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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Formalized offline education is largely a farce. It has been sold to the masses and endorsed by Western culture as a necessary rite of passage. The ideas underlying this style of education are staid and unrealistic, only representing a very small part of the real situation.

Consider that:


  • Career change rates are increasing in frequency.
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  • Hours spent at work increasing.
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  • Leisure time is decreasing.
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  • Cultural change and ever-broadening cross-disciplinary knowledge is required for many job roles and existing knowledge is becoming outdated more quickly.
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  • There are some undergraduate courses that have barely changed in fifteen years, excepting their increased price.
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  • Structured offline degrees are no longer representative of a functional working life.
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  • Three qualities that are in high demand in many jobs or in self employment (and definitely in global culture at large) are: the practical application of thinking, comfort with change, and creativity. Traditional structured brick and mortar education hasn't moved to a point where it can afford the time to allow these hideously-difficult-to-measure qualities the time to develop.

The cost of education, as it turns out, goes up at a rate that is generally higher than inflation, but is delivering less return on investment as time goes on.

Education should come with a refund policy, but it doesn't. I think the best thing people can think of is to ask themselves, "Would I go out now and buy this for tens of thousands of dollars?" All the same questions that a person would ask when buying anything apply.


  1. How long does someone have to work to pay this off? (Whether it's you or your family.)
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  2. What will be my return on investment?
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  3. If my education is not costing money, it's costing time and energy. Is this really my passion, or is it just something I pulled out of the career guide as being approximately me?
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  4. Have I ever had to pay my own bills or be disciplined?
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  5. Did I like school? If not, then what would my ideal education look like?
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  6. What is the real (not the marketable) quality of this education?
    Sometimes people don't realize that they can go out and get basic jobs in an industry and then figure out by getting indirect hands-on experience, whether they like something. Plenty of people get degrees, 3 - 6 years, then spend two years in their profession before realizing they hate it.
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  7. Many countries require students to take out loans. Do you realize that you're taking out a small mortgage or in many cases, buying a luxury car? That is part of the reason degrees had status. As the quality of the luxury car goes down, so does its perceived value.

    There are still a lot of people not making practical decisions related to their education type and cost. Most people entering the higher education system are adolescents who don't understand the gravity of the investment they're making.

As INTPs and lovers of knowledge, on some level, we love the idea of a place we go to learn all day. That is a romantic notion that has little to do with the realities we'll one day have to face. An article I believe every INTP should read: How to Save College

If I could do it all again, I'd have never attended a formalized institution. It was a waste of time, energy and money. I'd do what Steve Jobs did, and just drop into the classes I was interested in. I'd have gotten my passion fired up, instead of dragging myself through boot camp, desperately clinging to an empty shell of an identity.

If you wouldn't study it and apply* it if it were free, then definitely don't buy it.

*Applying it means that you'd do assignments for kicks, no question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
An suspected INFJ or INTP doing a project on not going back to school. An interesting project to keep an eye on. "People who learn things independently learn the things they're most passionate about."

I couldn't agree more.
 

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I've always been interested on this, since I was a child I couldn't help but ask myself why did I have to spend my time studying theory I didn't really understand, to me "learning" was to memorize large amounts of useless information and spit it on a final exam, then forget it.

Now I am on college and it's still the same useless method, I must assist to 3 hour classes and listen to someone who's reading a fucking Powerpoint presentation, then memorize all that useless shit, do the exam and, again, forget it a week later. And I need that knowledge to be competent on my career!

It's madness.
 

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I like the thought of online university, but I really don't like the way they chain the students down by having starting times, deadlines and all that.

A massive step forward though.
 

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The problem with higher education (at least in my country) is that it used to be the gold standard for setting yourself apart - now the job market has been diluted by the sheer volume of graduates flooding out of university. Professions such as Law have stopped being about who showed the most aptitude in college, but rather who is willing to whore themselves out to internships the most. Oh, and if you don't get at least a 2:1 and come from at least a decent University, you may as well not bother applying.

My course is different, firstly it's vocational (a.k.a. teaches a specific set of skills for a specific profession), secondly, this time 10 years ago there was a deficit in the number of graduates, ergo a good job market. Since then however, there has been an exponential number of schools opening, all whilst education costs tripled. For this, the government have taken a massive shit on my profession, both by introducing crippling fees (around 50-60K all in) and by doing fuck all to ensure job security.

