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What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow

by Jeffrey J. Selingo

Pub Date: April 19th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-238886-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

A guide to help “dispel our fears about life after college.”

As Chronicle of Higher Education contributing editor Selingo (College (Un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students, 2013) writes in the introduction, in the recent past, a college degree almost certainly guaranteed a job after graduation. But times have changed, and the author uses interviews with college-age students, employers, and academicians to explain to readers just what those changes are and how to contend with them. Although high school students might receive high grades in college-prep classes, do well on the SAT, and show a variety of extracurricular items on their applications, as well as have parents and advisers who lead them every step of the way through high school and college, this doesn’t force young adults to figure out how to make independent decisions on their own. “For many twenty-somethings,” writes the author, “life to this point has been like a board game, the goal to get to the end quickly while picking up as many game pieces as possible.” For employers, this lack of critical-thinking skills, coupled with a deficiency in work experiences, makes many new graduates undesirable hires. Some of the solutions Selingo adeptly presents include taking a gap year between high school and college, as many students do in Europe, to travel and explore options before committing to a college program. The author also suggests paid and unpaid internships and apprenticeships that put students into the workforce while gaining an education. The takeaway from Selingo’s solid research is that education is important but not to the point where life experiences are ignored. Ultimately, students must approach college and the workforce on an individual basis, as the old route just doesn’t hold true for most young people in today’s global economy and workforce.

Levelheaded advice for students and parents on the best path to take from high school to employment.