Does It Make Sense To Go To College?

Does it make sense to go to college? Those high school seniors who are anxiously awaiting admission notices may find this problem weird, but recently there have been heated discussions about the value of college diplomas.

To make the debate more insightful, we invited 20-year-old Dale J. Stephens, the founder of UnCollege (a social movement that aims to change the only way to succeed in college-Annotation), and called on college students to find The path to personal success is to “impact education.” Stephens is the recipient of the Thiel fellow (a scholarship program created by Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel). He did not receive formal education in junior high and high school and dropped out of college after only a short period of time.

Stephens imagined that in the future, “people will make their own decisions”, college is no longer a natural choice, young people will go out of their own way and realize personal value.
We asked Stephens to respond to the five reasons people usually give to go to college. The following is his answer.

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Reason 1: Study in a rigorous and supportive academic environment
“If you want to study, college is the last place you should go,” Stephens said. “On our university campus, most of the time people are not studying.”
This sounds a bit surprising. After all, the definition of a university is an institution that focuses on nurturing learning and knowledge.
This is not always true, Stephens said: “The combination of knowledge you can learn in college is roughly the same as what you learn in a traditional school environment. What you learn is nothing more than following instructions and before the deadline. Handing in homework and memorizing by rote.”
Even if universities can provide the basic framework and resources for learning, this is still the case. Stephens said: “I think this basic framework is not a good thing. When you walk into society, you will find that there is no such so-called framework. When doing a job, you have no syllabus to refer to.” He added: ” Those who want to learn should be able to use the resources they need.” This specifically refers to the need to actively open laboratories, research centers, and other facilities to the public. He said that the current level of openness of such resources is not high, but it seems that the development trend is good.
He also criticized the education system—especially the standardized tests—for “high efficiency but no practical effect.” He proposed to establish a self-directed education model, in principle to implement project-based learning methods, while providing students with tutoring.

Reason 2: Establish and develop a circle of friends and contacts
Stephen said that many people told him that dropping out of college made him lose a lot of opportunities. He could have used the opportunity of college to meet girls and drink beer. He ridiculed this: “I prefer boys and champagne.”
His answer was rude but frank. The implication was to say that the social circle of the university was a “bubble”. It emphasized self-selection and the tendency to homogeneity was serious.
“If you only make friends with the same dormitory or classmates, your circle will be very narrow,” he said. He believes that although college students come from all corners of the world, “people come here for the same reason.” In contrast, the experience of leaving formal education allows him to actively seek opportunities to make friends with different interests.
Some people think that going to college can help build professional networks. He countered that more and more people are building contacts through social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Reason 3: status
“I think this is the most tenable reason,” Stephen said. “If you are admitted to a good school, then no matter what, you should go to it.” But he said that even then you only need to read one or two. This semester, as long as you can associate your name with the school’s shining signboard, it is enough.

Reason 4: discover yourself
Many college graduates believe that it was time in college that allowed them to discover themselves. But Stephens believes that college students generally lack a real sense of responsibility, and college education emphasizes memory and examination skills, which severely hinders personal growth.
“University is a sandbox model, it makes you hallucinate about reality,” he said: “If you can understand how to dominate your own life, it will be more useful.” He believes that it is best for people to enter adulthood. At that time, he began to learn to be self-reliant.
He also believes that a more useful way to discover yourself is to do some creative work, such as establishing a start-up company.
He particularly disliked that some people would have a one-year “gap year” during college to explore the world. “Why do you have to spend a year to do this? Why did you stop after a year? Why can we really understand society only by jumping out of the framework of university?” he asked.

Reason 5: get a decent degree and get high salary potential
Statistics show that a college degree has a positive effect on economic factors such as low unemployment and high income.
However, Stephens believes that the most critical factor may not be the degree itself, but the person who obtained the degree. He said: “It’s not that universities bring success to people, but in our society, smart and motivated people usually go to college. I bet that if you tell these smart and motivated people not to go to school, just When they enter the workplace, they also earn more money than others.”
He also believes that university courses are generally decoupled from reality: “Learning psychology courses does not mean that you know how psychologists work.” He thinks a better way is to observe, imitate, or practice under the hands of practitioners, but in the profession. Before you can work or obtain a qualification, you need to complete your coursework or obtain a degree.
He commented on some data and pointed out that “the unemployment rate is low, and it only refers to college graduates over 25 years of age.” (Indeed, according to the New York Times last spring, only 55% of young colleges Graduates are engaged in jobs that require college diplomas.) He believes that young college graduates are not ideal for employment. One of the reasons may be that they did not acquire useful job skills when they were in college.
He said that college students’ debts are getting higher and higher, which also complicates the economic prospects of college graduates. After considering the time and money needed to obtain a college degree, young people may decide to find better ways to use these resources.

After all, Stephens wants to make it clear that even young people who decide to go to college need to carefully consider their goals and make insightful and correct decisions. “You have to figure out why you want to go to college so that you can make the most of this experience. You need to be honest with yourself,” he said.