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The UnCollege Blog

There is Life After College

Another expert is advocating for students to consider gap years. This time it's Jeff Selingo, the former top editor at the Chronicle for Higher Education. As expected Selingo isn't calling for students to just take time off;  he says the time off should be structured and pass certain tests for having value.

Jeff Selingo has an appreciation for students who take their time pondering their next step after high school. For his book There is Life After College, Selingo, surveyed young adults and found there are “sprinters”, “wanderers” and “stragglers”, and he doesn’t fault any group.

 “We shouldn’t rush this transition,” Selingo says. “We are rushing too many kids off to college who aren’t ready or don’t know why they’re there.” A gap year, he says, is a good option, though he believes it should involve academic work to prepare for college, valuable work experience or travel, which, he notes, “opens up the horizon to the rest of the world.”

The book is a New York Times best seller and has received good reviews. That's not to say, however, that it doesn't have criticts. Among the most valid is Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University, and an advocate for liberal arts degrees. Roth has an interesting contrary point, claiming that he believes Selingo is too supportive of tech or vocational education.Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 10.32.25 AM.png

Here are a few other thoughts from Selingo's must-read book:

Four-year degrees aren’t the only option, and he suggests that community colleges and other training programs be given consideration and points to speedy training programs at General Assembly and Koru as worth consideration.

– Selingo recommends what he calls “the digital humanities,” a combination of tech and humanities skills for careers in areas such as data visualization and digital mapping.

– Selingo says sometimes young people have too many options, which are confusing – and they need to narrow their considerations for plans after high school and when they are in college.

– Internships are important, he says, noting that 60 percent of summer interns in some fields end up with full-time job offers from those organizations.

– A survey of employers showed top bosses say they want communications skills, critical thinking, teamwork and hard work, while actual hiring managers look for talents that fit the specific job.

– He notes that more students now say college is needed to get a better job while 10 years ago most said it was to learn.

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