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Higher Education - How can we make it suck a little less?

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Posts

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Richy wrote:
    Books! Why does a textbook cost $Texas?
    Welcome to the world of textbook pricing, where, it would seem, the usual market forces don't apply. The textbook market in no way resembles the trade book market, in which the same person - the consumer - desires the book (the new War and Peace, the latest diet guide or whatever), acquires it, and pays for it, so that price points and competition are crucial. What the textbook market resembles most is the market for health care, in which one entity (the physician/the professor) desires - that is, assigns or prescribes - the product, a second entity (the patient/the student) consumes it, and a third set of entities (insurance companies/parents) foot the bill. Spiraling prices for textbooks, like spiraling medical costs, seem to be the inevitable result. A General Accounting Office report in 2005 noted that textbook prices rose 186 percent in the U.S. from 1986 to 2004, compared to only a 3 percent rise in other prices over the same period and a 7 percent rise in average college tuition and fees. The seemingly out-of-control price increases have prompted laws in six states and pending bills in at least four others - plus a measure passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 7 - that aim to regulate the way in which textbooks are marketed so as to lower costs to students.

    In other words, the invisible hand of the Free Market is busy sticking its fingers in the urethras of people who need to spend money (for school) to make money (to get a degree for a job).

    I felt I should talk about this. While university textbook prices are climbing, textbook editors are not rolling in dough. Quite the opposite, in fact, their profits have been going down. Why? Two reasons: photocopying and used bookstores.

    One key difference between reading a textbook and reading a regular book is that in the textbook case, you're surrounded by people reading the same textbook as you. It's easy for someone to borrow the textbook and make a bad but readable photocopy. And it's impossible for textbook companies to compete with the price of 5¢ per two-page and free labour. It's not legal, but when has that ever stopped anyone?

    The second difference is used bookstores. And I don't mean students selling their books to other students, I mean campus stores. A growing number of them are genuine businesses. Ever wondered how they seem to have shelves full of copies of the same textbook in new condition? Well, they figured out that when a new edition of a textbook comes out, they can buy up all the copies of the old edition for cheap and sell them as new-quality used books at nearly full price. They have books for years to come while sales of the new edition slump.

    As a result, textbook editors find that their sales are much below what they should be. Their textbook can be required for a class of 150 students and they'll be lucky to sell three copies. This is not the oil industry, that's making record profits quarter after quarter while still raising their prices to gouge on customers and demanding tax breaks and bailout money from the government. This is an industry that is genuinely struggling right now.

    I don't know about other schools, but every professor I had always "required" the newest edition, and that's all our bookstore would stock. The student bookstore couldn't/wouldn't guarantee enough used copies of the old edition for every student, so every time a new edition came out that meant students holding the old edition got fucked...assuming they didn't want to keep them. The only books I sold back, of course, were those from my gen-eds; engineering majors tend to keep all their books.

    Our bookstore was pretty demanding on their book buyback, though, so publishers were still always guaranteed a fairly steady stream of new books sales regardless. Any marking, highlighting, or excessive wear and tear and they'd reject it...they really did want their used copies to look pretty new. That, and new faculty would often choose new books to teach from. So even with the student bookstore acting as a hub for used sales, it's not like they'd never sell a book again without resorting to shenanigans.

    Shenanigans, you ask? Yes, when the only fucking thing you change in the new edition is the homework problems, that's fucking shenanigans. Giving away a "free" logon for the online course content (that the professor requires) with a new copy and charging as much as the new book if you want to buy it separately? That's shenanigans.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote:
    mcdermott wrote:
    I'll point out again that at least at my university, students in the hard science and engineering programs did pay a premium on their tuition. Hundreds of dollars a semester. And I'll agree that it's not nearly as clear which direction that subsidy runs as some want to make it sound.

    Kind of interesting how it works at some other institutions. I don't really follow it that much anymore, but it seems like the lion's share of the funding at the undergraduate institution I attended is going to the business school nowadays. The science department is the same size it was when I matriculated, but the business school has been rebuilt twice in the same period of time and occupies twice as much space on campus. Apparently business schoolers donate money back to the university at a higher rate than humanities or physical science students, so the university keeps dumping funding into growing that department so they have a larger pool of reliable donors. So the physical sciences are neither the biggest line item in the budget, nor are those students required to pay any additional premium.

