FOF #2048 – Back to School

Sep 17, 2014 · 1985 views

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Never in the history of the modern world has it been so hard to get into college and so expensive to get an education. But just because the odds are stacked against you, doesn’t mean you can’t get a good education, a nice job, a car and a man or a woman or both.

Today we give you a no nonsense look at the harsh reality of getting a college education today, with some simple, practical tips on keeping it cheap and making the most of your degree.


  1. colaboy29 says:

    Tuition rates are ridiculous. I know your suggestions will help a lot of students and those thinking about college. Thanks for the great show!

  2. Javier says:

    Great show, guys.

    Just a couple of thoughts from a college faculty member: Fausto is right that college is for learning how to think and problem solve. For very good reasons, students and their parents are anxious that their majors translate into real jobs. But, despite marketing from higher ed and other folks, college is not job training or vocational (except for pre-professional and professional programs, which are more common now but traditionally have not been part of a college education). Liberal arts education is for learning how to think complex ideas and articulate them. If you don’t go to college, you can still do that of course, but college is designed specifically for nimble, flexible thinking. Something else to point out is that there are actually quite a few majors that directly lead to a job, though most of these do end up being technical degrees (which is one of the reasons the liberal arts have been hit hard for at least the last 20 years). But not everyone is going to want to major in engineering or health sciences (nor should they)–nor is everyone suited for these fields for a variety of reasons (just as not everyone is suited for college–not because they can’t do it but because that’s not their best path). Last but definitely not least, most people who graduate from college these days switch career fields several times in the course of their lives. A good liberal arts education will prepare you for being critical, thoughtful, insightful, and improvisational so that you can plan your next move better or be flexible and adapt for whatever comes your way you never thought of when you were 18 (!). If one’s education is too narrow/geared for the workforce, in times of change one might find oneself being obsolete or redundant. That Comp Sci degree might not help when you try to get that massage business started (Quicken is not that hard) or if coding gets outsourced to who knows where. What people should definitely do is major in something they are passionate about but take internships in the fields they are thinking about going into. If there isn’t an obvious connection, you can make that connection yourself–or not. Regardless the education will help your critical thinking skills and the internship job skills, which will make you much more attractive to employers. I’d be intrigued by someone who majored in neuroscience but interned at an art gallery. That’s a story right there. My point is: we are not living in industrial times in which you need to learn how to push buttons in a particular order and repeat it over and over again, so resist the lure of a “ready-made” education for a “ready-made” job. That’s really not our world, even though we would like it to be that neat.

    A couple of thoughts on summer courses: they are great, and they’re fast. But if you don’t have time to work on them, they can be a nightmare. Too many times I’ve seen people take courses in the summer to satisfy requirements without actually thinking about the effort they have to put in: you’re getting 15 weeks of content in 6 weeks or 8 weeks. Even straight A students have a hard time coping with the amount of work. So take summer courses, but be prudent. Also, I don’t know that summer courses are cheaper than during the regular school year. I am sure you that in some places that’s the case. But colleges and universities are trying to raise revenue through summer courses and online courses these days. Again, be prudent.

  3. Artemisia says:

    Hey I really wish I could go back to school : /

    I tried but really I don’t know how to afford it.
    To pay the bills plus tuition it takes me almost 2-3 jobs. So then how do you go to school when working everyday, usually all day? Last time I tried I was it was like a hampster wheel.

    I’m excited about this thing I found on Facebook called TransTech. It’s just getting off the ground but it’s suposed to be a program to help trans learn wed development and graphic design. I already do graphic design but really some of the classes the program is suposta offer are classes on self confidence and knowing your rights. I believe classes like this should be incorporated in regular collage courses because having skills is the first bit, but it’s all for not if your getting pushed around.

    Kind of one of the only things that brings me down. I have a learning disability but I love learning.
    It just seams like I can try and try and create neat things but then it’s like it means nothing. : (

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