Sep 06, 2019

NGPF Podcast: Michael Horn discusses the college decision-making process

Michael Horn's new book, Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions Throughout Your Life, chronicles what Michael and his research team discovered after asking hundreds of people a simple question: How did you choose your college? Michael connects the dots to show the primary reasons people choose to go to college (and it's not what you might expect) and how students, parents and higher education can use these findings to make better decisions and serve students more effectively. Enjoy!


  • 0:00~1:17 Introduction
  • 1:17~4:25 Michael’s own college decision process 
  • 4:25~5:24 Working for Yale’s newspaper 
  • 5:24~6:33 Conversations with Rick Levin
  • 6:33~7:55 What is a MOOC?
  • 7:55~9:39 Motivation for writing the book
  • 9:39~15:31 Memorable stories from the mini-docs
  • 15:31~17:50 Types of students who go to college
  • 17:50~21:44 What triggers students to think about going to college?
  • 21:44~24:03 Students taking gap years
  • 24:03~26:11 How college costs affect decisions
  • 26:11~26:38 A word from NGPF
  • 26:38~29:09 Choosing other career options 
  • 29:09~35:30 Key takeaways from the book
  • 35:30~37:00 How colleges can be better for students 
  • 37:00~39:03 Core principles teachers should talk about
  • 39:03~41:19 Activities featured in the book 
  • 41:19~42:51 Conclusion



  • “When a teacher, guidance counselor or a mentor tells a student that they could do ‘x’ [instead of going to college] it opens up a whole new world to them and a release valve opens up to them.”


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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