The College Puzzle Blog
Prior PostingsAbout
Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

Five Explanations For Low College Completion

College completion is very low for nonselective postsecondary education-less than 50% for 4 year and about 30% for 2 year colleges. There are many causes , but we do not know which is the most or least important. Here are 5 causes from Michal Kurlaender at UC- Davis :
-Compositional Changes in College Going Population- eg more students start at 2 year, go part time
-Student lacks Interest in Continuing- eg courses are boring or gets job.
-Financial Constraints
-Poor Academic prepardness and k-12 alignment of standards , study habits etc.
- Bad Institutional practices- students cannot get needed courses, lack of counseling, failure to promote financial aid
All of these are important, but it is puzzling that similar colleges have different college completion rates. More on this in next blog

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