April 19, 2019

The Perks of an Israeli College Education

“This week, my 23-year-old daughter, Gabriella, starts her undergraduate studies at Tel Aviv University. Already, she is off to a better start than her mother, who started college 38 years ago at age 18. She is far more mature and focused, thanks to a year of volunteer teaching, a three-year stint as an IDF officer and a few months of freewheeling international travel.

As someone who is fluent in English and studied several years intermittently in a US elementary and high school, Gabriella could have chosen to study in a US college. But I think, for several reasons, she made the correct decision to obtain her BA in Israel. In doing so, she will avoid many of the problems inherent in the US higher education system.

First, no unfair and highly competitive application process. I can still recall, in painful detail, my disappointment at being rejected by several elite colleges. The insane competition for acceptance in US universities is much worse today. It has made for hyper jittery high school students – and their parents — often pushed to the point of physical and mental illness. Meanwhile, the admissions process remains intrinsically unfair and inscrutable. It is stacked toward athletes, legacies, minorities, wealthy people and those living in remote geographic areas consequently leaving many smart and hard-working 18-year-olds encountering rejections. All in all, this process leaves many sharp young people convinced they are failures before even beginning college.”

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