College Still Matters?

The top story in the email I received from Linkedin this morning was, Why the College Campus Experience Still Matters.

The issue is, with the growth of online Universities, will college campuses still matter? The author of the article apparently has a book coming on the issue.

If colleges went out and spent millions of dollars attracting students with fancy rec. centers, and drum circle clubs, I’m sure they’ll find a way to ratchet the appeal up even more to keep the grant and tuition money flowing in smoothly.

The author uses the example of Michael Bloombergs personal growth on his college campus as why they still matter. He then goes on to list four reasons for that.

  1. A maturing experience – 18 year olds aren’t ready for the world
  2. Access to mentors – Professors impact peoples lives
  3. Experiential learning – Learning and then applying in the real world
  4. Networking – Meeting people

Interesting, I’m pretty sure you can do all those things in the working world. There’s no reason why someone who is apprenticing with an electrician can’t have all those experiences. The only difference is that the apprentice is making money while the student is spending it.

I have a degree, and I’m going with Captain Capitalism on this one. Worthless. If I could do it again I don’t know how I’d do it, but I surely would skip college and jump right into the world. What a waste of 5.5 years that was. Whatever maturity I gained through the college experience wasn’t as much as I gained through my own experiences.

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Posted on January 31, 2013, in No Hope For America, Problems to Ponder and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. cogitansiuvenis

    The universities are starting to get desperate if they have to fall back on the ‘college experience’ funny thing though if someone really wanted the ‘college experience’, i.e binge drinking and easy girls, they need only make a few friends who go to university, live near a university, and go to university parties. Until colleges figure that they need to fundamentally change how they work, they will continue to lose ground.

  2. Whether or not the college experience is going to have an impact depends largely on what your degree is in (as well as GPA, coop work experience, ect). Engineering degrees obtained online (assuming credentialed ones even exist, doubtful) are useless, for instance. Most healthcare professions require residencies, where such networking and experience would occur. Universities arrange for those residencies with facilities within their communities…not sure how the online ones could do that.

    The best option, IMO, is the “real” university experience coupled with coop work experience. That’s a competitive process but has worked out well for most everyone I know who did it (usually offers them the advantage over other applicants because they already have their foot in the door and work experience, often they continue to work with the same company they spent their summers with).

    This part of the article was especially interesting: “Just look at the life of Michael Bloomberg. As described in a story earlier this week in The New York Times, Bloomberg was “a middling high school student from Medford, Mass., who had settled for C’s and had confined his ambitions to the math club” when he arrived at Johns Hopkins University in the early 1960s. By the time he left, “he was a social and political star” that set him on the path to eventually start the company that bears his name and made him a billionaire.”

    The irony is, Bloomberg would never be able to enter John Hopkins University today as a middling high school student. It’s far too competitive an environment for that now. I looked into the average GPA for the university I graduated from recently….average GPA for an applicant who is accepted is a 4.0 or slightly above when weighted, now.

    • I think the problem is that each group thinks of itself independently rather than as one step in the process.

      Universities all say, ‘go to school, get a degree, you’ll make more money and be successful’.

      However, the real world says, ‘you don’t have any experience, you’ve learned the basics of this field, but that doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing’.

      Ultimately the higher education scheme is watching out for itself and not its students. It has use and value, but not in the sense that they push it. Which is essentially, as long as you buy it you benefit, details don’t matter, value and purpose are irrelevant.
      Reality disagrees.

      • Instructors haven’t stepped out into the real world in quite some time, if ever. And of course about 90 percent of the required coursework is superfluous and pointless. In Italy it is even worse, entry into all occupations (including academia) is based on nepotism and everyone needs a PhD or it isn’t even considered a ‘degree’ at all. After they obtain the PhDs they usually just go back to work as a mechanic or whatever. It’s like extending childhood and extra ten years.

  3. Just to correct the last bit above to avoid confusion, I looked into the GPA recently…I didn’t graduate recently.

  4. I went to an Ivy league school, and now Im making 10$/hr.
    College was a waste.

  5. I think economic times simply suck right now for nearly everyone, but especially those without much work experience.

    Healthcare has been something of a haven, but even people in that career field are facing problems. A pharmacist friend of mine lost her job last year and applied to three different states, finding only one opening she moved here to take it. That simply stunned me, pharmacy schools are very selective and she has a doctorate.

    The last job I had I worked with a nurse’s aid who was an RN, and had obtained her degree and license over a year previous. She had no dependents and was willing to move anywhere in the state (she would have to obtain another license to move out of state). After a year of applying she finally took an aid job that was a 45 minute commute each way from her home. When I quit, she took my job and I was happy to give it to her.

    I’m already worried about my kids, though it will be a while before any of them are on their own.

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