When tuition prices make the news you know something is up with that. Everyone knows that the cost of college is pricing out majority of those that can really afford it. In order to consider any university with a name worth mentioning you have to consider taking out loans. Any smart parent knows not to put themselves in that situation of paying for their child’s education because there are plenty of horror stories to go around today of parents drowning in “Parent-PLUS” loans where the parent is responsible for the loan not the child. A smart parent would make sure that their son or daughter is joining the right kind of programs at school, participating in enough programs outside of school and signing up for scholarships that match the kind of work they are doing.
My personal experience of knowing people who worked hard in high school to make sure they had enough to pay for their college and graduate school is enough to prove that students don’t need to take out loans if they are doing all the right things in school. Before I get to the schools that now charge more than $60,000 a year to attend, I will explain how you can keep yourself out of that boat of taking out loans.
What It Means to Get an Education
The old adage used to be that if you wanted to prove your education to anyone you had to go to a school with a name that people recognized. Think about that for a second then. In an article written previously on that issue, I mentioned that a study done recently showed that the name of the school matters less than what you actually studied and that is very true. You can attend a college in the remote hills of Montana where no one recognizes the name except those that live and work at the university but if you spend all your time on campus taking advantage of what resources they do have and reading books that will further your education you can easily surpass that of an ivy league student.
The number of self-educated individuals today who don’t go to college, simply for the reason that they can’t afford it, hasn’t stopped them and the surprising thing is that many of them have been hired by google for the simple reason that they had the passion and drive on their own to want to learn and teach themselves something. So the truth that you need a college education to do anything is false now. Infact many people have been accepted into Ivy leagues later on in life after being denied in high school and the reason for that is that life gave them the experience they needed to be able to create something that proved they had the talent and drive to make something great which the ivy leagues recognized.
If you believe that siting in a classroom and paying money to be there is worth the price then you don’t understand what a college education means today. In my own experience I have witnessed many students who have stellar grades but have no idea how to apply any of the material. I have tutored and worked with students who are in all these prestigious honors’ programs but are some of the laziest people I have ever met.
Here are a few people that exist in college. The important thing to consider is how they are using their time.
College Student A:
Year in School: Sophomore
In the time I spent with this person I learned that they didn’t watch movies made before 2005 (because, to them, it didn’t make sense to watch old movies with bad special effects), only read the books he was told to in class and didn’t believe in reading or watching the news because they believed it was all opinion based.
College Student B:
Year In School: Senior
They had a straight As in class, attended all lectures but never went to office hours and knew where all the parties were on the weekends. When I would go over the material with them about everything they learned from all the psychology classes their ability to apply or recall important studies done their effort was elementary at best. When asked how they had great grades and poor application skills I was informed they would take Adderall and pull an all-night just for the exam. In their view “you only need to know the stuff for the exam.” [Note: It was common to hear students in class asking other students if they knew where to get Adderall so it was not like students were careful who they asked.]
College Student C:
Year In School: Sophomore
This student informed me that they never visited any of their school’s library simply for the reason that they didn’t like to read. They informed me that the only books they read were the ones assigned in class and many times they would just get the notes from students who did read the assigned materials. They spent most of the time in their dorm laying in bed all day watching movies and TV shows on the weekends until they had to study, which they mostly did in their dorm. They never attended office hours and felt they only needed to learn what the test covered and nothing more. If their view, “if the professor wanted me to learn more about something he would include it in the required readings.”
The examples that these students show are just a small slice of the many college students I have known over the years. The students that always surprise me are the ones who still listen and do what their parent’s tell them to, for the simple reason that they are paying for their college education.
You don’t need to go to college to get an education, infact there are programs now that encourage students to take a gap year and do something amazing with it. In Peter Thiel’s Fellowship program students are encouraged to ignore college or drop out to pursue their dreams. (If you do not know who Peter Thiel is I would recommend learning who this guy is and why he is important to know about) They do so by getting a real education, and by that I mean they learn how to survive on their own, they are encouraged to actively read anything and everything they can and to meet people all around them. Colleges try to create these type of environments but fail because students are so focused on the carrot (grades) while ignoring everything else around them. The Fellowship program does not have a carrot, except the student’s own success plan, so that means they have to create their own path to getting what they want. Colleges are set in up a way that students ignore so much around them that what they end up paying for in the end is only the grades to show for and nothing else.