    I sort of wish they did it the way they did at your school, though. I would donate money to that sort of institution, but since they've decided to turn my university into a trade school for corporate America and a factory for MBAs, I've come to trash their monthly solicitation letters.

    Yeah, my school was engineering-heavy. IIRC, like a third of the students were in the engineering programs. That, architecture, and media-theatre arts were their flagship programs, really.

    I'm glad to see this thread didnt become an echo chamber of "heh get rid of that humanities nonsense heh."

    We're generally pretty good about that around here. I mean, even a lot of the tech-oriented guys like me at least see the benefit of humanities programs. Though yeah, I'm always going to question the wisdom of spending $texas on a degree in art history, particularly from a private school. If you have no real prospect of "using" that degree, it may be wise to consider a different path and pursue that knowledge (which obviously you enjoy) by auditing courses or, you know, getting a library card.

    But if you an afford it, and truly enjoy it, go for it.

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote:
    Richy wrote:
    Books! Why does a textbook cost $Texas?
    Welcome to the world of textbook pricing, where, it would seem, the usual market forces don't apply. The textbook market in no way resembles the trade book market, in which the same person - the consumer - desires the book (the new War and Peace, the latest diet guide or whatever), acquires it, and pays for it, so that price points and competition are crucial. What the textbook market resembles most is the market for health care, in which one entity (the physician/the professor) desires - that is, assigns or prescribes - the product, a second entity (the patient/the student) consumes it, and a third set of entities (insurance companies/parents) foot the bill. Spiraling prices for textbooks, like spiraling medical costs, seem to be the inevitable result. A General Accounting Office report in 2005 noted that textbook prices rose 186 percent in the U.S. from 1986 to 2004, compared to only a 3 percent rise in other prices over the same period and a 7 percent rise in average college tuition and fees. The seemingly out-of-control price increases have prompted laws in six states and pending bills in at least four others - plus a measure passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 7 - that aim to regulate the way in which textbooks are marketed so as to lower costs to students.

    In other words, the invisible hand of the Free Market is busy sticking its fingers in the urethras of people who need to spend money (for school) to make money (to get a degree for a job).

    I felt I should talk about this. While university textbook prices are climbing, textbook editors are not rolling in dough. Quite the opposite, in fact, their profits have been going down. Why? Two reasons: photocopying and used bookstores.

    One key difference between reading a textbook and reading a regular book is that in the textbook case, you're surrounded by people reading the same textbook as you. It's easy for someone to borrow the textbook and make a bad but readable photocopy. And it's impossible for textbook companies to compete with the price of 5¢ per two-page and free labour. It's not legal, but when has that ever stopped anyone?

    The second difference is used bookstores. And I don't mean students selling their books to other students, I mean campus stores. A growing number of them are genuine businesses. Ever wondered how they seem to have shelves full of copies of the same textbook in new condition? Well, they figured out that when a new edition of a textbook comes out, they can buy up all the copies of the old edition for cheap and sell them as new-quality used books at nearly full price. They have books for years to come while sales of the new edition slump.

    As a result, textbook editors find that their sales are much below what they should be. Their textbook can be required for a class of 150 students and they'll be lucky to sell three copies. This is not the oil industry, that's making record profits quarter after quarter while still raising their prices to gouge on customers and demanding tax breaks and bailout money from the government. This is an industry that is genuinely struggling right now.

    I don't know about other schools, but every professor I had always "required" the newest edition, and that's all our bookstore would stock. The student bookstore couldn't/wouldn't guarantee enough used copies of the old edition for every student, so every time a new edition came out that meant students holding the old edition got fucked...assuming they didn't want to keep them. The only books I sold back, of course, were those from my gen-eds; engineering majors tend to keep all their books.

