# Would you hire a graduate of Honestrosewater University?

Gold Member
I haven't looked into the technical requirements of this yet, but I wonder what it might be worth even if I could do it. Basically, I am thinking of starting my own college so that I can award myself a degree from it.

Some explanation...

I dropped out of high school almost 9 years ago, on my 16th birthday. I got a job as a waitress, and all of my jobs since have been in hospitality. I have educated myself independently in the meantime. I need to get a job that doesn't suck the life out of me. I would like to get one related to my long-term goal of actually having a career in mathematical/computational linguistics (or perhaps "linguistic mathematics"). For example, such a career would keep me programming, or would at least benefit a lot from it, so that is one possibility.

As I'm working on my resume, I don't know how to include anything about my independent education, which I think is probably the equivalent of a bachelor's degree from a rather demanding school -- and then some. This is a huge asset (and accomplishment) to not include in a resume!

(I also have reached the point where I am getting into graduate-level work that I cannot do well enough by myself anymore. So I also want to get into grad school, and having to start as a freshman somewhere seems like a huge waste, as enjoyable as it might be.)

If it turns out to be possible for me to technically start my own college (putting aside accreditation for now), what would you think if you saw a resume from someone who had done this, educated themselves and started their own school as a step towards "proving" by the rules that they had done so?

I'm all for it! You're so smart and don't deserve to be ignored for lack of credentials. I don't know exactly what you're thinking of doing though.

brewnog
Gold Member
Educating yourself is well and good, I'd be more likely to take you seriously if you'd had that education qualified by formal assessment alongside others with similar knowledge and experience, in order to demonstrate that the self-administered education was no worse than a traditional one.

Other than that, I'd have no problems with someone who'd educated themselves.

Why did you drop out of high school?

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
The number of people who are competent to educate themselves to the level expected of a university is vanishingly small. Unfortunately, this means that even if you really have accomplished it, no one will believe you.

I must also confess that hearing someone named Joe say he went to "Joe University" would pretty much make me cringe.

You also stand essentially no chance of being admitted to graduate school (anywhere) without an undergraduate degree -- even if you ace the GRE and any other standardized tests. If you are capable of publishing in peer-reviewed journals, you might get in somewhere, but they'll probably still make you take a load of undergraduate classes just to make absolutely sure you're prepared.

If you want my honest advice..... you should just take on $40k of student loan debt (if you must) and go full-time to a standard four-year university. Ask to take "credit by exam" for every class they'll permit it, and get it over with ASAP. - Warren Gold Member Haha, thanks, Mk. I should clarify that I'm not talking about doing anything fraudulent or deceptive here. I really just want some way for people to recognize the work that I have done. On a good day, I test in the top 1%, but I have consistently been in the top 2% throughout school, even at the times that I wasn't trying very hard. The last standardized test that I took was my GED, and I scored in the top 1% nationally. That was a few years ago, and I have only gotten better. I was also in all of the special and advanced classes, a straight-A student, etc. before I left school (which was a couple of years before I officially dropped out). I don't have any serious doubts that I could pull this off if it's possible. I would expect to take several tests to get some student stats for my college. And if I'm the only student, the school's stats should be pretty good. Gold Member Why did you drop out of high school? Problems at home, mainly. But the school was also not working for me, and I failed all of my classes automatically after nine, or whatever, absences in a term. They also kept putting me in classes that I had already taken. (I was expelled from normal school, went to a school for bad kids, and then returned to normal school.) Gold Member If you want my honest advice..... you should just take on$40k of student loan debt (if you must) and go full-time to a standard four-year university. Ask to take "credit by exam" for every class they'll permit it, and get it over with ASAP.
Yes, I consider this my next (last) option.

Is there anything that would allay your concerns? Say, if I could get some decent accreditation? I am of course willing to put some serious work into this, if it turns out to be worth doing. I have already put a lot of work into my education, and this part might even be relatively easy.

(P.S. I was joking about the name.)

Why dont you go to a community college and transfer to a 4-year univeresity?

