A Student Speaks Out on The Benefits of Getting an Associates Degree

Lately my college, like many other two-year schools, has been making an effort to encourage students to stay for two years and earn an associate degree before transferring. That can be a hard sell, since we’re primarily a “portal” institution, and many of our students make no bones about the fact that they want to transfer as soon as possible—in many cases, after one year. Even those who stay two years often can’t be bothered to go to the extra “trouble” of applying for graduation, despite the clear advantages of having an actual degree to show for those two years.

Perhaps, though, if the essay below is any indication, the word is starting to get through. This was actually a final exam essay in one of my ENGL 1101 sections this semester. The student wrote it in one hour (per departmental instruction), based on one of three prompts that I provided. The prompt he chose was, “Should students who attend two-year schools like [Georgia Perimeter College] stay and earn their associate degrees, or should they transfer as soon as possible?”

I do realize that this student, who is obviously bright and savvy, might just have been saying what he thought I wanted to hear. I also recognize that he does, at times, tend to somewhat overstate his case. Remember that he’s an 18-year-old responding to a high-pressure, high-stakes writing situation. <Read more.>

Via Rob Jenkins , The Chronicle of Higher Education. The student letter is from Brandon Goltz-Lovelace.