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Cause for Alarm?

This is a good example of an article or news story that gives information but may leave the reader confused.

The headline is kind of alarming: “Study: 4 in 10 Finish College Where They Start”

The article states that this study found “Fewer than half of all students who entered college in 2007 finished school where they started, and almost a third are no longer taking classes toward a degree anywhere, according to review released Monday.”

These are pretty alarming statistics until you begin to tease out the details. First, this article is talking about information from 3500 colleges—that includes students who entered all types of colleges. So, here they have not broken down the differences between traditional “not-for-profit” colleges and the for-profit colleges, also called proprietary colleges. Did these figures contain information on community colleges? And they also include both traditional students as well as non-traditional students, which is defined as those students over age 25.

The real problem with what I read is that there are no reasons given. Change of major that requires a change of college? Financial problems that require the student to change colleges or drop out altogether? Non-traditional students who went back for a few classes or who stopped when they found employment?

For parents of high school students, it is important to know the stats of the colleges to which your student is applying and also more of the details behind the numbers.


Janet Rosier