It takes time for changes to become apparent. Especially in a huge complex thing such as the modern education industriplex. I see this all the time in regard to the transition from secondary to higher education. The college entrance game is a constantly changing dance. Colleges change their criteria and that means high school college counselors then change accordingly, and then slowly, maybe as much as a generation later, students and their nervous parents change as well. Much of this generational shift is because many parents work off their own college experience to guide their children. That is not wise. There is nothing about my experience in the early 80’s that is of use to my current college age children. We must approach this issue like any other, with careful scrutiny and real knowledge, not fear and propaganda. Let me illustrate.
Right now many parents believe the single most important thing for a college bound junior or senior in high school is their ACT and SAT scores, right? Of course right. No, actually, it is quickly becoming quite wrong. Read this article from the inside and see what I mean. But the majority opinion will prevail and guide most entrance activity even after the colleges have left this form of criteria behind. Why? Because most parents and college counselors are working off past information, not current. While the principal of a large private high school I invited college admissions directors from two large schools near our high school to come speak. One was from a prestigious State school that everyone wanted to get into. The other was from a very sought after private college nearby. Both said the same thing: what is true this year will change next year. And one of the schools, now seven years ago, no longer required ACT/SAT scores for admission.
What amazed me most about those evenings were the large number of parents who afterward over cookies and coffee said something like, “Well, I listened, but I don’t believe them. We are still going to put our eggs in those baskets.” One of those parents dropped almost $40K that year to ensure that their child (in addition to the tuition for a private high school diploma) was given coaching and tutoring on all aspects of getting into an Ivy League school. Their fear over their child’s success being tied to what college they got into made them deaf to the very folks trying to tell them that the rules were in constant flux. They just couldn’t hear it.
All this to say two things: a) as long as we continue with this unsustainable thing we currently call higher education, admissions will be a roll of the dice, not a guaranteed anything, and b) fear will continue to be the main controlling factor for parent’s choices in guiding their child toward higher education. We need the college bubble to be popped, loudly.