Our Universities: Open Letter to High School Graduates

Dear Graduating Senior,

I am begging your pardon for a somber reflection amidst the joy of accomplishment: not to be a wet rag on the festivities of graduation, but a bright light on the realities of post-secondary education.

If you are going on to a state university, your GPA is a 3.5 or better, your ACT or SAT score is at the 70th percentile - placing you in the top 30% of current test takers - and you enter the University this year, about 56% of students with similar qualifications will graduate in 6 years. What's surprising about this number is that it's not higher, closer to 85 or 90%. But college is tough. That is what you pay for.

On the other hand, if you're going to a university with a more typical 2.8 GPA and are at the 45th percentile on the ACT or SAT, the likelihood of finishing in 6 years drops to well below 50%. These are not great odds. Not like the odds that you carried to high school when graduation was nearly guaranteed. Show up and win.