    Our bookstore was pretty demanding on their book buyback, though, so publishers were still always guaranteed a fairly steady stream of new books sales regardless. Any marking, highlighting, or excessive wear and tear and they'd reject it...they really did want their used copies to look pretty new. That, and new faculty would often choose new books to teach from. So even with the student bookstore acting as a hub for used sales, it's not like they'd never sell a book again without resorting to shenanigans.

    Shenanigans, you ask? Yes, when the only fucking thing you change in the new edition is the homework problems, that's fucking shenanigans. Giving away a "free" logon for the online course content (that the professor requires) with a new copy and charging as much as the new book if you want to buy it separately? That's shenanigans.

    That depends on the prof. Changing textbooks (even if only for a newer edition) requires updating the course material. Some profs don't have time to do it (or just don't care enough, let's be honest) and keep using the older edition. And some students (like you) realize that in some cases the changes between editions are minimal, and buy the older edition even though the newer one is required, figuring they can photocopy the few pages that are different from someone else.

    sig.gif
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Richy wrote:
    That depends on the prof. Changing textbooks (even if only for a newer edition) requires updating the course material. Some profs don't have time to do it (or just don't care enough, let's be honest) and keep using the older edition. And some students (like you) realize that in some cases the changes between editions are minimal, and buy the older edition even though the newer one is required, figuring they can photocopy the few pages that are different from someone else.

    I think this may have been somewhat unique to my school; our student bookstore simply would not stock the older edition, period. So if a professor wanted to use an old edition, he'd be forcing his students to search for their books online, and hope they can find them. There may even have been a school policy to only utilize texts that the student bookstore would stock, I don't know, because I've never heard of a professor using an old edition or a text not stocked by the store.

    Of course, our campus bookstore was also a joint venture between student organizations and the school, and was a legitimately non-profit operation...100% of "profits" realized were rolled back into discounts on books, such that it was nearly impossible to find cheaper prices on new textbooks than you'd get there (Amazon was often 10%-20% more, as were most online vendors). It was to a point where few people even bothered to shop outside the student bookstore; there was no local competition, and on used books you could beat their prices online but it'd be a beat-up copy that you'd be unable to sell back (a considerable risk if, say, you might consider dropping the course later).


    EDIT: The one time I got hit with a new edition of a book I already owned (it was used for multiple courses, I had bought it before my deployment) the prof was nice enough to let me use his spare copy for the homework problems, which were the only substantial change. Super-cool dude.

    mcdermott on
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    SammyF wrote:
    mcdermott wrote:
    I'll point out again that at least at my university, students in the hard science and engineering programs did pay a premium on their tuition. Hundreds of dollars a semester. And I'll agree that it's not nearly as clear which direction that subsidy runs as some want to make it sound.

    Kind of interesting how it works at some other institutions. I don't really follow it that much anymore, but it seems like the lion's share of the funding at the undergraduate institution I attended is going to the business school nowadays. The science department is the same size it was when I matriculated, but the business school has been rebuilt twice in the same period of time and occupies twice as much space on campus. Apparently business schoolers donate money back to the university at a higher rate than humanities or physical science students, so the university keeps dumping funding into growing that department so they have a larger pool of reliable donors. So the physical sciences are neither the biggest line item in the budget, nor are those students required to pay any additional premium.

    I sort of wish they did it the way they did at your school, though. I would donate money to that sort of institution, but since they've decided to turn my university into a trade school for corporate America and a factory for MBAs, I've come to trash their monthly solicitation letters.

    People also pay the lab fees at my school, but I heavily doubt that those additional fees cover the whole extra cost of the facilities.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote:
    Richy wrote:
    That depends on the prof. Changing textbooks (even if only for a newer edition) requires updating the course material. Some profs don't have time to do it (or just don't care enough, let's be honest) and keep using the older edition. And some students (like you) realize that in some cases the changes between editions are minimal, and buy the older edition even though the newer one is required, figuring they can photocopy the few pages that are different from someone else.

    I think this may have been somewhat unique to my school; our student bookstore simply would not stock the older edition, period. So if a professor wanted to use an old edition, he'd be forcing his students to search for their books online, and hope they can find them. There may even have been a school policy to only utilize texts that the student bookstore would stock, I don't know, because I've never heard of a professor using an old edition or a text not stocked by the store.

