August 30, 2008

Path to College More Daunting Than Ever Purdue Official Says Benefits Outweigh Costs

By JOHN MARTIN Courier & Press staff writer 464-7594 or [email protected]

The cost of college can be intimidating, and the application process is more competitive than ever.

Even so, "there's a place for everyone in the higher education system," Purdue University President Emeritus Martin Jischke said.

Jischke, who will be the guest of Mater Dei and Memorial high schools at the Sept. 25 Tomorrow's Work Force luncheon at The Centre, said high school graduates today are presented with challenges but also with unprecedented opportunities.

"The expectation has grown that students go on to college. I would make the argument that everyone ought to have some postsecondary or college experience, and they ought to understand that their education will never end," Jischke said.

And, today's graduates of schools such as Mater Dei and Memorial "are competing not only with other bright young people from across the United States, but other bright young people from around the world," Jischke said.

Jischke, a Chicago native, retired as Purdue's 10th president in July 2007. But as president emeritus, he maintains an office on the West Lafayette, Ind., campus.

Performance in high school classes remains the best indicator of a high school student's readiness for college, Jischke said.

Grades are a better measurement than even standardized tests, Jischke said, although he also noted that colleges take a high school's academic rigor into account when evaluating individual students.

He recommends that students challenge themselves with math, science and foreign language courses and make time for extracurricular activities.

"Do as well as you can in high school, because that will have a lot of impact on the opportunities you have subsequently," Jischke said.

And he said he urges students to not be daunted by the costs of college, because there are pathways for all.

"We know there are very bright people out there who come from disadvantaged backgrounds," he said.

If you go

What: Tomorrow's Work Force luncheon, with guest speaker Purdue University President Emeritus Martin Jischke

When: 11:30 a.m. Sept. 25

Where: The Centre

More information: Reservations are due by Sept. 12. For information about tickets or sponsorships, call 474-2943, ext. 300.

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