You can do it!

loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
If you really can't or just don't want to go to an accredited university, I'd recommend you demonstrate your abilities in some public forum. I don't mean here, but if you want to be a programmer, do some programming. Solve a problem that hasn't been solved. I recall you saying you wished to write a poet program. You're probably not going to be able to do that, but whatever you can do would help. I at least know of people writing video games with no formal education, that were hired simply because they had demonstrated their ability by writing games that some headhunter found. A degree proves that you know something, but it isn't the only way to prove it.

That's not the only reason employers like to see a degree, though. It also shows that you can make a committment and stick to it for several years, that's you've learned how to conduct research and prepare written and oral reports, that you know how to work both alone and in groups, that you can take direction, sit quietly for hours at a time without going stir-crazy, and many other things that are considered desirable traits when you exit the service industry.

Gold Member
Why dont you go to a community college and transfer to a 4-year univeresity?
Because I would prefer to not spend the time and energy redoing things that I have already done.

I'm assuming that I already have the education. I just need an acceptable form of proof.

Because I would prefer to not spend the time and energy redoing things that I have already done.

I'm assuming that I already have the education. I just need an acceptable form of proof.
Ah, I see. You should be able to test out as Warren said then.

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Is there anything that would allay your concerns?
Well, I'm just biased by my own experiences.

I have an undergraduate degree in a difficult field, computer engineering, from one of the top 10 or 15 best schools in the nation. I'm currently working on a graduate degree at a prestigious university (number 2 or 3 in the world). Looking back on it all, I can say with absolute confidence that I could never have taught myself even half of it to the standards I was (am) held.

Even taking 15-17 units in undergraduate school meant I was working so feverishly that I could barely sleep at night. There were often assignments due in various classes every day of the week. I spent hours and hours in labs. There's no way that a person studying on their own, part time, could ever hold themselves to the same grindstone.

My homework assignments in graduate school are routinely absolutely bewildering when I first get them. They force me to stay up night after night, agonizing and fighting with them. Somehow, magically, I manage to almost always turn them in on time. I would never have the self-discipline to force myself to work this hard on anything.

Even more damning are my repeated attempts in the direction of becoming a professional physicist (experimentalist). After undergrad school, I decided I wanted to help develop physics experiments. I studied everything I could find. I read all the textbooks used in the undergraduate courses, and did most of the problems in the books to a standard that I felt was adequate. I sought the advice of professors at various schools, and did what they told me to do.

I then sat for the GRE Physics exam, and, well, bombed it pretty badly. I answered an appropriate number of questions, but I guess I mostly fell for the "sucker answers." I have since realized that my attempts at self-education were, well, laughably poor in the end. I know this because I have since attended some physics undergraduate classes at a cheap local state university, and am pretty amazed at just how poorly I understood the material, even if was able to do the algebra to get the right answers to some homework problems.

So, I have to ask you: have you taken the GRE? Have you taken any of the GRE subject exams relevant to your studies? I think you should really take these before you even begin to consider your self-study the equivalent of a real four-year degree.

- Warren

turbo
Gold Member
It's hard to say how best to address this. I dropped out of college before I got a degree (double major in English Lit and Philosophy after I was seduced from the "dark side" - started in Chem Eng) and went to work in construction to earn a steady living. I was pulled into Pulp and Paper based on the Chem Eng. stuff on my resume, and did production work for 10 years and did some consulting work for another 10 years or so - without a degree. I taught myself programming and wrote stand-alone applications running under dBase and FoxBase and became the network administrator for a very large opthalmic practice with lots of field offices. Because of health problems (asthma, migraines, and more with exposure to perfumes) I then went to work for an auctioneer, administering the network and running on-line auctions. When the person heading up the firearms division quit, he forced the job on me (I was the only employee with a good knowledge of firearms and militaria) and in 4 years, I took that division from grossing less than $4M/yr to over$15M/yr, running the highest-grossing firearms auctions in the world. Sometimes, you've got to aim high, start small, and show a track record that makes the head-hunters put your number on the hot list. Ability sells - degrees/certificates are often no better than attendance records.

Gold Member
loseyourname said:
If you really can't or just don't want to go to an accredited university, I'd recommend you demonstrate your abilities in some public forum. I don't mean here, but if you want to be a programmer, do some programming. Solve a problem that hasn't been solved.
I have done some programming already, and I have been keeping an eye out for open-source projects that I might be able to contribute to. But this doesn't seem very promising.