    No, your experience sounds exactly like any I've had or heard about at any Canadian University.

    Classes always use the latest edition, the bookstore only stocks previous editions as "Remainders" or what have you they haven't sold off yet and changes between editions are minimal, most of it being correcting errors and switching around question numbers to make you buy the new book.

    Also, I don't know what classes Richy was taking, but I've never seen a textbook change that requires any major modification of course material. Not over and above the modifications that ends up happening between classes anyway.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Bagginses wrote:
    SammyF wrote:
    mcdermott wrote:
    I'll point out again that at least at my university, students in the hard science and engineering programs did pay a premium on their tuition. Hundreds of dollars a semester. And I'll agree that it's not nearly as clear which direction that subsidy runs as some want to make it sound.

    Kind of interesting how it works at some other institutions. I don't really follow it that much anymore, but it seems like the lion's share of the funding at the undergraduate institution I attended is going to the business school nowadays. The science department is the same size it was when I matriculated, but the business school has been rebuilt twice in the same period of time and occupies twice as much space on campus. Apparently business schoolers donate money back to the university at a higher rate than humanities or physical science students, so the university keeps dumping funding into growing that department so they have a larger pool of reliable donors. So the physical sciences are neither the biggest line item in the budget, nor are those students required to pay any additional premium.

    I sort of wish they did it the way they did at your school, though. I would donate money to that sort of institution, but since they've decided to turn my university into a trade school for corporate America and a factory for MBAs, I've come to trash their monthly solicitation letters.

    People also pay the lab fees at my school, but I heavily doubt that those additional fees cover the whole extra cost of the facilities.

    I don't know, though. Figure several hundred per student, times every student, year after year...and a lot of that equipment doesn't exactly need to be replaced yearly. In the EE program, I routinely used equipment that runs thousands of dollars a pop. But the lab might only have like eight or ten of each thing (usually working in groups of two or three during actual lab meetings), and most of that stuff was at least five to ten years old. The less commonly something was used, or the more it cost, the older it got (the equipment in our power and motor lab was ridiculously old, because it's only used for a single required course). So if you've got like ten people using a station (easy, they're used for more than one class, generally), paying a couple hundred bucks apiece, that's a couple thousand dollars...every semester, year after year.

    As far as building space goes, our lab rooms only sat empty marginally more often than the average small-group classroom that the humanities classes used for their small-group discussion meetings. Again, in my EE program we had four main labs, and those things were generally packed all day Tuesday and Thursday, class after class, and then used for classes part of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as well.

    EDIT: And since you can't look at it per-lab, because the equipment is used by multiple classes by the fee only paid once per student, I'll look at it another way. My program started out with a couple/few hundred students for each freshman class (so maybe $40K brought in), and winds down to about 50 that actually finish (20 down to about $10K). So figure somewhere around $40K+$30K+$10K+$10K (freshmen through seniors, forgetting that many take five years to finish), or upwards of $100K brought in every semester for equipment. Because faculty, buildings, all that shit's "normal" expense.

    mcdermott on
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Mortius is correct Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Speaking as an English major, let me tell you how annoying it was having to buy different textbooks every year. There was one book that I bought like 3 versions of. Why? Because each new edition added in some extra commentary, discussion, and/or research that had been done and published over the last year, which was considered vital to the course.

    Of course it wasn't unless you were really interested in the exact foods that Shakespeare had eaten while writing his Sonnets, but the point was, the books changed due to ever changing opinions, and research that were put in them. Which then changed the page numbers. And considering that these books were about 7 inches thick and written on bible paper.... heavy and annoying. And expensive.

    Selling back books was easy though. My Uni did it on a demand basis. In other words, if you took a popular course (or a gen req like Intro to Psychology) and you took your book back early (a week before exams) then you got the highest price for the by back (bought the book for $50, sell it back for $15 if you're lucky). The longer you waited to sell your books back, the less money you got back. And if you got stuck with a course that nobody but the 6 of you took or were ever going to take ( Restoration Drama, a Look at the Stage Arts of Post Cromwell England) then you were screwed. They might take the book for like $2.50, if you wanted to sell it back.

