Let’s Stop Condescending To For-Profit College Students

Career College Central summary:

  • When Tressie McMillan Cottom of Slate.com recently wrote about the admissions process at career colleges, she attracted a comment from a reader who’s also a student at ITT Technical Institute.
  • Cottom uses the student's remarks to analyze his "educational biography" and touch on the hardships many for-profit college students face on the path to attaining an education.
  • Cottom writes that career college students "wish companies respected real-world experience, skills, and knowledge. Oddly, the ideology of companies wanting more skilled labor is used to justify—and market—MOOCs and the for-profits niche, even if this ideology doesn’t square with how companies actually hire."
  • Cottom adds, "I have about 75 hours of interviews with for-profit students for my study on admissions. With some variation by gender and class, all those in the survey talk about waking up one day after a long period of economic uncertainty with the idea of going to college. Middle-class folks—the kind that Annette Lareau talks about in Unequal Childhoods—cannot fathom this kind of decision process for something as important as going to college. Wealthy and middle-class kids have been going to college since birth. Everything poured into them by their family and social groups is about teaching them how to do real college. That means knowing rankings, comparing programs, navigating bureaucracies—these are all middle- and upper-status markers."

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