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But what if I don't want to go to college?

rawtheekuhrawtheekuh Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
edited July 2012 in High School Life
God forbid if there's someone on CC that is even REMOTELY thinking that. :P

All kidding aside, let me explain.

Throughout my life, it has been hammered into my brain that I absolutely must go to college or else I will end up homeless and die and god knows what else. So what did I do? I started worrying about my GPA, my ECs, the awards I should get, what I should do over the summer, etc. But I have been asking myself this seemingly simple question: Why do I want to go to college?

And I can't answer it. It depresses me, because I've been taking Pre-AP/"higher-level" classes since middle school, (I'm a freshman) thinking all the while that this would help me to obtain something that I THOUGHT I wanted.

Sure, you could say that I don't need to worry right now, I'm a freshman, but high school goes by FAST. I can't be a freshman forever, sadly. (Actually, more like "thank god," but that's not the point. :P)

I have two questions for you, members of CC: Why do you want to go to college & what do you think of people who turn down the opportunity to do so?
Post edited by rawtheekuh on

Replies to: But what if I don't want to go to college?

  • fizixfizix Registered User Posts: 1,813 Senior Member
    Well, I've been having similar thoughts to yours. But then I figure if I don't go to college now, it'll be much harder to go later, so I'd definitely be missing out on both the reputedly-fun "college experience" and the nice job offers after. If I did go to college, on the other hand, I'd probably mostly be missing out on the privilege of living with my parents and playing NetHack all day. Which could end up being rather lame.

    Of course, I've also been thinking about joining the Army. But then I realize what a fool the government would be for accepting me.
  • Xe_Ln_Ag_AXe_Ln_Ag_A Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    i want to go to college so i can escape from the hell hole that is high school. nuff said.
  • Luxar3000Luxar3000 Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    I want to go to college because I want to be able to make a decent living for me and my family. I also want to go to college to expand my intellectual horizons, and truly learn something that I will use in my life. I want to go to college to increase the chances that I can make a positive difference in the world.

    Stereotypical enough? All of those reasons are true.
  • musingmiyumusingmiyu Registered User Posts: 186 Junior Member
    I agree with Xe_Ln_Ag_A. x)

    But seriously? I want to go to college to further enrich my knowledge in what I'm passionate for. (Which means, bye bye Math...forever! xD)
  • frrrphfrrrph Registered User Posts: 784 Member
    I think you are perfectly right in not wanting to go to college just because it is considered such a given good. I salute your ability to think critically and independently.

    There is more to your life than letting people's expectations take you from point A to B to C; I would in fact argue schooling (note, not education) in particular says very little of your actual skills, abilities and value, but that is a whole nother debate. Going on to college without any better reason than it being a direct and easy track into a career may give you a lot of fun experiences and a good job, but it won't make you a better or more well-rounded person.

    Take a few years off to work and educate yourself. Come back when you feel it's time for someone else to guide you further along in your readings, or for yourself have seen what a degree means in the real world. You'll have a far stronger understanding and appreciation of college, and an easier time acing it - because you'll be enthusiastic and clear on your goals. Getting "behind" a few years is not the end of the world as some kids here have been made to believe, it is actually a great way to find yourself, get clear on your goals, and enter college studies with some more life under your belt.

    That being said, there are quite a few people out there that scrapped college alltogether, and were no worse off. If you are driven and disciplined enough, this could prove true for you as well.
  • EdwardzEdwardz Registered User Posts: 592 Member
    It's not that I don't want to go to college, it's just that I've been driven by this large force called society to go. And in the process, I find that I would've made this choice by myself from the beginning, so I have no complaint. Although sometimes I wish college never existed, so that we all could be relieved of all this stress. In the end, I guess I want to go to college because I want to explore unknowns, and be a good provider, role model, and foundation for my family.

    Those who turn down the opportunity to go to college, I respect their decision if made for the right reasons. If the fastest path to their goals do not require them to go through college, then why go through college? If they can establish a decent way of life without spending $40,000 a year for four years, then more power to them.
  • InquilineKeaInquilineKea - Posts: 2,309 Member
    Colleges used to be repositories of knowledge. They held a monopoly over information needed in order for one to pursue professional positions. In effect, by restricting the number of students who had access to such knowledge, college effectively secures people already in professional positions.

    This was effectively made worse by the monopoly that journals had over knowledge. One could only find the latest research through such journals, and only universities had the money to pay for large numbers of subscriptions to such journals.

    Books as well. There are few high level books available to the public, even though public libraries (and I go to one of the largest public library systems in the United States). Again, the university restricts access to the books to those who can enroll in university. Theoretically, it is possible for some non-students to check out such books, but out of the potential pool of non-students with potential interest in such books, few of them would take the time and energy to go to step 2: going through the bureaucracy to get borrowing privileges from the university library.

