The Future of College Education
How will the undergraduate students of the future, get unprepared to graduate?
I think that future college education will be a combination of a traditional liberal arts programs, co-op programs and vocational programs. So first some definitions:
Liberal Arts Programs — Abstract learning programs, where students choose from courses and then delve into those topics, taking classes like “An Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology” or “United States History III”. What you probably learned in college.
Vocational Programs — Skill building programs. A classic example is a trade school, where students go to learn a hard skill like plumbing or electrical engineering, while a more contemporary example is a coding bootcamp like General Assembly.
Co-op Programs — Working programs. These are semesters where you are employed at a company doing work, usually for 1/3 to 1/2 of a year. Generally these are based on school partnerships, to ensure a level of student work quality. The most well known co-op program is at Northeastern University.
I think that a future Undergraduate College Education will look like this:
Students will first do a purely educational year — basics of history, math and science, with a focus on the fundamentals of these topics (why is history important as a subject vs. delving deep into history topics), and a mix between Vocational and Liberal programs. During this year they will live on campus so that they are forced to form bonds with peers and interact with one another.
In their second year they will have to do at least one Co-op program, and the rest of the semesters are open to choose. This will allow them to course correct during their second year and decide if the career they thought they wanted actually is the one they still want to pursue.
The last year(s) will be fully open. Students will be able to choose between Liberal, Vocational, and Co-op programs for each semester for the rest of their college career. It will be relatively easy to graduate in 3 years if you plan effectively or take a low-requirement major.
This undergraduate learning model will allow students to course correct very quickly, and develop a feeling for their own personal learning style,
Do you like learning from working, learning from building, or learning from reading?
The end result will be college students who are more independent, and already know themselves and their place in the professional world by the time they graduate university.
Thanks for reading.