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College Isn't For Everyone

by ZapperZ
Tags: college
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twofish-quant
#37
Feb7-11, 09:14 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by G01 View Post
Well, I guess in order to fix the problem of making sure people are getting the right kind of post secondary education, we need to fix the secondary education system first.
Trouble is that if you have an 18 year old, he's going to be 30 by the time you've "fixed" the secondary education system, and it's already too late for him.

Also, if you wait until you've fixed the system, then nothing is going to get done. What's going to happen is that you are going to spend five years arguing about what needs to get done, another five years putting in some sort of political compromise that no one is happy with, and then after another five years, you've found that even that compromise has been watered down so that nothing got done.

Personally, I'm not interested in the ideal education system since we'll never have it. I'm not interested in "reforming" the system, since "reform" to me means "let's argue for a few years and then find that we don't agree on what needs to get done."

What I'm interested in are things that are "actionable" what can be done (or more importantly what can *I* do) right now to make things slightly better than they were before. For me, that means focusing on the physics Ph.D. employment part of the problem since that's the part that I know best.
Newtonsenigma
#38
Feb8-11, 03:11 PM
P: 5
I remember being fresh out of high school having a full-time job and going to college. I was making decent money and I really didn't care too much for more school (I only enrolled because my parents wanted me to). I spent the next 5 years travelling the country working dead-end jobs that I didn't like. It got to the point where I was homeless so I moved back home and enrolled at the local community college. Last semester (fall) I received straight A's taking a dc theory math course, an introductory course in hydrodynamics and a sustainability class (with a couple other non-related classes to get full-time units).

Sure, college isn't for everyone. It took me 5 years of living a hard life to realize what I wanted to do and the only way for me to achieve my goals is to get a PhD in Physics. I'm still far off from achieving said degree but after the things I've done, it's a walk in the park. Life experiences have done more to strengthen my character and have given me the resolve to rationalize my dream. I don't need some Harvard committee telling me what I want to accomplish isn't worth it.
Skrew
#39
Feb8-11, 03:19 PM
P: 168
Out of all the things a parent can do for a child, encouraging them to get a college degree in something worthwhile is one of the most important.
Newtonsenigma
#40
Feb8-11, 04:00 PM
P: 5
Not worthwhile for the parent but the encouragement of something the child finds worthwhile. So many times the parents live vicariously through the child and that child grows up doing something that they don't care too much for. I was pushed growing up to get into the medical field. I honestly considered it, but; what it boiled down to was, the math and science behind it all. So the pursuit of the unknown and an understanding of what is known that compels me to go to school. There is always something to learn and discover. Whether what I discovered is something already classified or not isn't the point. It's new to me.
twofish-quant
#41
Feb8-11, 08:28 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Newtonsenigma View Post
Not worthwhile for the parent but the encouragement of something the child finds worthwhile. So many times the parents live vicariously through the child and that child grows up doing something that they don't care too much for.
On the other hand sometimes the parent lives vicariously through the child and it works out well.

I should point out that one of the reasons that colleges exist is that there needs to be a safe place that kids can just be away from their parents for a few years to figure out what to do. Professors get annoyed when they have to do young-adult babysitting, but if colleges don't do this, the only other institution that I know of that does young adult baby-sitting is the military.

I think encouraging people to go straight to work instead of going to college is a bad idea for a lot of 18 year olds. There are a very large number of college freshmen that aren't terribly mature, and if you put them in a work environment, they will end up in a far, far, far worse situation than if you just put them in college where the environment is more protected.
twofish-quant
#42
Feb8-11, 08:38 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Newtonsenigma View Post
Life experiences have done more to strengthen my character and have given me the resolve to rationalize my dream. I don't need some Harvard committee telling me what I want to accomplish isn't worth it.
Exactly. Let me change from Harvard to MIT, since being an alumni, I have more standing to scream about it, and maybe change it.

The trouble is that if you apply to the MIT undergraduate program right now, you'll find your application rejected. MIT will not admit students older than average into the undergraduate program, and I think that's a very bad thing, and being a master plumber or construction worker is not something that Sloan thinks highly of when they look at MBA applications.

The problem that you'll find is that because you (wisely) spent a few years doing things other than college, you are outside of the mainstream, and so you'll find it harder to get the physics Ph.D. than if you had stayed on the assembly line. Personally, I think it's a bad thing, and I think *that's* the problem that needs to be addressed because students that are making decisions are faced with "now or never" issues.
Newtonsenigma
#43
Feb8-11, 11:51 PM
P: 5
I've come across that quite a bit. Just to get enrolled there were so many hoops I've had to jump through, success contracts and the like. If I do well this coming semester all the bans on units will be lifted as well as financial aid being awarded. So I know all about the discrimination against counter-culture people.
twofish-quant
#44
Feb9-11, 12:05 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Newtonsenigma View Post
I've come across that quite a bit. Just to get enrolled there were so many hoops I've had to jump through, success contracts and the like. If I do well this coming semester all the bans on units will be lifted as well as financial aid being awarded. So I know all about the discrimination against counter-culture people.
If you can write up something that explains the issues that you ran into and what you had to do to get around them, that would be extremely useful for me and I'm sure a lot of other people.

