Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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So you want your child to go to college....

I wasn't too fond of doing my homework when I was in middle school and high school, a fact that exasperated my mother to no end. Seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade, she would remind me that, "college is coming sooner than you think!!" At the time, I thought this was a bit of melodrama, but as I've gotten older I do recignize a glimmer of wisdom in her point.

Since modern science has yet to devise a way to clone my mother, and modern ethicists have yet to come to grips with the awesome metaphysical implications of having multiple copies of my mother running around in the world, how can the young people get a grip on the importance of college? This is where Quest For College comes in:

Quest For College is an educational board game designed to provide 8th and 9th graders with some early awareness of the opportunities afforded by higher education. The game was created by Gina Coleman, an Associate Director of Admission at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Coleman created this game in 1999 as a reaction to the inequalities she observed between public and private schooled children in terms of preparedness in the college search and application process.
Great idea, but there should be a companion game for the helicopter parents that will undoubtedly buy this board game: "Letting Go of Your Children."

Full disclosure: Coleman was a college classmate of mine.

posted by Dan on 05.24.06 at 11:44 AM


Moreover, the parents who buy this game probably have the characteristics that well correlate with college-attending kids anyway (high incomes, good jobs, values that place a strong emphasis on education, etc.).

The game sounds good, but copies would probably be better placed in lower socio-economic homes. By “better,” I just mean that the jump in attendance would likely be more pronounced.


posted by: Jennifer on 05.24.06 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

1) This seems like a solution in search of a problem.

2) Do kids today even know what a board game is? Why not a website or something?

posted by: SteveinVT on 05.24.06 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

My girlfriend teaches at a Catholic school that had a very successful class dedicated to this kind of thing. The school is mainly underpriveledged minority students and the class was called 'life studies' or something to that effect. They taught things like balancing a checkbook and running a budget for the school bookstore, but the part that i thought was brilliant was that they broke down into great detail the kind of life a college educated person can have down to dollars and cents compared to a single mother living off wellfare (which is a disturbingly common choice among the girls apparently, choosing to intentionally have a kid and live off wellfare).

The teacher won some kind of national award and grant for the program. Immediately afterwards the program was cut and the teacher let go to save budget money for a turnover into a charter school. Nice. Aside from reading and writing I cant think of a more important class- you arent gonna train many biologists or accountants if your kids arent even motivated to graduate high school.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 05.24.06 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I know how to motivate kids. Tell 'em my story: I went to a poor public school. I aced my classes and got 1400 on my SATs and ended up attending college with the children of Sam Jackson and Tom Hanks, and the actress Anne Hathaway. How cool is that? Anything's possible.

posted by: jared on 05.24.06 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I kinda think Dungeons & Dragons and similar games (ie, Traveller) are good preparation for this.

In the games, you spend some time coming up with a character, and choosing various abilities or characteristics in hopes of coming up with a combination that will be interesting to play during the adventures, and which will make success (and survival!) more likely.

Course selection in college (and, to a lesser extent, high school) can be looked at like this - choosing the skills and abilities you will use later in life. Only it's things like Calculus and Organic Chemistry rather than "Magic Missile" and "Longbow specialization"

posted by: Jon H on 05.24.06 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

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