According to a 2011 Harvard study titled “Pathways to Prosperity,” just 56 percent of students who embark on a bachelor’s degree program finish within six years. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, just 46 percent of Americans complete college once they start, worst among the 18 countries it tracks.
Although various factors are cited for the college drop-out problem, educators, parents, and graduates who have been involved in the University-Model® believe the following about the UM alternative model of education:
The university schedule eliminates the adjustment to a college schedule.
Parents in the satellite classroom who partner with the UM school not only reinforce the direct teaching provided by the professional educator in the central classroom but they also teach their children study skills and organizational skills which have been shown through research to be highly correlated with good grades in college.
The emphasis on character development and family ministry in the UM results in a strong discipleship approach, thus students are much more likely to enter college as Christian students who will not fall away from their faith.
The direct involvement required of parents in the University-Model® results in a strong relationship between parents and their children.
Many people in the University-Model® believe other factors also contribute to students dropping out of college. Factors such as a lack of challenging courses in high school, the failure of schools to teach basic virtues (personal responsibility, ordering time, developing initiative, prioritizing tasks, and striving for excellence rather than perfection), and the removal of parents from the educational process.
Love for learning and a strong work ethic are essentials that parents can teach and University-Model® schools can reinforce. Graduates of University-Model® schools report that they have been well prepared for the challenges of college because they have been trained in the university system from the beginning.
Other practical benefits of the University-Model® include:
University-Model® schools cost one-half to two-thirds less than private Christian schools. Both parents do not have to work in order to send their children to a University-Model® school. The school is designed to keep costs low so that a single income family can participate, leaving mom or dad home on the days that the students are in the satellite classroom at home.
The student teacher ratio is small: 16 to 1 in elementary, 18 to 1 in junior high, and 20 to 1 in high school (recommended).
Many qualified teachers prefer to teach in the UM school due to the positive school climate and parental support. Some teachers and even college professors prefer the part-time schedule of the University-Model®. Thus, teacher retention is often high. Teachers have the freedom to pursue their love of teaching without the distractions and problems often observed in the traditional school. Students come to class prepared because parents are required to supervise their children. Discipline problems are managed quickly by involving parents early in the process.
Parents find they have many teachable moments one-on-one with their children, without having to carry a full load of responsibility.
Because of the university schedule, the peer pressure in most traditional schools is not a major factor. Students spend similar amounts of time under the influence of their parents as they do their friends.
Some of the programs adopted from traditional schools are academic competitions, student council, yearbook, competitive sports, drama, band, choir, senior trips for educational purposes, and others. UM students do not miss out on extra-curricular activities.
With more time available on satellite days, older students in University-Model® schools can pursue other interests that further their God-given purpose. Dancing, playing an instrument, participating in select sports, and even part-time jobs for some students are examples.