    But like most people I knew, the textbooks I got for my major, I never sold back. And a few books for my required classes. Like my Intro to religion class. I kept those textbooks cause they were interesting. And my Intro to Cultural Anthropology (sounds like a fascinating class. It was! Until they got into the scientific models and things).

    I went to school to take Pharmacy. I had done well in high school sciences (chemistry, Biology, A&P) and I figured I could do this. Plus the career was in demand, I'd be out of school in 6 years with a Doctorate and be making $60-80k/year. heheheh. WRONG. As it turns out, I'm one of those people that just aren't cut out for Science and Math. After miserably failing my mathematics entrance exam (yes, you can fail those) I was put into a Pass/Fail Algebra class (tell me that's not embarrassing and I'll punch you in the face), while everybody else in the Pharmacy program was taking Calculus 1. As for the sciences? Please I failed everything so miserably that the only grade I got on my GPA was for my Chemistry lab. I got a C. So my first semester of trying to be a science major, I had a GPA of 0.8.

    I quickly decided to flee from the Sciences and take English, a major that I knew was 'safe' for me and I could get a degree. Did I take the wrong approach to getting a degree in school? Possibly. Did I challenge myself? Yes. Did I learn valuable things like critical thinking and reading skills? Definitely. Am I doing work that reflects the degree that I fought so goddamned hard to get? Nope. I'm currently doing a temporary position at a call center. And this is my first job after having received my degree (long story, but there was some time when i wasn't in school and hadn't finished my degree, but I finished it now).

    Going to College/University wasn't even a question for me. My parents had saved money since before I was born. I was going to Uni. I would graduate Uni. And then figure out the rest from there. Am I going to go back and get a Masters? I have no idea. I play with the thought, but I don't know what I would study. Or if the Universities down here in New Zealand will take my US Degree and not make me take some undergrad classes first.

    and now, I think i'm rambling.

  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    My first degree was in computer engineering, which were painfully priced books that went to the next edition every year. They generally included some form of authentication that you had to put online in order to get some coursework credit. Basically, not only could you not by used books, you had to buy new books of a consistently new edition that consistently resulted in people spending money on the wrong book.

    Now I'm in finance and accounting for my second degree, and one of the required management classes I'm taking requires you to buy the book, which was written by the professor for 5% of the grade.

    One of our issues here in Florida is that we had some called Florida Bright Futures. It used to be that if you had above a 3.5 GPA, above a 1200 (I think) SAT score, and some amount of community service hours, the state would pay 100% of your tuition as well as a book stipend. If you had above a 3.0 and above a 1000 SAT (once again, I think, it was 6 years ago) the state would pay 75% of your tuition. A couple years back, it was getting costly, so they downgraded the benefit (though it still is fairly substantial.) One of the main issues here at University of Florida was the liberal arts programs wanted/needed more money (since the College of liberal arts and sciences doesn't pay for itself like engineering, business, sciences and so on.) University of Florida admission requirements are essentially above the full tuition scholarship from the state, so a lot of the students weren't paying anything for their tuition, and basically just said, well, raise tuition rates. We aren't paying for it anyway. This was going on at a lot of other schools in the state as well since there was, essentially, a higher education bubble from all this money the state was making during the boom that was bursting. So the state of Florida cut benefits to this scholarship, and all of the sudden, the liberal arts program kind of turned on itself as students were now railing against the tuition hike that they just lobbied for. Money losing departments basically were competing with each other. It was just a huge mess.

    I'm a big fan of vocational and trade schools being incorporated on the high school level similar to what schools in Europe commonly do, but I saw a lot of students that lacked a serious attitude towards school because they weren't paying the bills, and went through college without brushing against the kind of rigor we had in the engineering program. The business classes I'm taking now seem like summer camp by comparison. Honestly, I think the problems in US education need to start the elementary, middle, and high school level before we should approach University problems.

