Recently, I was in my local Target, browsing around the electronics department. A young man, seemingly of college age, was interested in purchasing a Bluetooth speaker. He had many questions for the department employee.
- How long will the battery last?
- Is the Bluetooth easy to pair with other devices?
- How long will the speaker itself, generally last?
I was impressed by his determination to make sure he had his questions answered before he made the purchase, but it stopped to make me think: Is this same, college-aged male, equally asking important questions before he makes his college decision?
Using my experiences as a guideline, I would say the quick answer to this is no. Interestingly, a $50 mini speaker fosters more questions than his $100,000 college education. Crazy, isn’t it? More than crazy though, it’s downright unfortunate.
When college students accompany their mom, and/or dad on a campus tour, important questions rarely, if ever get asked. Sometimes, a random question gets asked about the dorm or the food plan, but the important, $100,000 questions are never heard.
- What is this school’s graduation rate? (The national average is just under 60%; and that’s over six years!)
- What is the school’s retention rate (% of students who return for their sophomore year)?
- What is the college doing to ensure that I retain and graduate?
- What happens if I get sick and miss classes?
- What are the alcohol and drug policies on campus?
Whereas these questions can be uncomfortable to ask, they are important nonetheless. Many a student gets lost in the system and doesn’t get pushed, nurtured or advised to return to school and/or graduate. Many students encounter a surprisingly physical, or mental health problem that puts their college career on hold. And depending on the college, a student can be punished if his or her roommate is found to have a banned, or controlled substance in the dorm.
The mini, Bluetooth speaker can certainly be an important decision. It can get a lot of good use and provide a good return on investment. Like the speaker, the college decision needs to get the same level of thought and question before its purchase.