Thursday, January 18, 2007

College and American Idol

You've seen the parade of folks who are rejects on the show. And you don't have to be Simon to figure it out, either.

There's an interesting parallel, by the way--now in the headlines because of the Democrat plans to "reduce interest rates" for some folks.

There is no magic point at which a genuine college-level education becomes an option, but anything below an IQ of 110 is problematic. If you want to do well, you should have an IQ of 115 or higher. Put another way, it makes sense for only about 15% of the population, 25% if one stretches it, to get a college education. And yet more than 45% of recent high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges. Adjust that percentage to account for high-school dropouts, and more than 40% of all persons in their late teens are trying to go to a four-year college--enough people to absorb everyone down through an IQ of 104.

No data that I have been able to find tell us what proportion of those students really want four years of college-level courses, but it is safe to say that few people who are intellectually unqualified yearn for the experience, any more than someone who is athletically unqualified for a college varsity wants to have his shortcomings exposed at practice every day. They are in college to improve their chances of making a good living. What they really need is vocational training. But nobody will say so, because "vocational training" is second class. "College" is first class.

Those who simply can not benefit from a college education should not be suckered into trying.

But it doesn't stop them, any more than it doesn't stop those poor fools who think that they can sing.

HT: Vox


Anonymous said...

Hey, it's nice to have a sampling of the "lower end of the Bell Curve" around the university. They buffer some of the costs of the University with their tuition, and they can serve as cautionary tales to the rest of the students.

J said...

Sometimes they are nice in some of my classes to help bring the average down. Until they start disrupting class and bothering you with questions before they even thought about consulting *gasp* the book.

Anonymous said...

I had one of those in class with me today.

After the prof gave an excellent explanation, a student proceeded to ask a nonsensical which the professor couldn't understand. She tried and tried, but couldn't say anything that came close to making sense.

Finally she gave up and another student approached her and said, "Wow, you really understand this stuff. I wish I was as smart as you".

I just left shaking my head and hoping they don't waste too much class time during the rest of the semester.