Aug 2019

Do colleges know what their jobs are?

Consultant and author Michael Horn discusses his forthcoming book, “Choosing College,” and how institutions can respond to students’ mix of expectations.

To thrive — or even just survive — colleges must gather information about their students’ motivations for enrolling and build strategies around it. That’s according to Michael Horn, an education consultant and author who covers the future of learning and instruction.

In a new book, “Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions Throughout Your Life,” out next month, Horn and entrepreneur Bob Moesta propose that people considering college believe it will meet one of five objectives — or “jobs” — for them and that understanding them is critical for an institution’s success.

Those jobs are fairly straightforward, in the language Horn and Moesta use: get into their best school; do what’s expected of them; get away; step it up; and extend themselves.

While students typically associate their college with one job at a time, it’s not so straightforward for the institutions.

“If you look at the range of students, I would argue that every single institution is serving multiple jobs and therefore is not optimized around any of them,” Horn said.


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