Thursday, March 19, 2015

Two important discussions on college

This week, Diane Rehm spent a considerable amount of time talking college.   On Monday, March 16, Rehm talked with Frank Bruni about his new book Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote To The College Admissions Mania.   Rehm introduces the program with Bruni this way:
In the next few weeks, high school students around the country will begin getting letters from colleges to which they've applied. Many will be rejections. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni says that over the last few decades Americans have distorted the entire college admissions process. We've made young people – and their parents – believe that acceptance to one of the nation's top colleges is the key to success. And that being denied entry will keep many other doors in life closed. In a new book, Bruni explains why that's flat-out wrong. Bruni makes an argument for stopping what he calls the "college admissions mania."

Want to hear more from Bruni?   He will be talking about his book at Politics and Prose Saturday, March 21 at 1:00 pm (event notice).

Then today (Thursday, March 19), Rehm invited four panelists to the program to talk about the topic Worries About the Future of Liberal Arts Colleges.   Rehm introduced the March 19 panel this way:

After a century of educating women, Sweet Briar College in rural Virginia announced this month it would close. Its endowment of about $84 million did not protect the school from the financial strains of declining enrollment. Some higher education experts warn Sweet Briar is part of a national trend of declining student interest in expensive liberal arts education and single-sex schools in place of more vocational degrees. The challenges many small private colleges face, what some schools are doing to attract students, and if it matters.

Full disclosure: I admire Frank a lot having gone to high school with him and following his career.   And the Sweet Briar decision is upsetting as I went to an all women's college down the road in Roanoke, Hollins College, now Hollins University.nbsp;  I believe in single-sex schools and wish Sweet Briar could have made a go of it in the future, even if they had to go co-ed.

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