    Enter the Internet. For some reason, some number of people are liberal and altruistic enough to recognize the value of the Internet in distributing knowledge. They recognized that the knowledge is better served if the whole public has access to it. It's not just altruism of course - Amazon.com and Internet bookstores allowed people to buy books that were rarely available. The opportunity costs (of searching) for finding a book on say, abstract algebra, fell as a result of the Internet. Now all one needed for that book is access to Amazon.com. Moreover, professors started putting course material on course webpages. They initially did it for convenience - for students who lost handouts could have easily printed such handouts from the websites, rather than going directly to the professor to ask for them. A number of professors did not delete the webpages after the course ended. Fortunately, many of them recognized the value of the material on such webpages. This brought about MIT OCW. The initial step in the liberalization of knowledge.

    The next step is in making reliable textbooks free for all who need such textbooks. Such a step is possible. There are torrents of huge numbers of math, physics, chemistry, and other textbooks at BitTorrent tracker websites. A new website, http://www.textbooktorrents.com, is being developed for such a purpose.

    Open source will, moreover, help kick out the monopoly that Microsoft holds over software. Tux is cuter than Bill Gates. Who can't love this adorable penguin? I mean, seriously, it's sooo cute. It will kick out the monopoly of Mathematica, Maple, and Matlab (though one can download them off BitTorrent). It will kick out the monopoly of software needed for research. The motivations of open source developers is amazing and counterintuitive to the traditional economist.

    There will be a time when the college becomes obsolete. We already have the technology to make it obsolete, thanks to the Internet and to BitTorrent.

    The anti-monopolization of knowledge that the Internet provides will help kick professionals out of the picture. It will be recognized that then, people, when they have excellent skills in (a) searching for all the knowledge they needed and in (b) out of that huge morass of knowledge, separating the (1) relevant and (2) accurate knowledge from the knowledge that is BS or irrelevant to their needs. They will not need a professional intermediary to get what they need. Instead, they can hire smart agents (robots, by the way), that can negotiate with online services to get what they need. The results of a genetic test can be stored into an online database. A smart robotic agent fetches data from that online database into a drugstore, to test for potential drugs that the person's body may be allergic to. It also tests for levels of Cytochrome P450 enzymes. Those lacking the enzymes needed to digest one drug can thus switch to another drug.

    With this, who needs health professionals? Those who lack the means to (1) search through the knowledge and (2) hire out smart agents to find which knowledge is best for them.
  • InquilineKeaInquilineKea - Posts: 2,309 Member
    Now, colleges are trusted because they assign each individual with grades. What do grades measure? Progress on (1) tests and (2) projects/essays. All of those can be done by homeschoolers. Research can (and is almost always) done independently of class. Research projects are considered to be the most reliable projects. Homeschoolers must still take tests to track their knowledge. Tests are, at least, far less costly in terms of both time and money than lectures are.

    Now, the person who pursues a career outside of getting high grades in college must prove his ability by such tests or projects/essays independently of college. Projects and essays are, of course, mostly independent of college. The main problem is the monopoly that the educational institution holds over tests. While the CollegeBoard has some leverage over the testing process (with GREs), the influence of the GRE is very limited (according to many people who have gone through graduat admissions). One can prove his knowledge via tests independently of going to lecture - but the person still has to go through class and pay $$$$$. This $$$$, sadly enough, is huge.

    I think that tests are necessary in determing whether a person has the knowledge and aptitude in order to succeed in a career. This assumes that reliable testing accomodations can be provided for those who need more time. The skills needed to do well on tests are little different than the skills needed for the professions that such tests are based upon (I'm assuming that the professions are academic professions - where one needs more knowledge than what one learns in high school). Such tests are no more culturally biased than the skills needed for the profession (and knowledge tests can give a fair indicator of one's level of aptitude as well - if one can do well enough in a knowledge test about the jargon of the profession, then one is probably intelligent enough to do well in such profession).

    Most professions often rely on the performance of their employees and set statistical correlations between employee entrance "stats" and employee performance to determine which "stats" are most highly correlated with employee performance. Post-collegial institutions trust college grades more so than many other indicators of performance, due to the lack of other indicators of performance that are available for students. Because they have have to deal with relatively few applications from the non-college crowd, and many from that non-college crowd are not relatively well off, they do not trust applications from the non-college crowd. But that can be corrected - with a change in the number of students who decide to self-study instead of go to college. With more students who pursue such a route, it will open institutions up to accepting applications from people who don't go to college. Unfortunately, few students are currently willing to take such a route - and since such a route will only work if many students pursue it, individual students will not pursue it independently of the actions of others. This effectively ensures that more will waste $$$$ on colleges.

