Does College Matter?

Do we need college, in various fields school is actually behind what you can learn online and by actually working yourself up in that field. What does college then bring? Is it worth the money?

The average education in computer science, engineering, and even medicine is partly obsolete within 18 months. Some weird variant of Moore’s law I guess. The conventional wisdom says that the specifics of what you learn are much less important than the fact that you’re learning the fundamentals, and you’re learning to learn—things you’ll need to maintain your skills and knowledge in a quickly changing world.

… the result of this mentality (we are resisting the temptation to label it “mental illness”) is graduates who are narrowly educated—and often are “trained” for work in fields that will have changed before the ink on their diplomas is dry. Those graduates have scant understanding of civic responsibilities or of the possibilities of life beyond work. Accumulating a sufficient number of courses and credit hours to earn a college degree is, in the public mind, synomous with being educated. But having a diploma bears little resemblance to being educated. “Higher” education has been lowered.

Since I’ve been out of school (a while back), I’ve been in a number of discussions where career counselors are mentioned, I often use a derisive term in french which would kind of translate to de-counselors. The whole concept of study for study, of finding a field where there are upcoming opportunities, not necessarily what you’d love doing and be passionate about but what you wouldn’t dislike doing and you run the best chance of finding a job in the market they think will be there 4-5 years down the line. Not sure that’s the right way to go about things.

Lucky for her, she learned at a much earlier age that passion matters. That money is far less important than joy (and that money doesn’t buy joy). And that whatever decision she makes now, does not determine the rest of her life. She understands that the chances of anyone having a single career for life—or even a decade—are asymptotically approaching zero. And that nothing—not finances (or lack of) or gender or age—will stand in her way if she decides to learn something. And if what she wants to learn at some point in the future is best studied in a formal higher education environment, there’s nothing to stop her from going to college then.

Creating Passionate Users, Does College Matter

[Update] Funny, a couple of hours later I read this post by Steve which mentions this idea in the UK that calls for five-year-olds to be given careers advice.

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