facebook.
  5. Know that you will experience a crisis of faith. A crisis of faith will be different for each person but know that it’s coming.
  6. Know your plan for when your crisis of faith comes. Who can you talk to? Where can you go for help and advice? Find a church or a Christian collegiate ministry that will help you, not just survive college, but thrive in college.
  7. Don’t treat college as a 4 year vacation from God. The direction your spiritual life takes during college will, in most cases, dictate the direction it takes for the rest of your life.  

© Ryan Vanderland 2012

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