Testing Out Of College

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  • #51
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1) Companies know that people skills are just as important as knowledge. Otherwise they'd just use computers for everything. My teachers force us to work together on problems a lot because of this. Being book smart is NOT enough.
On the other hand, if you do manage to get a degree from TESC or WGU this shows a huge amount of initiative. Personally I'd be much more likely to hire someone that managed to get a degree on their own.

2) You'd need research experience.Why would you want to miss out on that anyways?
You can get that through REU, attending professional society meetings, or getting internships.

3) Who would write your letters of recommendation?
REU, professional society meetings, and internships.

4) Because life isn't a written test.
Yup. But life isn't a factory either.

Face it, unless you're rich, you have to suck it up and do the work to get anywhere.
But it's silly if it's busy work. The problem is that if you do what you are told and behave like a good little cog in the great corporate machine, you'll often find at the end that you *still* don't get what you want.
 
  • #52
chiro
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If the OP is interested he can take the actuarial exams although they cost a pretty penny for each attempt. After getting say two exams under the belt he could get a job and continue doing self-study and doing the exams till he/she qualifies as an actuary.

If you like statistics and the idea of working in a lot of areas in insurance then you could consider that. Also universities might (and should) recognize your qualifications as it is a professional qualification.

I must warn you that it is not trivial to pass these exams, but if your confident in your abilities then go ahead and I wish you all the best.
 
  • #53
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.Plus when you get into upper-division stuff, PF becomes fairly worthless if you have any respect for the people who help out here. PF has a lot of people that can help out with lower-division stuff and its fairly easy for them because they're normally short and quick.
I've really found that the opposite is the case. If you have a question on how to calculate Ricci tensors in general relativity, just the fact that you are asking the question means that you have a lot of math background so that I can just point you to a web page or a review article, and you can figure the rest out.

The hard part is teaching someone that doesn't know algebra but wants to learn. *That* takes a huge amount of time, because they don't know what questions to ask, and you have to sit down with them, watch them struggle through the problem, and then try to figure out what they need to know.

Also it's harder to teach someone that is in lower division. If someone asks me about Ricci tensors, and I'm a total jerk about it, it's not going to make much difference, but it does make a huge difference if someone asks me a basic algebra question.

The other thing is that sometimes what you just need is moral support. I have a Ph.D. in astrophysics, I have an undergraduate degree from MIT, and I work on Wall Street as a researcher. I happen to think what the original poster is trying to do is wonderful, and I'll do what I can to help him. Now, all you need to know is that there is one person out there that believes in you, and that gives you "permission" to ignore anyone out there that doesn't.

i don't think many of them will spend the time necessary to replace the time a professor would spend with you to help you out.
For upper division stuff it's easy. I just point you to the web page where someone has worked it out. The thing that I don't have time for is lower division stuff, since to explain basic Newtonian mechanics to someone that doesn't have that background is hard.

Of course, this comes from someone who is in a rather small department with professors that are amazingly more dedicated to their students then what you'd expect at say, a UC campus's political science department. It's a consequence of the smaller department and my university being a teaching university as opposed to research.
Oh yes. The thing about professors at some of the major universities is that they get hired for research, and are just horribly bad at teaching.
 
  • #54
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And isn't the university of phoenix one of those for-profit commercial "universities"?
Yes, and so is DeVry. They are kicking the traditional universities in the rear end, and I think that's a good thing. I taught algebra and astronomy at University of Phoenix for a while, and I think it's a pretty decent school because they do a lot of things better than traditional universities.

One thing that does make a difference is that as time passes, UoP is going to be able to put more of their graduates in key positions in the corporate-military-industrial complex. There are pretty *huge* numbers of people in corporate human resources that have gotten UoP degrees.
 
  • #55
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I don't feel that it is "lazy" to do so. I am a hard working individual with very little time. I have an ability to learn much faster on my own that in a college setting. I am a drop out for that reason.
I think part of the reason I have so much sympathy for you is that I'm sort of the same way. I "dropped out" of the system after I got my Ph.D., but I'm still a drop out.

I found myself frustrated with the pace and being forced to jump through hoops instead of focusing on improving myself.
Same here. As I've gotten older, I've become more patient at jumping through hoops if I have to. Of course, sometimes I don't have to.

Why are so many so willing to submit to the universities.
That's a good question. It's the type of question that people should discuss in an academic environment, but somehow people don't.

