Last April, I posted an entry talking about how taking a year off after high school would be a good way to broaden a young student’s world view. This mindset is something new for America, but it is one that I think could really help some of our younger citizens develop personally. As an adjunct professor and a guy who volunteers as an advisor to young college students around the state, one of the more concerning phenomenons that I’ve witnessed over the last few years is the increasing amount of sheltered young people that our society is producing.
While I understand that the transition from high school to college is literally life-changing, many students are entering college without any ability to live on their own. I see kids who are constantly on the phone with their parents, make daily trips back to their hometowns, and cocoon themselves from any new experiences on campus. To some small degree you have to appreciate why employers don’t want to give these people jobs once they graduate. The ability to think on your own and solve problems as they arise is critical to being successful in today’s world.
Anyway, the point of this entry is how taking a year off between high school and college might have always been a good idea for some students, but it might be a good idea for all students given some pending legislation. As the New York Times reports:
Last month, President Obama proposed what some experts called the most sweeping changes in federal college aid programs in decades. But even if Congress approves the new and expanded programs, they will not take effect until July 2010.
So here is a heretical idea for this year’s high school seniors: Take a year off and go out and do something else. Then, when it is available, see if you can take advantage of that aid money — more fixed-rate student loans and bigger grants to the poorest students.
Brilliant! This is a great idea that has many unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences. First, those who take next year off to develop themselves as human beings will be better prepared for the rigors of college life. Second, colleges will be forced to re-evaluate their expenses and whether or not they offer a valuable service given the realities of today’s market. And last but not least, you have the actual intended effect of the recommendation above – take a year off and wait until more subsidy dollars flow to your educational pursuits.
If coordinated correctly, this idea could initiate a great shift in the higher education system.