The Future of Higher Education post-COVID-19

May 19, 2020

Jeff Selingo has written about higher education for two decades. His next book, “Who Gets In & Why: A Year Inside College Admissions”, will be published by Simon & Schuster in September 2020.  We had a chance to listen to him speak this week about the future of Higher Education.  Here are some of the key points he made. They’re worth a debate around the dining table, with everyone sitting 6ft apart.  Enjoy!

  • Community colleges will see a record enrollment in the coming year. Here at Jo Leonard & Co. we’re a big fan of community colleges, especially for students who want to get a better academic foothold before investing pots of money in a 4 year institution.
  • State schools especially will get pounded financially by the pandemic which will impact their admission policies/approaches, most especially around the financial supplements (scholarships and grants) they will be able to provide. Our guess is that they will offer more online and professional development programs, to supplement their revenue streams. In addition, expect to see a rise in tuition and housing. Now is a good time relook at the 529 plans!
  • Colleges will look carefully at providing more co-op programs, following the likes of Drexel and Northeastern University, and of course an enormous percentage of colleges and universities in Western Europe. The long awaited idea of “work colleges” will come to the forefront. This is what we’ve been waiting and praying for, for years. As a career and college counselor, it has been frustrating seeing kids who clearly learn by doing, rather than through static education techniques, struggle in college and become disillusioned. This leads to anxiety, stress, depression, a lack of self esteem and often a failure to graduate and launch. It’s about time colleges wake up to the fact that they’re not preparing their students well enough for the Real World.
  • Along the same lines, more good news. Jeff Selingo discussed “Credegrees.”  The idea is that in the future, following COVID-19, colleges will have to get creative in what they offer in the way of programs by adding hybrid programs, (online and on campus), and integrating certificate programs with traditional degrees. I believe this is a much more practical, Real World Ready approach to higher education, and will allow students and families to feel more comfortable that, with a little more thought and planning, the transition from college to the workforce will be easier and more satisfying.
  • On a housing level, Selingo suggests colleges will offer fewer residency options, mandating more single dorm rooms.We think this may also result in less support of frat/sorority houses, and a lower percentage of multi-student suites and shared bathrooms.

If you have any other questions and would like someone to talk to, please always feel free to call us. With over 18 years of experience working in this field, we have many resources and insights!

Jo Leonard
Chief College & Career Coach

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