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Bill Gates Stresses College Completion

Submitted by on October 9, 2013 – 3:04 pmNo Comment
Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC President

Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC President

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to hear Bill Gates speak at a conference.  My first reaction came from the reception from audience.  While giving a standing ovation, just about everyone’s mobile phone cameras were held high in the air to capture a photo of Mr. Gates.

In an article I read in Bloomberg Business Week, I noticed Mr. Gates had no current connection to Microsoft, the company he founded.  Instead, his title was listed as philanthropist.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has lofty goals, and the funders are generous with their various contributions.  In the speech I heard, Mr. Gates spoke comfortably and confidently about technology and its impact on higher education.  His main concern was college completion, meaning placing an emphasis on student success and encouraging learners to complete a formal program of study leading to an award or degree.

In our society today, college completion, meaning fulfilling all graduation requirements and securing an academic credential, is essential.  We try hard to emphasize completion at SFSC.  We know that a student’s chances of obtaining a “good job” with higher earning potential is clearly linked with the earning of an academic credential.

Mr. Gates stated that colleges everywhere need to get behind a movement to make sure support systems are in place to ensure completion.  The largest impediment to college graduation is lack of academic preparation.  Unfortunately, many traditional students who have recently graduated from high school are not prepared to enter college without having to complete remedial courses.  Although this is not a barrier to admission, educators at the secondary and postsecondary levels need to change this, especially since a college education is affordable and accessible to everyone.

Consider this advice to students and prospects considering college admission: Begin with a goal in mind.  Seek help when you have questions.  Develop an attitude of determination to earn a degree or certificate in your program of study.  It will open doors, and it will result in additional long-term earnings and personal satisfaction.  Not everyone is as fortunate as Bill Gates, the most famous individual alive today who did not graduate with a college degree.

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