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What College Will Look Like in 2020

What will college look like in the year 2020?
If you've got younger children, you might assume that the only thing that's going to change by then is the price. In 11 years, the most selective private schools could easily cost more than $70,000 a year.

Beyond the price, tremendous changes are in store for first graders who will be heading to college in 2020. That's the key take-home message of an exhaustive report just released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The study costs $75 so I can't link it here, but you'll find the highlights below:

The classic college experience won't be the norm.
Many kids dream of spending four glorious years on an idyllic campus with gothic architecture and rich traditions, but fewer teenagers will enjoy this experience because it will be too darn expensive. "The idyll of four years away from home -- spent living and learning and growing into adulthood -- will continue to wane," the report predicts.

Colleges stuck in the middle will feel pressure to change the most.
The elite private universities and state flagship institutions will remain popular and so will community colleges, which appeal to the budget conscious. It's the colleges in the middle, which don't have well-known brand names, that will have to reinvent themselves to survive. These public and private colleges will have to appeal to part-timers, adult students and those who want to learn primarily online.

Colleges will ditch their banker hours.
Schools will be offering classes 24/7 as the push for online education grows dramatically. More than 20% of all college students were taking at least one online class in the fall of 2007 and that number will continue growing. Schools will also hold more classes at night and on the weekend.

Faculty will change how they teach.
In 2020, you'll still find professors droning on in lecture halls, but they're going to have to adapt too. Kids are geniuses about finding information online so they will be less dependent on teachers to act as oracles. Instead instructors will need to serve as organizers and guides for their students. A professor, the study suggests, "will become someone who finds the best articles and research, and sweeps away misconceptions and bad information."

....Whether we like it or not, change is coming on campuses across the country. I'm just glad my kids will be out of college by then. Or at least that's the plan.

College image by Sir Cam, CC 2.0.

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