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College is reserved for intellectuals?

  1. Aug 12, 2011 #1
    Could someone with an IQ (intelligence quotient) of ~100 do well in college? This article claims that college is reserved only for people with IQ's between 120-140, and that someone with +/- dead average intelligence would either struggle or fail in college because the "rigorously difficult" coursework is geared for intellectuals and people with superior intellect.

    http://www.joannejacobs.com/2007/01/...h-for-college/ [Broken]

    Throughout the world, there are millions upon millions of people attending college, and I seriously doubt that many of them have IQ's above the "genius" 140 mark. The IQ bell curve claims that almost 3/4 of ALL people have an IQ between 90-110.

    Although I have to admit that studies such as physics, mathematics, engineering, and the hard sciences are definitely NOT for the feeble-minded.

    Is it really true that universities are reserved only for intellectuals? And people with average intelligence (the large bulk of the population) are really not capable of attending? I should say that college degrees have become nothing more than a litmus test for employers, and a college education no longer has anything to do with learning/knowledge acquisition.

    Today, most college graduates (bachelors degree) are tens of thousands of dollars in debt and cannot find a job. It is important to note that there are many affordable degrees, courses, and certifications offered by community colleges, and vocational/technical schools, which can earn you a job making much more money than a college graduate. For example, there are some plumbers and electricians who make $85,000. While some college graduates working at an office make $35,000 per year.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2011 #2

    Is it really true that universities are reserved only for intellectuals?

    No, its reserved for people who want to further their education. People of average intelligence are obviously capable of attending. Like you said, millions of people are enrolled in college.

    Don't go by what these "IQ" tests say. They aren't reliable. You just can't quantify someones abilities based on a 50 question test.

    If you intend on going into science, math, or engineering all you need other than an average intelligence is discipline, patience, and persistence.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Aug 12, 2011 #3
    College above most else is about developing your ability to learn. That skill no matter what your major will be used the rest of your life.
  5. Aug 12, 2011 #4

    Perfect response. I echo these three points.
  6. Aug 12, 2011 #5
    Feynman got a 125, Marylin Vos Savant got a 228. Nuff said.
  7. Aug 12, 2011 #6
    Enough said? But you haven't said anything!

    (he asked if somebody with an IQ below 110 could do well, and you gave an example of somebody who tested at 125. I fail to see how that addresses his post, yet you say "nuff said.")
  8. Aug 12, 2011 #7
    in my experience, education (in any subject) is much more about how much time you put in rather than your capacity for mental gymnastics. I think most of the population are at about the same level in that respect, just that the ones who do well at university are the ones who try hard.
  9. Aug 12, 2011 #8
    Well, first of all he said
    Which doesn't seem to be true; I didn't see a 140 IQ even mentioned on the page.

    As for the "nuff said", I was being facetious, but that said; IQ is not a valid metric for intellectual success. Too many factors can affect the score and it has been demonstrated that scores over 120 don't predict much of anything at all (measures of individual success seem to peter out at 120 and not increase very much after that). I don't think that it's at all sensible to make decisions based on your IQ score, especially whether you should go to college.

    For instance, my brother scored average way back when but he's getting straight A's in college and teaching himself calculus. I do doubt that he would still score a 100, and I suspect that there were probably a number of mitigating factors (it was awfully difficult to get him to sit down and concentrate on anything when he was a kid, much less a boring IQ test).

    A much more sensible way to determine whether you are cut out for college would be to look at how difficult highschool material was for you. If it was mind-blindingly difficult, you might want to steer clear of a traditional 4-year (though a trade or technical school might be a decent fit); if it was relatively easy, even if you goofed off and didn't do so well grade-wise, then you'll be fine if you just buckle down a little bit.
  10. Aug 12, 2011 #9
    I don't think that IQ is an actual measurement of anything that is all too important. Perhaps a test of simple puzzle skills.

    That being said, even if it was some sort of measure of intelligence, I am certain that one could work to increase their IQ over time. I am definitely smarter now than I was 5 years ago, mostly thanks to hard work and short weekends.
  11. Aug 12, 2011 #10


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    Hello SootAndGrime and welcome to the forums.

    There was a documentary/investigation piece done by Marcus Du Sautoy "What makes a genius?".

    One part of the documentary was focused on a scientist measuring mathematical ability in a wide range of people with different characteristics including age.

    What they found is that in terms of number sense, there was a cutoff where people below or around that cutoff had a significant disadvantage to learning math, but above that there was not much of a difference. The cutoff for this was not representative of an IQ of 140 or even 120 and above.

    Now I am studying math, and I should point out that higher level math is not the same as the lower level math: it is a different game altogether. You do use lower level math to some extent but the perspective is completely different.

    In saying this, lots of people don't realize that when you get to the high level math, it becomes more common for people to work together to understand and extend their knowledge in this way. It's not that people are dumb, it's just that it gets really hard. When stuff gets really hard and really complex, its more common to see teams of people working on a problem than people in isolation and I guarantee that difficulty and complexity of the subject plays into this.

