Why do so many students matriculate in colleges with such poor graduation rates? A key factor is that many students are unaware of college graduation rate information and how their college choices affect their chances of degree completion. A new paper by Northwestern researchers James Rosenbaum and Jennifer Stephan applies the term “poor completion transparency” to the obfuscating maze between high school and college and then employment. According to Rosenbaum and Stephan, the many confusing degree options in our varied higher education model combine with weak college counseling to create poor completion transparency.
To address the transparency problem, Rosenbaum and Stephan call for better counseling to inform students about the labor market prospects associated with each college option. In this vision, college counseling needs to provide students with blunt, dream-killing facts about future prospects. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.