Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Victory of Small Colleges

The Victory of
Small Colleges

Anyone who has ever considered where they should attend college has become aware of a trend within almost every state which divides the large colleges from their smaller counterparts. In almost every state, one can point to a college, famous though it may be, where one can literally “purchase” a higher education. These colleges are often looked down upon academically, though they may have the illusion of prestige, but they are actually admired for the success of their sports or some other well known program. These financed academic programs are proving to be less and less worth their high price as smaller, more intimate institutions, quietly prove to be turning out students who are more competent and successful. The gap that is widening between the two gateways to education has become wider and wider, much to the benefit of those who do not choose the big brand names and instead seek a smaller more intimate and surprisingly, more productive road toward their career path.

Long term statistics from the past 30 years have now proven that smaller schools have become more adept at turning out better students over the subsequent years following each generation’s graduating class. The big brand named schools have become too much of a “mountain that supports a molehill” and their skyrocketing costs and over crowded classrooms have provided a way for students to literally “hide” within the teaming throng. A smaller school of about 2,000 students allows great opportunity for exposure to faculty who can more facilitate the learning experience. At a lower ratio of students to teachers, a student can hardly afford to allow themselves to sit way in the back of a classroom and pay their way to a degree. Their fellow students are also more involved, more familiar with the professors and instructors and as the smaller crowd all moves in a productive direction, which is much harder to escape from, the learning environment becomes one where a student wants to excel, and can excel.

The famous named and larger colleges have become fat and sluggish with classrooms of 200-300 students and have for some time now presented for far too many graduates a “spectator” experience. May of these classes simply fill up a student’s notebook with notes, then administer a test made out for the general masses which, in turn, is then graded by a teacher’s assistant. In smaller colleges, a family type environment is created by providing many classes where a student may find themselves a part of perhaps a class of 20 students, who then move together as one body throughout the semester and experience an “iron sharpening iron” experience with both fellow students and their professors. These “family” professors have many opportunities for actively expanding the mind of the student and personally engaging them in the learning process. Therefore, the learning process is always activated as a way of day to day life, whether inside the classroom or in social situations with a person’s fellow students. It is very difficult in such a society for a student to wonder what is on a test tomorrow due to the fact that they are involved in study from day one for the test that may be three weeks away.

Unfortunately, much to their own harm, many aspiring students make college choices based upon the social climate they experienced in high school. This “herd mentality” can be a hard current to swim against and provides not much more than a continuing spiral downward of their own individual success. If the buddies from high school that a student has are making their choices based upon brand names and not based on research, then the crowd who goes to the big state school together will have only the rare few who actually benefit from the college experience in a meaningful academic way that translates into cogent success in later life. The benefits derived from matching a student to the correct school for them will be lost in a major waste of time and money due to a lack of careful attention to individual details of what that single student needs and wants for their continuing education and thus later life, all due to a desire for a big name on a diploma and a comfortable current social life. Students need to realize that the majority of friends they have today will all move on with their lives one day and be little more than memories of yesterday which produce no individual profit for their future lives. There must be a concentration and atmosphere focused on achievement from the high school level and into the college level or else many years will be missed while trying to vainly make up for lost time later in their lives. Too often this kind of student finds themselves years after college cutting into time for today’s events in order to make up for the lost opportunity of education that was sacrificed for a social climate that, more times than not, ended long ago.

Students who are given no guidance at all, or who fail to research things themselves, suffer from a delusion that all colleges will be the same. While in grammar and high school, many students today mistakenly believe that it only matters that you graduate, not how well you actually do in school, and this is not all their own fault for believing this, however, this belief translates into the concept that it only matters that you DO go to school. There must be a transformation from high school to college in the way learning is seen, as a new experience, both personally and for future professional consideration, and not merely as the next grade up from high school. In such a critical developmental time for students it is important that a young person in their twenties have the benefit of their parents, advisors and professors who understand the inherent blind spots in the mind of the early twenty something person in the case of their own abilities and what their own road of personal discovery will reveal. Usually, that person is NOT the same one who just four years or so earlier, left high school as a triumphant senior.

Over the last thirty years or so, statistics have proven the redundancy of a well known college name upon a diploma. Real success translates from education to real life by what the student brings with them from the college they attended. Smaller colleges with a hands on approach and a society that orbits a student are proving to be more prescient in later life than big classrooms that send a student into great financial debt with less productive education in later life. And this is being revealed by the students who graduate from big colleges themselves. Many students have stated that they could have easily “mailed in” the college experience, and many who drop out of these larger institutions and enroll in smaller colleges sing the praises of their experiences with professors and fellow students who helped to make major improvements in the college experience.

Interestingly enough, smaller colleges are proving that a students high school grades were NOT true indicators of the students abilities. Shocked and awed by the increased performance of their college schooling experience, many graduates are quick to relate how they were indeed challenged in ways they could not have imagined by fellow students and college professors who were not merely there to gain tenure and security for themselves. These students found themselves a part of an honor society for the first time in their lives, much to their own consternation. Afterward, they also found themselves out distancing the students from the larger colleges due to the personal growth and more intimate attention that enabled them to meet major challenges with the skill to discover how to learn and think through any situation they encountered. Text oriented though the lessons may have been, the skills acquired along with the lessons carried them later in life higher and farther that they would have ever gone as opposed to any filling in a note book or taking standard tests from big colleges could have ever produced.

With a concentration on the student as they do in smaller colleges, many professors have indeed discovered hidden gold in students who were beforehand believed to be learning deficient. These students develop differently, and can fall through the cracks of a system that concentrates on a literary base for teaching and academia. Students with more hypothetical and almost intuitive ways of dealing with life simply have different ways of learning which don’t necessarily match the status quo of the pragmatic intellectual system. Have educators ignored a potential unknown of the human mind by concentrating on a cookie cutter approach to education? In nature, the more complex the entity, the longer the maturation rate. Smaller colleges may in the future prove that an entire aspect of adult mental civilization has been newly discovered by abilities and traits nurtured for another phase of life beyond the twenty something concentration of today. In the future, universities may look vastly different than what we see today as more and more evidence of various methods of applied learning and development unearth a new type of student arriving in the workplace.

Smaller colleges may indeed be the harbinger of change in America today for an improved workforce of tomorrow. Today’s system from the pre-school to the highest levels may take on a whole new complexion due to the ability of smaller colleges to recognize the promise of students and implement proven techniques for their development, rather than simply churning out graduate numbers and paper degrees. Home schooling may also itself, change the face of beginning education as it takes on more and more students due to its continuing ability to be of greater benefit to a student than today’s over crowded schools. The marginally successful student of today may indeed become a thing of the past as smaller colleges accept more and more of these home schooled students who are quite a different faction of up and coming thinkers. Having been given attention to the productive and yet little understood abilities of the mind and its different layers of learning since they were children, perhaps today’s kids who then graduate from smaller colleges, will have greater advantage at making the correct decisions in dealing with a hard and tough world that has seemingly “crashed” due to the decisions of those who in the past where schooled in ways that more resemble an automobile assembly line than they do a practical mental maturing that results in a mature intellectual society which can more effectively deal with real world problems.

One can only hope.

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