A degree I first thought would at least get me a semi-decent job is now a sinking ship.

The problem is that our government decided to bring the opportunity for university for everyone, creating a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' mentality. Lacking anything else to do upon graduation students feel forced into higher education; I remember there was a strong stigma at my school that everybody would apply, but absolutely fuck all provision was given to alternatives. This creates the issue where teenagers pick a degree like History, because they "like the subject", but don't have any idea what they want to do with that degree.

A degree is only worth what you want out of it. Heed that warning.

Truth be told, University has not only gotten more expensive, it's also gotten far, far easier. It's pathetic enough that GCSEs/A-levels have become 'tick the box' learning, but it's worse that mentality has seeped into HE.
 

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This is something that I am currently struggling with. I delayed going to college for a year, and when I went back (I intended to get my 2 year at a community college and then transfer into a uni) I loved that it seemed as if I hadn't missed a beat. I was still the top of the class, impressing teachers and just generally making it known that I was a huge nerd. I was accused of "memorizing the textbook" when in truth I only skimmed through the damn thing so I could get the specific words they wanted for the online quizzes, and things just seemed ridiculously easy.

I signed up as what was essentially a humanities tutor, but I guess nobody needed a history/political science/philosophy/everythingexceptmath tutor... and didn't get a single call. The paid training was cool, though. It did, however, make me feel like my interests were, well, not interesting.

I've been working full time recently, and I basically dropped my classes because I couldn't juggle everything, and unexpected things happened healthwise that basically ruined my plans of paying for school on my own, which is my only option. In truth it makes me feel terrible. I feel like I missed the boat; like the plane has crashed before takeoff and I am now doomed to 40 hour week drudgery until I die, instead of being the awesome political consultant/writer guy that I imagined myself being. I'm not really sure what the answer is at this point, but striking out and doing some independent learning sounds like it might work. I just need the overwhelming courage that it takes to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just need the overwhelming courage that it takes to do it.
I think it only seems overwhelming because of the cultural conditioning that tells us that we're under the guidance of a ship with credentials, and that there's some sense of security that comes with that. After stepping out of the playpen that is college or university, that sense of security is gone. Either way, sooner or later, people need to make it on their own.

You're an INTP, made for independent learning really. Actually, I can't think of any other profession that independent learning would be so well suited to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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I absolutely love what's going on right now in online education. I'm about halfway through one MOOC and recently started another. Both are engaging, have almost zero pointless bullshit to jump through, and are FREE. From what I've seen so far, their presentation of the material is comparable to the best of what I saw at my university.

Plus, one could do an online course whilst pantless, if one was so inclined. Or even completely “in the buff.” Name to me one conventional school where that's possible!

But seriously, they're already great and continue to improve at a breakneck pace. It's an INTP dream come true.
 
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Cocky as it may sound, I went into my degree not expecting to learn much at all. I'd been disillusioned by the quality of education in secondary school.

I've learned some things but so far the first two years of my degree have been a walk in the park (other than one business studies related topic in the first year, who decided that?!). The reason I'm taking a degree is not because I want to learn more about Computer Science, but because I want a way to prove to potential employers that I am good at it. The alternative, trying to compile a portfolio of half-finished programs and projects, would probably not reflect so well on me.

I'm relatively convinced that HR departments are going to be looking at qualifications (especially before we get "enterprise" experience), which means that even if I think those qualifications are worthless I'm still obliged to go out and get them.

On that note, I don't think an online course would do much good - it's like teaching yourself but with less self-control. You can learn every fact, every theory, every law and every pattern that has ever been learned in the known universe and still be seen as worthless to an employer because you didn't have the right slip of paper.
 

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My opinion on it is this, the slip of paper is the least important part. There are way too many pieces of paper out there already.
Make a drive at what you want to do yourself, study independently, become as good as you can, and pester people until you get what you want. Appearing worthy is how to avoid appearing worthless, and worthiness certaainly does not come from holding that slip of paper. Not these days anyway, maybe it did in the past, but not now. That's my opinion on it. And I'd be interested to hear an opinion that made me see it differently, but I don't think it is out there
 

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The education system is by and for SJ's. It's not surprising that it's all bullshit. Those people can't understand anything.
 
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