I have been a total slacker on the blogging front! Our last COETAIL Cast (#25!!) was just the motivation I needed to get a post out. Lately I’ve been thinking about this idea of pushing everyone to go to college. I’m not sure I agree with that. I got to thinking… what if I took half the money it would cost to send my child to college and gave it to them to try and build a business. What if I took 1/4 of the cost and let them travel the world. I think about all the opportunities they could encounter along the way… volunteering/working/exploring.
I’ve personally met people who can travel on $12,000USD a year. What would college be giving them that other experiences couldn’t? If we assume that the reason we go to college is to learn… and not just for the diploma… what’s the big benefit of college? How just justify paying to be a freshman in a class of 250 kids when can probably(dare I say definitely) find the exact content online and learn it from your couch… for free. More specifically what is the cost/benefit ratio for knowledge/experience acquisition for different scenarios.
Don’t get me wrong.. I think colleges and universities are wonderful places. I am currently pursuing my PhD and I work at a university! I just look at some of my friends who are in their 40’s and still have the black cloud of student debt hanging over them. I look at some of my friends who chose to forgo college and they are doing just fine. I also think we may fall into the trap of wanting to equate success with monetary gain. There are many types of success.
One thing I think I hope to see is the proliferation of Nanodegrees. What if we were able to enroll in targeted course sequences that would allow us to demonstrate a discrete set of skills through some sort of project. I have a friend who is interested in computer science. Do they really need to go through almost two years of “core” (stuff that everyone takes no matter what their degree path is) classes before they really get to the meaty stuff. I don’t know if I agree with that.
Am I crazy?