15 thoughts on ““College Is A Scam””

  1. Most learning is informal and takes place outside of schooling. College offers some advantages in discipline, mentorship, and accountability but someone with discipline can get the rest on their own. Being disciplined and curious is important because there are any number of blind spots or gaps that people develop when self taught, not to say that someone who went to college wont have some either though.

    I think a liberal arts style of education is important to creating people with a well rounded knowledge base but I don’t think colleges do a very good job of that and they also don’t do a good job providing practical skills. They churn out countless people who only attend for a year or two with nothing to show for it but debt. This happened to far too many of my friends.

    My education was broader than most because I was the kid in the candy store and indulged my curiosities but if the internet we have now existed then, I would have saved a lot of money and learned just as much. These days, the biggest competitor to colleges are YouTube, free online classes, and hustlers who schill their own practical knowledge courses.

    1. You left out the “Trade Schools”. The paper they generate is quite unlike the rest. Licensed plumber/pipe-fitter, welder, electrician, carpenter, ironworker, CNC operator or better yet CNC service technician, medical equipment service technician, auto-technician, warehouse robotic operator, heavy equipment operator. You can name where you want to work and almost name your price. After a couple of years on the job, if you’re good at it and not already working for yourself, you can just about name your price too.

      It appears that in many career paths, the coupling of the words, “certified”, “service” and “technician” sets a floor of about $85K to your wages.

      1. I’d like to see people who go to trade schools get well rounded too. Some may on their own nut all of us need a little help.

          1. I thought you meant $$$. If you have the cash available I’m fine with that. Borrowing to increase virtue is a vice.

          2. I don’t disagree with you and I think the college system is dysfunctional largely because of loans, which the blame shouldn’t only be placed on students but on colleges and lenders as well. They are all adults after all.

            I will point out that there are some problems with the trades because of occupational licensing. Where I live, you put in as much time as you would going to college to be a plumber and being low guy on the totem pole isn’t an easy thing to do in some of these trades as sometimes work is there and sometimes it isn’t. How many people stick it out?

            They do learn useful skills that can carry over into other work in the trades and lots of doors will open for them if they do good work.

            The people I know who have gone into the trades span the spectrum from hard working MENSA types to hardworking average people like myself to hardworking dumb people like my other self. Just as with any career, it takes some time to be successful but it is hard to stick it out in the beginning.

  2. My issue with articles like this is that it lumps all college degrees into a single bucket. As if a mechanical engineering degree has the same potential economic value as a degree in French Lit. These things are not created equal.

    1. I think some liberal arts degrees were respected because they were reliable indicators of wealth and status. At one time, a French literature degree would likely make folks wonder if the father had a peerage, perhaps an earldom, or whether his family got rich in industry or out in the colonies. It was probably a safe bet that a girl with a French Lit degree would come with a big dowry. Now it means, if she’s from Harvard or Yale, that she’ll get hired on by some DC think tank or work for the State Department, and if from State U it means she can get a job at Best Buy.

    2. Some of the issues are the same, before you get into mechanical engineering, you have to endure a lot of nonsense. It used to be the nonsense helped you become a better person but now, not so much. It is less of a critique of any major than what you do before you even get to your major.

      1. That damned Morse Code requirement for a General Class*.

        *Since defunct. What’s my excuse now?

        1. That was just the teacher helping you pass answers in your other classes.

          But seriously, a reformed college system would benefit Engineering students as well. Hopefully we are beyond the, “That will never happen in STEM.” phase of things and people are looking to fix problems. I care about all the people.

      2. I always thought the “other nonsense” was the result of inter-department wrangling: “Make the STEM majors take enough of our courses or no funding for their lab equipment.”

  3. I signed up for the Liberal Arts AA at a community college just for something to do, plus there was a supply of reasonably horny pretty girls there, also with nothing to do (and my lottery number was so high I didn’t have to think about Vietnam). I took a lot of sience courses, and sold my first novel to Ace Books while goofing around. Eventually I got a girlfriend pregnant, married her, and became a dad of sorts. Since then, I’ve gone to a trade school (mainly for welding and autom echanics), an apprenticeship (marine machinery machanic) and even made a second try at a university degree (didn’t get it, but learned to speak Japanese). I learned conputer programming entirely on my own with a VIC-20, and that was my successful career from then on. I also wrote 15 professionally published books and dozens of short stories published in relatively large ciculation magazines. Did I need school? In that sense, no, I could have quit school in 9th grade and done as well. But there wasn’t much pussy in auto shop and at the shipyard, and I wasn’t interested in the cosmetology girls, so but for school, I don’t know what I would have done.

  4. I don’t know. I graduated from college in 1979, so my info is way out of date. I certainly agree that the groupthink and the xx studies programs and the watered down graduation requirements are a bad thing. But I have a hard time imagining learning chemical engineering from YouTube. And then there’s the labs and the library and the tutoring sessions and the senior project and the research opportunities. I think if concrete knowledge and skills are being acquired then college is still a good thing. But I shudder to think about sending kids off to schools that double as indoctrination camps.

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