    Tests can be distributed by the professions themselves (at more specialized levels), and by an agency like the CollegeBoard (at less specialized levels). The CollegeBoard's tests are not exactly perfect, yet for some reason, AMC/AIME and USAMO scores are highly trusted by Caltech and MIT. Moreover, all international competitions are based on tests. Certainly, there is validity to tests (just not aptitude tests, which are the most heavily criticized of all tests, and with much reason to support that criticism, due to the low correlations between aptitude tests and life performance. And that's life performance in a game that relies heavily on tests!). For those who want to measure talent beyond tests - they should do projects. The Internet makes searching for information needed to start and finish these projects so much easier.

    For informational based professions that do not require creativity (read, much white-collar work), there is nothing better than a test. That does not require college.

    The other issue, of course, is that colleges set textbook monopolies by requiring students to purchase textbooks (and discouraging them from seeking textbooks/curricular that they may prefer). Moreover, a certain number of people may have the ability to self-study - but they decide not to self-study, because they don't have much motivation to do it when they are already in a system that works for them (but is very expensive and unnecessary).


    My arguments for unschooling seem to make it seem that the Internet is necessary for such a thing. It isn't, as in the case of many scientists who came before mass schooling. Rather, it is that it makes it possible for MANY people to decide to pursue knowledge on their own accords.

    Arguments can come in two forms. (a) the proposal is theoretically possible, i.e. possible for a few people who are neurologically exceptional, and (b) that it is practically possible, that is, people are more likely to approach the proposal under some conditions than others
  • S0adS0ad Registered User Posts: 914 Member
    I want to go to college because in order for me to do what I want to do, I have to, otherwise I wouldn't be able to go into the career I wanted to.

    I know college isn't for many people, and I believe so long as people have a plan with what they want to do in life, like become an apprentice, start a business, go to technical school, etc., then they're no worse as those who do choose to go to college.

    Theres many successful people who never went to college, because they simply didn't need to. So whatever works. I don't think its right however to automatically assume everybody in high school will move on to college. I think too much focus is placed on going to college right after high school (at least at my school) and I think a little more time should be dedicated to the people who don't want to go to college, because often times they're on their own.
  • thisyearsfashionthisyearsfashion Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    1.) It'll give me an education to help people; I want to learn about the world, take history courses, policy courses, all to dissect the news so I can be a great writer. And yes, I need guidance. I could learn all of this on my own, I'm a smart kid, but I'd prefer a little help.

    2.) It'll be FUN; in college you've got no responsibilities except to take classes you love and hang out with friends you love - well, none compared to the working world

    3.) It eases you into the real world - you're separated from your parents, but not completely. You're on your own, but not totally. It's a good stepping stone.

    4.) A college degree WILL give you more opportunities, for grad school, for jobs

    NO, college isn't for everyone. Are you a famous musician or a great athlete? Getting offers to join a symphony orchestra and travel the world or play pro ball instead of going to college? Then maybe those are better options for you. But if it's working at Micky D's or taking some more classes, I'll take the classes, thank you!
  • Just_BrowsingJust_Browsing Registered User Posts: 661 Member
    You're a freshmen, don't think about it yet.

    Over the couse of high school, I learned a lot about what I wanted in life, and part of that includes education. I don't have any specific career goals, I just know that for me, the next step needs to be moving away and getting into higher education.

    For others that's not the next step. There are many high-paying jobs that don't require a degree, your options aren't limited to Mickey D's as the previous poster suggested.
  • thisyearsfashionthisyearsfashion Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    I did not...haha.
  • hemingwayisdeadhemingwayisdead Registered User Posts: 626 Member
    There was a time when I didn't want to go to college. I was in my Hemingway mode and figured why do I need to waste the money learning something I won't need? I'm a writer, and good writing is the product if giftedness and strenous work, not education. What would help me grow would be SEIZING life so to speak, instead of wasting four years of it way.

    That's definitely no longer the case. :) I'm no longer so idealistic. I'm going to college because I can't think of anything else I could do. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do with my *life* than go to college. I'm a perpetual student. Knowledge is but the pond I go a-fishing in. I have no clue what I want to study, except maybe literature, but I love the ivory tower of academia.

    Of course, this must be the case with less than 1% of the population (and very sad if it's more). College just isn't the place for alot of people. You shouldn't feel pressured to go, go if it's what you really want. And don't think about *getting in* to college! It takes 20 minutes to fill out that application, but you'll actually be there 4 years.
  • ChickenSoup88ChickenSoup88 Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
    I want to go to college because there is so much more to study that just isn't offered at a high school. Even APs, supposedly "college-level" classes are just taught to the test. AP World doesn't go into nearly enough detail about, say, Africa, but in college I can major in African studies if I want to.

    Personally, I'm extremely excited for the language opportunities. My school offers French, Spanish, Latin and conversational Italian (aka an easy A for juniors). I've been waiting years to take Hebrew and Arabic, because there just isn't any convenient place to take it outside of school.
  • TaggartTaggart Registered User Posts: 1,486 Senior Member
    I want to go to college because a) I want to pursue a dream job, which will undoubtedly require the education, and b) because I want to be around people who, more or less, are on the same level as I am.
This discussion has been closed.