Monday, March 9, 2009

Grad School Bait & Switch.

Had someone told me of what was really involved in being a grad student and what actually awaited me once I finished my degree, I may well have considered a different direction in my career. I bought into the Hollywood image of advanced studies at university was portrayed as and found out very quickly that much of it was complete balderdash. I believe the term is "bait and switch."

Unfortunately, the system won't permit anyone inside it from speaking the truth. It's main emphasis is on money-harvesting and maintaining steady revenue. During the open house sessions at the place I used to teach at, we would receive visits from prospective students, often with parents or spouses. I urged them to consider all their options, even if it meant enrolling at another institution as I wanted them to make a decision about their studies which was best for them. I sometimes had students in my courses who didn't want to be there and weren't interested in what they were studying as they really wanted to do something else. I wouldn't have been doing anybody any favors if I convinced them to enroll at the place where I was if that really wasn't where their talents or ambitions lay.

I received a few dirty looks from my colleagues for what I did. The idea was to get people to sign up and to sort things out afterwards, preferably after they paid their tuition.

After I left that school, and before I quit teaching altogether, I did interview with a few other colleges. In some of the sessions, I was asked about this very issue: what would I do to convince someone to attend the establishment in question. When I answered that I wanted to have students in my courses who wanted to be there (implying that anyone who didn't should study a different area or go somewhere else for their education), I knew that I was saying something that the interviewers didn't want to hear.

So sign 'em up, folks--just keep the money rolling in!