College-bound classes are the hottest thing to hit college campuses in recent memory, but many educators are worried about their effectiveness and whether the types of courses students take will really be able to prepare them for jobs in the workforce.
“What is so exciting about it is that it’s not just about having a lot of money for tuition,” said Lisa Fusco, an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona and author of the forthcoming book, “The Collegebound: A College-Bound Course for the 21st Century.”
“It’s about the quality of the course.”
Aspiring entrepreneurs, for example, are increasingly looking to master more advanced courses in business, economics, and finance to get their foot in the door, said Fuscox.
Students who want to pursue their passion for a career in finance, she said, should consider taking a college-bound course, especially in a field like finance.
The degree and certificate programs offered at colleges and universities vary.
The College of Business and Economics at Georgetown University offers a two-year certificate that allows students to take courses like “Introduction to the Financial Services Industry” or “Financial Planning and Accounting.”
The degree program at the College of Nursing at Ohio State University is the same as a master’s degree in nursing.
Some universities, including Georgetown, offer three-year certificates that are aimed at preparing students for jobs.
Others, including the University at Buffalo, have four-year degrees that are designed to prepare students for careers in accounting, marketing, or finance.
The two-and-a-half-year Master of Business Administration program at Duke University is a four-month certificate that is designed for students interested in the role of an executive.
In addition to courses that prepare students to land lucrative jobs, some college-related certificates offer special programs like “Master of Finance” that provide students with the skills they need to get into business schools, or “Business Operations” that prepare graduates for careers as accountants, finance analysts, or consultants.
College-bound courses are a new phenomenon in the U.S. but are not unique to the United States, according to FusCOvo.
Students are taking courses for the first time on the internet, and universities are beginning to offer courses on their campuses that include content such as video lectures and podcasts.
In many cases, students are taking college-based classes for free or paying for them with credit cards, she noted.
“You’re paying for what you can get.”
Fusco’s courses aim to help students take on more responsibility and focus on skills they could be better equipped for if they got their degrees in other fields.
“It’s really about taking the courses you’re most comfortable with,” FusCo said.
“I would say there’s a real difference between what a professor is going to teach you and what a course is going.
They’re going to give you a course about finance, a course that gives you an introduction to the field of finance, and then they’ll give you the certificate, which is going at the end of the year.”
Fussco said that the quality and breadth of the content in her courses have been an eye opener.
“If you’re not prepared, you don’t learn,” she said.
She said that many of her students have not taken classes in the past.
“We were talking about how we would get a student into business school, and the first person that came up to me said, ‘You have to take classes,’ ” FusCvo said.
Students who take her courses feel more comfortable and empowered because they are learning a topic they can really relate to, she added.
Fusca also said that students feel less anxious after taking her courses because they feel like they’re able to share their experiences and learn something new.
FusCo’s courses have helped students who have been in college for years realize that they should be prepared for a life outside the classroom.
Fuseco said she has helped hundreds of students who are struggling with the transition into the workforce, and many have taken advantage of her courses to gain confidence in their ability to work.
“They’ve taken on some real life responsibilities, and they’ve made some really good decisions about how they are going to get back to their job,” FuseCO said.