Joseph Schechtman: Helping Students Graduate College in Four Years and Prepare for Careers in Today’s World of Artificial Intelligence

The most difficult transition in life is from high school to college. High school seniors are stressed about grades, homework, peer relationships, family struggles, going to the “right” college, leaving their friends and family members, and, in many ways, starting life over again. Despite these challenges, most high school seniors expect to graduate college in four years.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Center, 58% of students who began college in the fall of 2012 graduated six years later in the spring of 2018. Asian students (76.7%) and White students (72.1%) continue to graduate at much higher rates than Hispanic (57.4%) and Black (47.6%) students. David Jenkins of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University found that 40% of students who start college never finish.

For students who take six years to graduate, the costs do not amount to just an additional 50% times the first four years. The non-profit Complete College America says that an additional year of school in a public four-year college will cost $22,826, but that does not include a year’s worth of salary because they are still in college. On average, students who must take a fifth year of college miss out on about $45,327 in salary. The total amount becomes $68,153 for just one year. Taking six years to graduate can cost as much as $136,306.

The key to success in school—not to mention work and life—is brain dominance. According to Dr. Katherine Benzinger, who wrote the book, Thriving In Mind, the brain has four unique quadrants—two on the left and two on the right—and each quadrant has a very specific set of skills. Every individual has one quadrant of the brain that is their preference, the one that is their true gift.

This is where Joseph Schechtman, Owner of Joseph Schechtman & Associates in Barrington, can help clients—young and young-at-heart—get to their core issues and remove the “mental junk” that may be preventing them from achieving success.

“College freshmen face two major challenges: developing new friendships and choosing good majors,” said Schechtman. “According to the National Center for Education Statistics, on average, college students change their majors three times. Additionally, 37% of college students transfer to another school, and of this group, 45% will transfer again. When people know their natural preference, they can choose the right college, major, and career that ensure their success and happiness, both in college and in work.”

He noted that students who are the most successful in high school, college, and life naturally use all four quadrants of the brain. In Dr. Benzinger’s research, 25% of people naturally use one quadrant, 55% of people use two quadrants, 15% use three quadrants, and only 5% use all four. The majority of college freshmen with low high school GPAs use one or two quadrants of the brain and use just the right side. A review of colleges throughout the United States reveals significantly lower graduation rates for schools that accept students with lower high school GPAs in the 2.0 – 2.9 range (C students) compared to schools accepting students with higher GPAs in the 3.0 – 4.0 range (B-A students).

“In my work with at-risk students in K-12 schools, I found 90% of the students to be right-brain dominant, hands-on and/or visual learners. In our national education system, we still use conservative and traditional left-brain lecture methodologies. When we use these strategies in our classrooms, left-brain students thrive while right-brain students struggle to survive,” Schechtman said.

Schechtman worked with Dr. Benzinger for over 25 years. Nine years ago, he developed a unique model to teach individuals how to use all four quadrants of the brain. During the 2011/2012 academic year, Schectman ran a pilot for 17 African-American and Hispanic, first-generation, at-risk freshmen with an average high school GPA of 2.5 at Southern Vermont College. All 17 students completed the brain dominance assessment and tested right-brain dominant.

After using his program, those students dramatically improved their self-esteem, academic confidence, and the capacity to establish and maintain healthy relationships. In the spring of 2015, four years later, 12 of 17 graduated. Each student was the first person in their family to graduate college. The graduation rate was 70.5%.

The following year, the college began a second cohort of 16 students. All 16 went through his program, and the results of the brain dominance assessment found 15/16 students to be right-brain dominant. Four years later, in May 2016, 13 out of 16 students graduated. The graduation rate was 81.25%.

“As K-12 schools and colleges are preparing their students to succeed in the job market, the world is confronting the fourth Industrial Revolution, led by artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics,” Schechtman said. “According to USA Today with a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute, automation could kill 73 million US jobs by 2030. Economic growth, rising productivity, and other forces could more than offset the losses; however, job-seekers will need new skills, training, and education to be prepared for these new jobs.

“Visionary superintendents and college presidents must prepare their students for these changes,” added Schechtman. “Bernard Marr, an expert in artificial intelligence, identified seven job skills that AI and robots can’t do better than humans: empathy and communication, critical thinking, creativity, strategy, technological management, installation and upkeep, and imagination vision. Those students who naturally use all four quadrants of the brain easily use all seven of these job skills.

“My program is simple to implement. Superintendents and college presidents can help their students and parents can also ensure their children will have the competitive edge to succeed in today’s job market,” he continued. “By teaching students how to use all four quadrants of the brain, choose the right major and career, graduate college in four years, improve their self-esteem, maximize their academic confidence, and improve their interpersonal abilities, we can easily set our students up for success in the world of artificial intelligence and robotics.”

Joe Schechtman has consulted to K-16 schools, districts, and colleges for over 20 years. Contact Joe at

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