Also, doing real research in linguistics is not something that I think is feasible on my own. Modern linguistics is a young and rapidly-changing field. Just getting and staying caught up on the literature in an area and finding a problem that needs to be solved is quite a feat -- and a lot of work is actually done by groups rather than individuals -- and it's something that I don't think I can do on my own at this point.

Ah, I see. You should be able to test out as Warren said then.
I have looked at several places, and the ones that award credit for prior learning have limits. I can't test-out a 4-year degree. I can't even test-out a 2-year one.

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I'm assuming that I already have the education. I just need an acceptable form of proof.
I suggest sitting for the GRE and at least one GRE subject exam.

- Warren

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I have looked at several places, and the ones that award credit for prior learning have limits. I can't test-out a 4-year degree. I can't even test-out a 2-year one.
You can probably expect to test out of maybe a year's worth of classes, no more.

The problem with all of this is that only person who really knows what you've learned -- you -- is not qualified to say it's equivalent to a four-year degree.

- Warren

Gold Member
I suggest sitting for the GRE and at least one GRE subject exam.
Yeah, I've looked at the GRE tests some but not much yet. It's on my list. I want to at least look at it anyway to get an idea of where I'm at.

I realize that I don't exactly know where I'm at. I presume that I would find out in the course of doing this if I go ahead with it.

The problem with all of this is that only person who really knows what you've learned -- you -- is not qualified to say it's equivalent to a four-year degree.
But this is why there are standards, right? Who was qualified to say that the first in any line of degrees deserved to be awarded?

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chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Yeah, I've looked at the GRE tests some but not much yet. It's on my list. I want to at least look at it anyway to get an idea of where I'm at.
Well, if you're serious about going to graduate school, you're going to have to take it at some point anyway. It's required of all prospective students, even those who have gone the normal undergraduate route. It'll also provide you a very good diagnostic of your self-education.

- Warren

Gold Member
Well, if you're serious about going to graduate school, you're going to have to take it at some point anyway. It's required of all prospective students, even those who have gone the normal undergraduate route. It'll also provide you a very good diagnostic of your self-education.
Yeah, I'm aware. I guess I should go ahead and get the ball rolling on this ASAP.

turbo
Gold Member
If you have marketable skills, get into the job market ASAP and make a name for yourself. If you have the talent and the initiative to succeed in the business world, you won't need a degree or any certificate on a wall.

Gold Member
Oh, I have also considered taking a few classes at a local college to show that I can function in that environment and perhaps also get some teachers to vouch for me, so to speak.

So assuming that I am qualified and can actually do everything required to make my college at least appear to be (by ranking and whatever else) a decent college, what would you think upon seeing that it was my own college? Are you impressed? Are you suspicious? Does this do more harm than good?

what would you think upon seeing that it was my own college? Are you impressed? Are you suspicious? Does this do more harm than good?
I would be unimpressed, suspicious, and I would surely mention it to my colleagues which would probably do you more harm than good. I cannot see any benefit in you spending time to establish something like this instead of using your time as recommended by other posters in this thread. Honestly.

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
what would you think upon seeing that it was my own college? Are you impressed? Are you suspicious? Does this do more harm than good?
I would be very suspicious. In fact, I really think it does more harm than good. Look at it this way: a person who really knows enough to get into graduate school has other kinds of credentials that are more meaningful, like perhaps some published papers or original research. The only reason a person would go to such lengths to "make up" a college is because that person has no other credentials.

I think it's honestly a losing battle, and you might as well just attend undergraduate school like everyone else.

- Warren

Gold Member
get into the job market ASAP
Right. That is what prompted this idea. If someone wanted to fund my education, I would happily spend the rest of my life in school, so going back to school is not such a horrible thing. The problem is that I need a job that allows me to actually go to school and do well.

For one thing, I have to work in management to make enough money. And you don't work 9 to 5 in restaurants. You work whenever you're needed, and you're basically on call all the time. It's also horribly draining for several reasons, the least of which is me having higher standards than almost everyone that I work with, so I end up doing other people's jobs. I realize that this stuff, and all types of stress, is present in most, if not all, jobs, but it is worse in some. And I also don't care about it one bit, and I don't see it leading me anywhere that I want to go.