Also, I have a lot of sympathy because I'm more or less in the same boat. After I got my Ph.D., it seemed pretty obvious that I just wasn't going to get anywhere with through the standard academic route, so I have as much interest in tearing down the current system as you do.
elfboy
#45
Feb9-11, 12:05 AM
P: 89
the knowledge is in front of you..on the internet
you don't need college to obtain it
Pengwuino
#46
Feb9-11, 12:06 AM
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P: 7,120
Quote Quote by elfboy View Post
the knowledge is in front of you..on the internet
you don't need college to obtain it
I've never seen anyone derive a new field theory based off of wikipedia.
Newtonsenigma
#47
Feb9-11, 12:28 AM
P: 5
for one I had to see a counsellor to do that I had to bs my way because I hadn't taken the placement test. That involved showing up at the office around 0500. They didn't do appointments and there was a limited number of slots available for that day. Filled out an academic success contract, take that to financial aid where I was put on a two semester probationary period where I have to get better than 'c's in my classes, I also had to take a college success class (utter ********) where I "learned" how to take notes. make a schedule, ect... BTW the counsellor never filed a grade for me and a glitch in the webadvisor system put me on academic dismissal. Back to the counsellor's office I go, turns out the counsellor took a copy of my recent transcript, with all 'a's from fall and asks the president of the college if I'm the type of student that needs to be kicked out of school. He said, "no" and it was changed. So now I'm eagerly awaiting this coming fall semester to see if financial aid has some excuse for not wanting to help me out. I've kept all my documents thus far so I can refute any claims they have against me.
Newtonsenigma
#48
Feb9-11, 12:40 AM
P: 5
The last time I was enrolled was 5 years ago and I had a few 'F's. but my new gpa is 2.0. I'm going to retake those classes when they become available. But, funny tid-bit, I got an F in introductory algebra( I was working and never bothered dropping) but was able to enroll in a technical math class that covered algebra and trig. I ended up retaking the Assessment Test and placed in a higher math class. I thought that was kind of funny.
twofish-quant
#49
Feb9-11, 06:33 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Pengwuino View Post
I've never seen anyone derive a new field theory based off of wikipedia.
I've seen people use wikipedia as a mathematics textbook in my daily work.
twofish-quant
#50
Feb9-11, 06:36 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by elfboy View Post
the knowledge is in front of you..on the internet
A lot of it isn't. For example, you can read about how to ride a bike, but you actually have to ride a bike to get that knowledge.

You don't need college to obtain it
It makes things a lot easier. For example, a lot of research journals are stuck behind paywalls, and getting admitted to college is one of the easier ways of getting access to research material and databases. It also helps when you want to study to find a coffee house with nice comfy chairs and people that are also studying.

I think that people are stuck with the idea that the most important thing about college is classroom instruction, whereas colleges and college towns provide a lot of important functions that don't involve direct information delivery.

The fact that the raw information *is* mostly on the internet changes things because it makes more important things like comfy chairs and lockers in libraries and student health services.
shravas
#51
Feb9-11, 10:11 AM
P: 20
The trouble is that if you apply to the MIT undergraduate program right now, you'll find your application rejected. MIT will not admit students older than average into the undergraduate program.
Uhh, this is not true. If anything, they encourage letting students take a year off, giving everyone who accepts an admissions offer the opportunity to take a year or two off before starting at MIT, and there are definitely people here older than average.
flyingpig
#52
Feb9-11, 04:37 PM
P: 2,568
Quote Quote by Pengwuino View Post
I finished college
That just means none of us are the smartest man in the world, duh!

Now if only you dropped college you would've known that you have the potential to become the smartest man in the world.

This is one of the reasons I don't like Psychology, a lot of studies are simply just waste of time and money
Vanadium 50
#53
Feb9-11, 06:47 PM
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P: 16,319
Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
The trouble is that if you apply to the MIT undergraduate program right now, you'll find your application rejected. MIT will not admit students older than average into the undergraduate program
I do not believe this is the case.
flyingpig
#54
Feb9-11, 06:50 PM
P: 2,568
I use to think all MIT undergrad applicants are those who in high school who already took the four years of college math and other science courses (during high school) and applying them again.


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