Thought I wanted to be a lawyer…

claire-cowling

Veronica’s Story:

I grew up watching Law & Order.  I fell in love with the show because of the big reveals in court.  Of course there was some shocking detail that nailed the evildoer to the wall.  Guilty! Justice served!  I joined debate team and Woman in Law club.  I happily checked the prelaw box of my college applications.  I didn’t even celebrate when I was accepted to every law school that I applied to.  I never doubted my path to success.  Where ever success was I was going to head in that direction. 

I hated law school.  No worries.  Hating law school was that small piece of pain right before you accomplish something.  Like the thigh burn before completing those twenty six miles of a marathon.  I had outlets.  Before a demanding study session I crocheted a few lines of doubles on the blanket for my nephew.  During Christmas break I built a coffee table out of used wine bottles or crafted a mosaic design on an end table.

I finally reached that promise land paved with gold and accomplishment.  I was recruited by one of those firms with a million partner names that forces a cumbersome abbreviation.  I admit it took some months for the shininess associated with this lifestyle I had worked so hard for to dim.  I didn’t understand why my feet hurt after hours of stiletto stomping around the office.  Did Sex in the City Miranda ever have gripping, aching feet?  She work Manolos.  I didn’t understand why I wanted home cooked meals even though I could afford take out.  Why did I continue to make furniture even though I could afford to purchase any home décor I wanted?  Where was my time?  Where was all of the relaxing and enjoying life that this tax bracket entitled me to?  I was tired of hiding my tattoos and avoiding the magenta hair dye at the beauty supply store. 

After a year of lawyering I told my mom about the change I wanted to make.  She scoffed, “Do you really think you can switch from corporate attorney to interior designer just like that?  You owe $195,000 in student loans.”

I wish research about my career path involved more than a television show.  I don’t know how to get out of this…

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Becoming a “Grown Up” Within the Current American Landscape

student-loan-debt

Although the details may vary we all have that dream.  You know the one.  You throw your tasseled, square hat in the air and somehow it floats off.  Or, you don’t bother to see what happened to that cardboard hat because you have already made a dash to the iron gates of your prestigious university.  You are finally free to be an adult.  You checked every box, passed all the right tests, and are headed to the career of your dreams.  You jump into that convertible that all of your hard work has afforded you and head off to that green grassed, three bedroomed, 2.5 bathroomed house that you can finally afford because you are a college graduate.  Or, perhaps, you are headed to that job you have always dreamed about.  That colorful logo will greet you every morning as your work days are complete with trips to Starbucks, sinking in the leather office chair that is the centerpiece of you swanky glass office space, or business trips that puts numerous stamps in your passport.  Right?  

Well…statistics show that more and more college graduates are not able to buy their own homes until they pass the big 3 0.  Twenty somethings don’t buy homes like they used to.  32% of millennials live at home with their parents and less college graduates share financial responsibility with their partner or spouse.  With student financial debt averaging at about $30,000 that dream of graduating into “adulthood” seems to be further from what many are able to afford.  Time to consider new passages into success. 

President Obama’s Legacy on Student Loans

obamabarack_042516getty

When he announced his candidacy in 2007, Barack Obama looked like he could be the one to finally stand up to the student lending system.  He was one of only two members on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee not to have taken money from the Sallie Mae PAC.  In this position he was privy to HELP Committee  and other reports detailing a broad swath of illegal and deceptive activities by the lenders, the universities, and even the Department of Education…

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/education/279512-president-obamas-horrible-terrible-legacy-on-student-loans

Frequently Asked Questions About Higher Education

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Application Process

Q:     Can I apply to more than one program?

A:     Yes.

Q:     Can I enroll in more than one program concurrently?

A:     No.

Q:     What kind of GPA do I need in order to be accepted into a Higher Education program?

A:     There is no minimum GPA required for acceptance into any program.

Q:     Do I need to include SAT or ACT scores in my application?