How to Get the Most of any Education and Experience
If you are a college student understand that the second you get out of college grades don’t matter anymore and no one cares. These are a few jokes they have about grades in school.
What do you call a straight A film student after they graduate?
Unemployed (because grades are not what they look for in the film industry)
What do you call a C student after they graduate from medical school?
Students are driven by something that, unless you plan to stay in school and become a professor, don’t matter in the real world. What matters are the students who ignore the grades and focus on the things that matter. Here is a funny story to read about – students who get into Ivy Leagues with no problems and less stress than all the valedictorians out there.
A student who creates a program that teaches low-income kids how to build computers so they can teach other low-income kids how to build computers and use them (but only makes Cs and Bs in school) has a higher chance of getting into Harvard or Yale than the student who works their butt off the whole summer trying to get a perfect score on their SAT and nothing else. The student who was able to help low-income students improve their knowledge of something might have learned in class about the terrible conditions of disadvantaged kids and wanted to do something to fix that. They took what they learned and applied it in such a way that showed what matters in this world – Application. This is a concept that many college and graduate students have a hard time doing with all the information they have learned.
If you want to get into a to notch school go do something amazing with your time instead of focusing on grades. Remember the most successful people in this world, or as some people like to measure it by, the richest, don’t have a college degree. They just went out and created stuff that people needed or wanted.
Tuition Keeps Going Up
It will surprise you to know that the top three colleges with tuition rates over $60,000 are not even Ivy League schools. That right there should raise a red flag in your mind saying, “Wait, there’s a problem in education.”
Last time this year there were only 9 schools that had rates over $50k and now there are 50 schools with rates over $50k. Schools have no problem with asking for more money because so many people believe it’s worth the price. Remember, there are actual people out there who really believe that the more you pay the better the education is, even though many studies have found that the quality of college education has gone down in the past few years. That should raise another red flag. The reason the the costs keep going up is because schools keep building and building, and the extra cost of supporting all their staff and professors keeps going up because so many people keep getting raises every year. The sad thing out of all this is that the amount of money given out, in terms of scholarships from schools, keeps going down every year.
So how do you keep yourself from paying for your child’s college education? You make sure they are looking and applying for scholarships every year and summer they are in high school. It starts the second they start their freshmen year. Every summer in high school counts so they should be learning how to write so they can write essays that win money. They should also have a youtube channel to document all that they do because colleges will be looking for their stuff online. Many schools now would like you to include your social media accounts so they can get a better picture of who the student really is.
As a parent it is your job to make sure they get to all their practices, help them with homework and if you can’t help them then hire a tutor. They have enough stress about going to college so complaining that you can not drive them anywhere because you are tired after work doesn’t help that child so be aware that the more you help them get to where they need to go that is one less thing they have to argue and worry about.
How to Avoid The Costs
First, as a parent and even students should read the Book
College (Un)Bound by Jeffrey J. Selingo
This book will give you a better understanding of colleges and why they are spiraling out of control and what you can do to lower the costs.
Hacking Your Education by Dale J. Stephens
He will explain why you don’t have to go to college and pay those extraordinary prices when you can get it all for free. He even includes some amazing resources that most people didn’t even know were out there.
The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg
Michael explains what millionaires actually did to make themselves experts in their fields and how college was merely an option in life, not a requirement, and how you really need to view college.
The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman
If you have ever wanted to get an MBA but not sure if you can handle the material and price tag (most are above $100k) then this book will teach you everything that a regular MBA program would cover in real world terms. A high school student who reads this book instead of majoring in it in college has a better chance of starting a business than if they went to college and majored in business.
Then Watch the CNN documentary
This is a movie to watch with your kids.
Majority of people believe that you have to go to college if you want a real education and for those that truly believe that you can take a look at these news articles about who is now charging more than $50 to $60k a year just to focus on grades. If you take in mind all the free education that Ivy leagues now offer it makes no sense to pay this much money, unless you are of the 1%, just for a piece of paper. If you don’t believe me, find out why Google goes after those with no college degrees, or how this teen got into MIT without all the struggles that most high school students go through just to be considered and walked in with no problem.