Phi Beta Cons

Delusional College Students

Results from the latest Collegiate Learning Assessment were released last week. They’re not good. Of the 32,000 students tested, 40 percent were deemed ill-prepared to enter the white collar workforce because they had not adequately enhanced their critical thinking, problem solving, and written communication skills during college.

As Inside Higher Ed reports today, however, students’ perceptions of their abilities in those important areas may not be tethered to reality. 

A recent Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACUsurvey asked employers whether college grads are well-prepared for work in terms of their written communication skills. Of the surveyed employers, only 27 percent believe that students are well-prepared in that regard, while 65 percent of surveyed students say their written communication skills are just fine, thank you very much.

What about critical thinking skills? Employers weren’t impressed here, either, with only 26 percent indicating that students are well-prepared. But when students were asked the same question, 66 percent said they are proficient in that area. 

“When it comes to the types of skills and knowledge that employers feel are most important to workplace success, large majorities of employers do NOT feel that recent graduates are well-prepared,” the AACU report states. 

Jesse SaffronJesse Saffron is a writer and editor for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a North Carolina-based think tank dedicated to improving higher education in the Tar ...

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