You’ve got to be careful when it comes to college these days. Unless you’re looking at sourcing a degree which requires specific educational parameters—like law, medicine, or scientific research—it may not be the best idea to go the traditional college route. There are a number of factors which paint a picture different than that of olden times.
Firstly, collegiate environments are increasingly less about education, and increasingly more about the “party” aesthetic. From South Park, which once pointed out: “There’s a time and place for everything, and it’s college,” to movies like Neighbors; which depict a hardcore fraternity whose only “educational” focus seems to be on parties.
Films and TV shows wouldn’t make jokes, or film premises, like that unless some kernel of truth were involved. Comedy relies on connecting to the lowest common denominator nationally—at least from a production standpoint. Both South Park and Neighbors are making satirical observations about the reality. Now why are you going to go to a university and pay $30k+ a year just to party?
The only real reason is to make connections with those who have funding undergirding their collegiate exploits, and are only there for a paper certification to begin with. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter the institution they’ve gone to; they haven’t really learned anything that helps them with life, and being successful. They’ve jumped through a hoop and partied while memorizing the right rhetoric to assuage the professor’s ego.
Meanwhile, if you go to a community college or trade school, there are still plenty of parties and networking opportunities available, but you obtain a real skillset and the ability to use that skillset for gainful employment. You can’t go grab a job with a communications degree, a music degree, a political sciences degree, or any of hundreds of others. Well, you can; but you’ll end up being a statistical minority.
College is getting more expensive than ever, and the irony is a trade school or community solution may ultimately serve you better in the long run. There are serious issues with today’s educational system at the formal level. That said, there are still good reasons to go to a university. Even here, you can get a real job while saving on education if you’re savvy.
Consider textbooks. Firstly, they are likewise more expensive than ever. But you don’t have to pay full price, and this can help you save money as tuition continues to spike even while the effectiveness of an education plummets. When everyone’s got a degree in something, it’s just a hoop to jump through, and not a means of bettering your understanding.
So buy used and sell after the fact. What, are you going to spend months in the future pining over the hours you spent sitting in an auditorium lecture hall listening to an egocentric old man blather on about his opinions regarding esoteric intellectual pursuits? Doubtful. Probably you’re just going to stick those books in a closet somewhere. So don’t spend $100 to $200 on them; spend $25 to $50 on them, or less.
When you consider the cost savings of buyback textbooks, no other option makes sense—especially if you can find a site like BookScouter.com, which: “…is 100% free with no registration required.” You can buy books that are used cheaply from this site, then sell them on the same site so you get some of your money back.
Collegiate education at the university level can be effective, but there’s also an increasing propensity for lost money, massive debt, and wasted time. Be careful, and choose your higher education parameters wisely.