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President Glassner comments in national media on college choice, new Obama college plan

August 23, 2013

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School ranking and a comfortable environment are two of the top reasons that students pick colleges to attend. But neither of these reasons holds up to scrutiny, said President Barry Glassner and Northwestern University President Morton Shapiro in a commentary published today in the Los Angeles Times.

Also today, Glassner and Schapiro appear with five other experts in Chronicle of Higher Education coverage of reactions to President Obama’s newly announced plans to contain college costs.

In the Times piece, the two presidents urge students to “consider where you will thrive, both in the near term and after you graduate.” For some, this might mean a school where alumni provide counsel and assistance to students hoping to break into specific industries; a school with strong international experiences for those with global interests; or a school with many hands-on research opportunities.

“The specific schools we recommend depend on the student’s needs and passions,” Glassner said. “In seeking these matches, we are not looking for the most comfortable place for the student, but rather where he or she can thrive intellectually and psychologically…After all, the goal is to develop the skills and the inclination to educate yourself for life.”

In their Chronicle of Higher Education comments, Glassner and Schapiro express their hope that Obama will look beyond the measures of performance and value to “quality and dedication of the faculty, the availability and caliber of majors and minors, academic and other support services the institution provides, study-abroad opportunities, and a general focus on the intellectual and social development of students both inside and outside the classroom.”

Los Angeles Times Commentary Chronicle of Higher Education