Education should be free! We should learn as much as fast as we can! We should form communities where we learn together!
Yup. One thing though is that at one point it became very obvious to me is that money is important to the process. So you have to figure out a way of making the money work. So I figured that an important part of my education would be to go somewhere that I could learn about money. Which is why I ended up on Wall Street.

They can take our land but they can't take our freedom.
Actually, they can. But one thing you'll find is that it isn't "they". If everyone is against you, then you are hosed, but usually it's not everyone that is against you.
 
  • #56
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I've been to both a large big-name school (MIT) and one large public university (UT Austin).

As classroom teachers, the professors aren't particularly good, but they do really want you to learn the material, so when you have a professor that just can't teach, you feel really sorry for them. Also, you really don't learn that much in the way of physics, from the professors, but you do learn things from the other students. Also, one thing about MIT is that it's run by the military-industrial-financial power elite that runs the United States if not the world, so you really do get to learn stuff by just watching things close up. Both MIT and UT Austin have big time politics.

One important thing about going to MIT that's useful is that it teaches you some "healthy arrogance". If you go to most colleges and say "I want to become the CEO of a multibillion dollar corporation" or "I want to win the Nobel prize in physics" people think you are crazy. If you go to MIT and you say "I want to win the Nobel prize in physics" the attitude is "So do I !!!!" or "How can I help you win the Nobel prize in physics?" Or maybe after you meet a Nobel prize winner that is a complete jerk, you think to yourself, "well I'd rather be a nice guy than win the Nobel prize."
 
  • #57
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I happen to think what the original poster is trying to do is wonderful, and I'll do what I can to help him. Now, all you need to know is that there is one person out there that believes in you, and that gives you "permission" to ignore anyone out there that doesn't.
Original poster would be getting ready to graduate by now if he decided to go to college.
 
  • #58
My, that sounds like the musings of someone who hasn't attended college...

- Warren
I must agree. Even when you don't understand your professors, you can always simply raise your hand and ask him/her to explain it another way. Guided study is essential to the learning process, especially when you're a scientist. Do you really think anyone would want to hire you if you didn't have documented proof that you attended labs with a trained professional who taught you to handle volatile chemicals correctly? You'd be a liability to every lab and science department in the country. You also need letters of recommendation to get in to any graduate program, and most jobs. Who exactly would write these letters for you if you didn't know any college professors who could attest to your genius, ability to "play well with others" and motivation?
Plus, I can't think of a single situation in which a graduate school would look favorably on an application that only proved you were marginally smart and probably fairly talented but had no motivation or work ethic. My science department would think you were trying to half-arse your way through life and your file would be tossed immediately.
 
  • #59
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I must agree. Even when you don't understand your professors, you can always simply raise your hand and ask him/her to explain it another way.
It's not a simple thing to raise your hand and ask him to explain it another way. This sort of thing is pretty much impossible in a lecture style class. It's possible to do this in a small group. I think that you are using an idealized vision of the university which may not be anything close to the real thing especially for lower division where in some places students are treated like cattle.

Guided study is essential to the learning process, especially when you're a scientist.
And it's possible to get that online.

Do you really think anyone would want to hire you if you didn't have documented proof that you attended labs with a trained professional who taught you to handle volatile chemicals correctly?
So go to a lab to get training. This doesn't have to happen in a classroom. Yes you do need interaction to learn science, but you can sometimes get that in places other than in a traditional university setting. Sometimes you can get *more* real human interaction outside of a traditional university.

Also, yes, employers will hire people that don't have any formal training. I am currently employed by a major financial institution as a computer programmer, and this is despite the fact that I've never taken a single formal course in business and finance in my entire life and only one formal course on computer programming. (Now it so happens that this one single formal course was a *GREAT* course.)

The other thing is that I went to a small college where the professors weren't that great at teaching so the students were very strongly encouraged to learn things by themselves.
 
  • #60
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One reason that I've been thinking about how to go about this is that right now MIT has this huge problem that you have too many qualified applicants and not enough spaces, so I've been thinking a lot on how one would create the functional equivalent of the MIT undergraduate physics curriculum without sending everyone to Cambridge. The trouble is that I don't have enough time to do anything else but think about this. All of the pieces are there, it's just a matter of putting them together, and I'll get around to doing it in about five years or so, if no one else has managed to do it yet.
 

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