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  • CptKemzikCptKemzik Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    The thing to keep in mind about considering graduate school, is that if you didn't develop a real rapport with some professors (i.e. they can say something about you other than "this dude took some classes of mine and did well,") who will write your recommendation letters there isn't even a snowball's chance in hell you will get accepted into desirable programs. I have been hashing out grad school plans with my professors since junior year, have a clear idea of what fields to apply for (history related), am taking a gap year (fortunately with a job lined up, which isn't lucrative, but will build up my resume and net me a federal grant upon completion) to really mull things over and I'm STILL not 100% positive on where to definitely plunk down the time and money to send applications to; and all of the schools on my list I have a substantial interest in.

    Graduate school is not something you should really be considering if you "don't know what to study" unless you have an incredible professional talent in several fields. It is not a thing you should be applying to because your grades were fine enough and you have a tough time getting work at the moment, so why the hell not get another degree? If you are in that situation and there are grad programs who will even accept you (and chances are the crappier ones probably will), you are barely going to get any funding (if at all), and if you don't drop out of it you will graduate with debt and an advanced degree that you don't even know how to properly utilize.

    Not that I'm intending to rain on anyone's parade in particular, or that the ONLY way to get into grad school requires knowing everything while still in undergrad, but if you're really, honestly, considering it you need to get in touch with professors *now* and get the ball rolling slowly but surely to build up applications that will actually be worth a damn. Grad school ain't a thing you can apply to "just because" like you can with undergrad.

    CptKemzik on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    devCharles wrote:
    I'm a big fan of vocational and trade schools being incorporated on the high school level similar to what schools in Europe commonly do, but I saw a lot of students that lacked a serious attitude towards school because they weren't paying the bills, and went through college without brushing against the kind of rigor we had in the engineering program. The business classes I'm taking now seem like summer camp by comparison. Honestly, I think the problems in US education need to start the elementary, middle, and high school level before we should approach University problems.

    Several of the European students I talked to who had spent time in school back home basically said the same. A lot of European countries are awesome, because they will basically pay a full ride for their people to head off to college. But, on the other hand, this means you get a lot of kids studying underwater basketweaving without having to worry about paying the bills (or having their parents pay the bills). They get weeded out eventually, just like they do here, but it means your lower-level classes are even more of a mess than at American universities.

    At least, if the folks I was talking to were to be believed.

  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Mortius is correct Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    See my high school had some trade school things with it, and we also had 2 high schools in the area that were nothing but VoTech schools. But, the thing to keep in mind was that I graduated high school in 1999, so I was already into secondary ed by the time Bush and that stupid NCLB happened.

    Which is also the problem for me thinking about grad school, my professors that I loved and adored all had me like, almost 8 or so years ago. And the only one that I know I can count on for a glowing recommendation is also the only professor that wasn't in my field (my theatre Prof).

    University for me was expensive. I went to a near-Ivy league school, was an out-of-state student living on one of the commuter campuses (also the home of the law school), and I was there almost year round. I think I went home for maybe 1 summer? and even that was just a month. I was in school pretty much constantly (mostly to recover from that abysmal first semester).


    Living down here in New zealand now, I look at some of the education and Universities around me and I wonder about it all. My boyfriend and his friends are all at the very least masters degrees, if not higher, and all in a solid math/science/engineering area. But from what I can tell, that was how the primary education that they took was geared. Generic History courses were not something that was taught unless you wanted to take those classes. My boyfriend is brilliant, completely and totally brilliant, but does not necessarily know much about history (for example, i was watching an episode of The Tudors and had to briefly explain who everybody was and why it mattered). In American education's views his education is incomplete. But, He's got his doctorate and a great paying job and he's bloody brilliant. It's been interesting to see the different priorities, I guess is what I'm saying.

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    CptKemzik wrote:
    Graduate school is not something you should really be considering if you "don't know what to study" unless you have an incredible professional talent in several fields. It is not a thing you should be applying to because your grades were fine enough and you have a tough time getting work at the moment, so why the hell not get another degree? If you are in that situation and there are grad programs who will even accept you (and chances are the crappier ones probably will), you are barely going to get any funding (if at all), and if you don't drop out of it you will graduate with debt and an advanced degree that you don't even know how to properly utilize.

