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Does college fail grads in the workplace?

News interns run out with the ruling regarding same-sex marriage from the U.S. Supreme Court June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

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So with another wave of high school graduations just around the corner, it’s a good time to talk about college.

Sure, you go to college to learn stuff in classrooms, read books and write papers. But in his new book “There is Life After College,” education writer Jeffrey Selingo says the most valuable skills students need to get a job might no longer be found on campus.

“It’s much more about how you go to college now than where you go, or even if you go in some cases,” he said.

What is the difference between prepared and unprepared kids?

So the biggest difference is, is that, those students who take advantage, particularly of outside the classroom experiences, study abroad, project based learning, undergraduate research, and the big one, internships, that helps develop those soft skills that employers over and over again say they want: problem solving, working in teams, and the big one, the ability navigate the ambiguity of day-to-day work.

On the importance of grit and resilience: 

Most students have a hard time doing that. You know for the most part, education has been directed for them throughout their life. Think about the college classroom of today, it’s very task-based: take an exam, finish a paper, attend a club meeting, go to practice and, for the most part, the modern workforce is a mashup of activities and most students don’t know how to address that.

Selingo’s solutions for students of the future:

I think that we need to press pause and give some students more time. 400,000 students drop out of college every year, many of them freshman, and now we have more millennials than any other age group in the United States, who have some college credit and no degree. And that’s very worrisome for the future of the country and for the workforce. So I’m a big fan, for example, of giving some students time off after high school, gap years for example, and when they actually do go to college they’re much more mature and they’re much more focused and come out on time and actually spend even less money than than they probably would have spent wandering.

Read an excerpt of Selingo’s book below. 

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