You Got to Be Kidding Me!

“Higher” Education

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on February 15, 2007

In a comment thread on the Volokh Conspiracy, I had occasion to state my personal policy of not recommending that anyone go to college just “for the experience”. That’s based on the fact, as I see it, that campuses–especially Ivy League campuses–these days are the opposite of “liberal”, and that if you want to experience diversity you’re probably better off going out into the real world. Predictably, the very first response was along the lines of “do you give out that advice with every burger and fries?”

In reality I’ve only given out that advice once, to my cousin who had just graduated high school and was trying to decide what to do next. Without even getting into (my) politics, she complained that she took an art class at (I think) ASU and the professor spent more time on politics than on technique. I said well, that’s how core classes are going to be at most schools. Then I said she should consider putting off college while she pursues her dream of working in the music industry, because she can always go back later and get more out of it at that point anyway, versus just going now because that’s what you’re supposed to do after high school.

So my question to you, friends and other readers, is does this make sense? Am I overblowing the political correctness in Ivy League schools, or is it reasonable to say it’s now so bad that prospective students should forget about “the college experience” and just look for any and all ways to get the education they want?

I should also say that while I realize white-collar employers look for a degree, I’ve never thought it made sense for everyone and their brother to go to college. We’re not all going to be academics, philosophers or scientists.

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One Response

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  1. Christina said, on February 16, 2007 at 5:16 am

    I didn’t go to an ivy league college, so I don’t know, but I’m not so sure you’d want to go to one as a female wanting to be an academic, philosopher or scientist. I heard quite a few (firsthand – not hearsay) horror stories from women about what goes on in the graduate programs in the ivy league and other top schools, and I have my own horror story as well.

    And personally, I wouldn’t want a job at a firm that would pick someone who went ivy league over someone who went to a state school just because of the name of the school.

    I think that if your dream career doesn’t require a college degree, feel free to put it off. If you don’t feel ready for college, put it off. But be aware that some jobs do require degrees and if you want one of those you will eventually have to go to college.


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