FICTION

College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students

New Harvest: Houghton Harcourt. 2013. 256p. notes. index. ISBN 9780544027077. $26. ED
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OrangeReviewStarSelingo (editor in chief, Chronicle of Higher Education) knows a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of higher education. He is especially concerned with the high costs and experience of loss by students who drop out as a result of misguided information, poor motivation, or weak programs. He shares in the widespread concern that colleges need to meet individual student needs better, use technology more effectively, and provide more accessible information. Unlike some critics, he asserts that traditional undergraduate education will adapt to meet the needs of 18- to 22-year-old students, and flexibility in community colleges and other institutions will supply vocational skills for older workers. He urges students to stay informed about college costs and the next steps to expected careers and not to rely solely on institutional guidance yet not to ignore the value in a broad liberal arts education for individuals and society in general. In a style lively and clear, Selingo provides examples of poor choices and better ones, emphasizes questions students should ask before they "fall in love with a college" that may not be a good fit, and describes programs that successfully enrich the lives of their students.
VERDICT Essential for students and parents and for other readers concerned about the tangled criticism of higher education today.

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