A:     Reporting SAT or ACT scores is an optional part of the application.  If you do provide SAT or ACT scores please attach unofficial score reports from ETS to your application.

Q:     How can I distinguish myself from other applicants?

A:     Understand the mission of Higher Education and how it aligns with your goals.  Express this understanding in your essay, resume, and interview.  These are the most important pieces of your application.

Q:     Can I apply for financial aid or merit awards?

A:     Yes.  If you apply for financial aid please attach a scanned copy of your head of household’s 2015 income tax return to your application.

 

Program Details

Q:     How much time must I commit if I want to enroll in a Higher Education program?

A:     Successful completion of Higher Education programs requires 40+ hours a week for ten months to a full year.

Q:     Where do students enrolled in Higher Education programs earn college credits?

A:     Enrollment in partner colleges and universities depends on program location.

Q:     Is Higher Education an accredited college or university?

A:    No. Higher Education is a non-profit organization.  Higher Education partners with accredited colleges and universities so that enrollees may earn college credits.

Q:     How will I be graded?

A:     Coursework at partner colleges and universities will be graded on an A-F scale.   All other components will be graded pass/fail. Students must earn a B or better, on coursework graded on an A-F scale, in order to successfully complete all Higher Education programs.

Q:     What tools will I utilize to successfully navigate and complete my Higher Education program?

A:     Instructors will provide rubrics and clear syllabi that outline requirements.

Q:     How can I distinguish myself within my cohort?

A:     Students have the opportunity to earn acknowledgment as distinguished members of their cohort during the summer.  This is the only time students can earn distinguished classification.

Q:     How much is tuition and fees?

A:     The projected tuition and fee costs for 2017-2018 programs is $6,560.

 

Student Life

Q:     Where do Higher Education Cohort members live?

A:     Students have a variety of options regarding living arrangements.  Students can remain at their permanent residence, find housing on their own, or utilize Higher Education resources to find housing and/or roommates.

Q:     In what region of the country will I complete program requirements?

A:     Locations vary based on program.  Click here for more details.

Q:     Does tuition include housing, meal plan, or travel costs?

A:     No

EduShyster: Why College Does Not End Poverty

Instead of ending poverty college usually guarantees a lifetime of debt.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Many people think that getting in to college is the key to life success. There is no doubt that there is a correlation between income and education, but the question remains: Will entry into college guarantee an end to poverty?

In this podcast, EduShyster says that getting into college is not a guarantee of getting ahead. As she shows in this podcast, many young people struggle to get into college, then find themselves burdened with debt and less able to cope with the demands of academic life and working to pay off their debts.

For me, the takeaway is that Bernie Sanders’ proposal to make public college tuition-free makes sense. Higher education should be a right, not a privilege.

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Higher Education in the 21st Century

o-school-facebookThe meaning of education has become misconstrued. There does not seem to be a way to become educated without enrolling in a university or college.  This evolution would not be problematic if students were leaving college prepared to enter the work force.  Companies continue to recruit human resources overseas as American colleges and universities slip in international rankings.  This problem is compounded by the exponential growth of tuition costs and mounting student loan debt.  There are some benefits to study at colleges and universities, however, it is detrimental to consider college degrees the only road to accomplishment.  For many, undergraduate degrees only guarantees extensive study of content unrelated to intended careers, and tremendous financial debt.

It is time to reimagine pathways to success.  Higher Education envisions 21st century scholarship by providing students with the following:

Meaningful work experience guided by successful professionals in the field

Locations where the prospective field has grown, thrived, or become well established

Participation and collaboration with cohort members in efforts to found businesses, programs, or services

Affordability

Extensive research based in current discourse and literature about the prospective field

Rigorous standards and requirements that make alumnus competitive in the current job market and college application process

Traditional coursework directly related to prospective career path

Discussions, coursework, and project collaborations driven by student interests

Instead of simulations, real project work expected to have long lasting impact and permanence

educatehigher.org

info@educatehigher.org