    This is speculation on my part, but I have high levels of doubt that everyone or even a significant number of people at university have IQ's above 140.

    Lots of people at uni are highly curious, hard working, and highly motivated people. Some don't fit this criteria but they usually don't last long.

    You also to remember what resources students have at there disposal. Students have access to professors and other faculty, other motivated students, tonnes of books, journals, and other academic material, and even forums like this. If you combine the entirety of those resources and put that into perspective, you get a different picture about the learning process.

    On the other hand, activities like starting a business and making it successful is also not for the feeble minded. There are lot of people who are very good businesspersons but not so good academically and also a lot of people who are highly academic but would be eaten alive in another environment.

    Just keep in mind that academic smarts is not the only type of smarts out there.

    I agree completely.

    My view is that anyone with the initiative, motivation, and dedication will be highly likely to succeed in any endeavor they choose to endure regardless of whether they have a degree or not. It doesn't matter if you are a successful athlete, small business owner, world class chef, or otherwise: its more important that you have certain traits over a piece of paper.

    It's funny isn't it. A lot of us think that something like plumbing is a job for someone "not capable of higher education" or otherwise, yet they are playing their part in society and in many cases (here in Australia anyway), earn a good wage (even in comparison to average and white collar wages). Granted they won't likely earn incomes like say specialist doctors, but then again most people in any profession don't earn that much.

    The best way to realize about different smarts is to be around a variety of people. If you spend all your time around academics with certain characteristics, you won't be aware of the other smarts and people with those smarts. If you ever work in different businesses, you will see this first hand. There will be people with great technical expertise that are absolutely hopeless with social interaction, and there will be people that can stand up in front of a huge crowd and flow with charisma and charm and are extremely likeable, but they may have trouble doing simple math.

    Being around people with a wide spectrum of abilities will help you see first hand that there are lots of people with lots of different smarts which will most likely kill the idea of smarts being exclusive to being primarily academic.
  12. Aug 12, 2011 #11


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    Big discussion for a thread where the original link is busted.
  13. Aug 12, 2011 #12
    College is for anyone and everyone. Most colleges offer assistance for those with learning disabilities as well, so no one is excluded
  14. Aug 12, 2011 #13
    1. IQ's aren't static, the brain is highly adaptable. People who graduate college have higher IQ's than when they got in.
    2. Quantifying intelligence is silly. If it meant anything colleges would ask for your IQ, which shows how invaluable this number really is.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  15. Aug 12, 2011 #14


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    I disagree. There are plenty PLENTY of people who have no business in college. There are far too many people who go to college for reasons that include 1) parents telling them to, 2) believing a job is automatic, and 3) you're suppose to go to college. I knew graduating seniors who were only in college because their parents told them to go. I have also seen dozens of people get their degree and go off to continue working at starbucks and never actually considered what kind of jobs they wanted or could get.

    There are also the people who are completely unwilling to do any work and are basically shoveling money at the university (or well, typically it is financial aid money so they're shoveling federal money at the university).

    College, like anything else in life, has its uses but is not for everyone. There are more than a few people on this forum who would agree that all college does for some people is keep them out of the work force for 6 years and leaves them with $10ks worth of debt.

    As far as it being only for intellectual people............. whoever wrote that article hasn't stepped into a college class room in a long while.
  16. Aug 12, 2011 #15
    I can see your point there, but just because they don't belong there doesn't mean that they shouldn't go. Some people can learn better by being forced in the situation, so it actually helps them and makes them smarter, if that makes sense.
  17. Aug 13, 2011 #16


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    That's definitely possible, except I think most people, when put into a situation where they are doing something not of their own desires, they're going to do a crumby job of it.

    If college weren't so expensive, I'd say it is good for someone to try it even if they may not take well to it adn drop out. But when you're talking... $20-$40k a year plus living expenses, it's a tough sell.
  18. Aug 13, 2011 #17
    Yes, that's true. But I have learned by paying for the schooling all out of pocket, you will take it more seriously than if the parents pay for it or if there is grant of scholarship money in play.
  19. Aug 13, 2011 #18
    High school was very easy for me and I got a 3.6 GPA and aced all of the state tests/exams. The only subject I did poorly on in HS was math.

    I believe that I scored within the average standard deviation on an IQ test I took in HS. Although I did score a bit low on the math segment.

    I am currently looking into community colleges and technical/vocational schools. I am very skilled and knowledgable about computers and computer hardware. I recently built a gaming desktop (I am a hardcore gamer) that cost almost $3,000 and chose each component individually. I won $2,400 at the casino almost a year ago and decided to built a new PC with the money.

    I was thinking about the CompTia A+ certification program, or in other words, a computer repair technician. I also might take criminal justice or psychology at a CC.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  20. Aug 13, 2011 #19
    ^^^ What's your point, as related to your beginning post? You just stated random stuff about a path down being an IT repairman or police officer, which is cool, but these jobs don't need a degree. You can't argue that you don't need a degree in physics to become a physicist.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  21. Aug 13, 2011 #20
    Sorry, I was trying to quote someone who posted in this thread, but I screwed up and just made a regular post.
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