College (Un)bound: the Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students by Jeffrey J. Selingo

15815615This is a timely book, coming at a time when so many recent college graduates are unemployed, student loan debt has reached the $1 trillion mark, and student loan interest rates have doubled.  Selingo is editor-at-large for the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is the leading trade journal for academia, so he has insight into today’s college experience.  I found College (Un)bound to be all over the board, however, sometimes offering conflicting advice.  For example, Selingo devotes a chapter to the plight of students who go deep into debt to attend an expensive college but then advises students to attend the best college they can get into (even though those colleges tend to be expensive.)  There are a lot of doom and gloom stories and stats about how few students actually graduate in six years, how hard it is to really compare colleges, and how “degree creep” has caused the Bachelor’s Degree to be the new equivalent of a high school diploma.  The book really shines, however, in its profiles of schools and entrepreneurs who are improving the college experience for the students.  Most of these improvements come in the form of online learning and student-paced courses.  Although many of these programs are offered outside of established colleges, they are starting to partner with colleges to award credits that could be transferred to another school.  All parents of children who will be attending college within five years would do well to read this book to help them in their college preparations.


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