The world sure has changed a lot over the last thirty years, hasn’t it? I remember the absolute thrill of the earliest days of video games, when playing Pong or Space Invaders represented the cutting edge of fun. Yet, my son’s PS 4 renders games in real time with all the cinematic realism of feature films. If we recognize on a daily basis the quantum leaps technology makes every 18 months or so, why do we cling to a view of college that still resembles higher ed in the 20th century?
Everything we think we know about college–from applying to attending to paying for the privilege–is changing at a rate that even professionals cannot keep up with. Believe me, I know. Every week, I speak with counselors, educations, and admissions professionals who study higher education from every angle. We all observe a lot more misinformation and myths than actual facts. While confronting or correcting all of them would be impossible, here are some research-supported sources of answers:
FIVE MYTHS ABOUT ADMISSIONS TESTING
1. Admissions exams are just wealth tests.
2. Superior test scores can be bought.
3. SAT and ACT scores don’t predict college success.
4. SATs only tell you how well a student takes the SAT.
5. Test optional policies increase racial diversity at colleges.
All of these myths tend to dominate public conversation, even though they contradict real evidence. Luckily, writer Freddie deBoer delivers real facts in both podcast and article form. I recommend both!
FIVE MYTHS ABOUT COLLEGE
1. You can pay for in-state tuition at your state school with a summer job.
2. The country’s very wealthiest don’t see the value in a college degree.
3. The United States has the best (or worst) education in the world.
4. Out of state students are flooding state universities, jacking up tuition.
5. The student debt crisis reflects students taking frivolous majors at liberal arts schools.
Do any of these misconceptions sound familiar to you? Chase down the truth behind each one in educator Charly Kuecks’s piece on why We Don’t Need No Education.
Of course, these are only a handful of the myriad misconceptions of college and testing. What is your favorite myth about college?