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A Couple of Thoughts about College

June 13th, 2011 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Watch out for the coming college bubble where tuition at prestigious universities crashes. Maybe some of those universities will crash as well.

I read a couple of things this week about college. They seemed to be related (in my mind at least). The first item was on TechCrunch and it discussed the College Bubble. Consider this qoute:

A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed

Hmm. That does sound like college. I believe in education. That used to mean that I believed in  college. I still believe in education, but I am not sure that I believe in college these days. Consider the things that current colleges believe warrant degrees:

  • Administration and Supervision PK
  • Telecommunications
  • African and African American Studies
  • International Policy
  • Applied Behavior Analysis

I could go on, but are you kidding me? How about we go back to degrees in

  • Math
  • Chemisty
  • Physics
  • English
  • Art
  • Psychology
  • Pre-Med
  • Pre-Law
  • fill-in-the-blank Engineering

and how about lumping a lot of degrees and calling them

  • Bachelor of Arts

College seems to have gone off the deep end. I prefer to go back to plain old education.

College Bubble? Yes, I think that bubble is about to burst. Why pay $40,000 a year so you can have a degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and then have a career in day care where the pay is just a little above that of a hamburger cooker at McDonald’s? I don’t get it.

Seth Godin discusses a similar topic:

Does a $40,000 a year education that comes with an elite degree deliver ten times the education of a cheaper but no less rigorous self-generated approach assembled from less famous institutions and free or inexpensive resources?

I can imagine that attending Duke, as just one example, is a lot of fun. I can also imagine that being around such a nice place with many other people seeking to learn can be a good education. I can also imagine many other environments where a person could learn more for much less money.

I worked for many years with many people who attended prestigious universities. They didn’t impress me with either their knowledge or their performance on the job. I was quite disappointed to learn about what prestigious universities do.

For the record,  I attended two “cow colleges” (a provincial college or university that lacks culture, sophistication, and tradition). Southeastern Louisiana University and Louisiana State University. The cost was low, hence the return on investment was high.

Tags: Learning

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