    Not that I'm intending to rain on anyone's parade in particular, or that the ONLY way to get into grad school requires knowing everything while still in undergrad, but if you're really, honestly, considering it you need to get in touch with professors *now* and get the ball rolling slowly but surely to build up applications that will actually be worth a damn. Grad school ain't a thing you can apply to "just because" like you can with undergrad.

    Uh. Maybe it's just my field or my university, but as a graduate student... I'm getting paid. I'm not going into debt at all; I'm in the black, not the red.

    I'm also unsure as to why you say people shouldn't apply to grad school just because they can. If they don't... it'll just be other "marginal" people who get in. I don't understand the paradigm you're operating under: the number of graduate student positions is largely irrespective of the number of applicants. It's really not as though the quality of graduate students will increase or somehow our society will benefit if fewer people apply.

    There are a great many factors that influence whether someone "should" go to graduate school or not. I don't understand how you're making these broad sweeping statements and to what end.

    hippofant on
  • BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    CptKemzik wrote:
    The most immediate solution I think? Putting a muzzle on blood-sucking executive administrators who develop these byzantine layers of presidents, vice presidents, vice-vice presidents, assistant vice-vice presidents etc. who don't seem to have any tangible purpose to universities other than the fact that they are somehow there and find ways to make their paychecks bigger while cutting out faculty, staff, and other resources. Of course given the power that these people hold that is probably easier said than done.

    That's not happening.

    Schools aren't hiring an ever-growing army of senior management. Most growth is "administration" has been in staff that directly serves student needs, like IT and financial aid staff.

    We expect universities to provide students with a lot more services than we used to. Of course prices are going to go up. Schools could easily lower tuition by getting rid of school-provided internet/email services, counseling services, legal services, disability services, etc. These are all services that have not traditionally been part of the student-university relationship, but which schools face a demand - either from the law or from the consumer/student - to provide today.
    The analysis by the State Higher Education Executive Officers shows that over the last decade, the biggest staffing growth actually came in areas like faculty, graduate assistants and academic support and student services. And while staffs grew, they did not keep pace with rapidly expanding enrollments, suggesting that institutions were striving to become more efficient.
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/05/26/sheeo_report_shows_public_college_staffing_trends_over_past_decade

    Link to the SHEEO study
    http://www.sheeo.org/pubs/Fall_Staffing-Final05-24-2011.pdf

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    BubbaT wrote:
    CptKemzik wrote:
    The most immediate solution I think? Putting a muzzle on blood-sucking executive administrators who develop these byzantine layers of presidents, vice presidents, vice-vice presidents, assistant vice-vice presidents etc. who don't seem to have any tangible purpose to universities other than the fact that they are somehow there and find ways to make their paychecks bigger while cutting out faculty, staff, and other resources. Of course given the power that these people hold that is probably easier said than done.

    That's not happening.

    Schools aren't hiring an ever-growing army of senior management. Most growth is "administration" has been in staff that directly serves student needs, like IT and financial aid staff.

    We expect universities to provide students with a lot more services than we used to. Of course prices are going to go up. Schools could easily lower tuition by getting rid of school-provided internet/email services, counseling services, legal services, disability services, etc. These are all services that have not traditionally been part of the student-university relationship, but which schools face a demand - either from the law or from the consumer/student - to provide today.
    The analysis by the State Higher Education Executive Officers shows that over the last decade, the biggest staffing growth actually came in areas like faculty, graduate assistants and academic support and student services. And while staffs grew, they did not keep pace with rapidly expanding enrollments, suggesting that institutions were striving to become more efficient.
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/05/26/sheeo_report_shows_public_college_staffing_trends_over_past_decade

    Link to the SHEEO study
    http://www.sheeo.org/pubs/Fall_Staffing-Final05-24-2011.pdf

    Also, some research seems to show that real tuitions aren't growing, as scholarships are eating up almost all of the headline tuition growth.

  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    I have a lot to contribute to this thread, but I am going to need to be at least slightly careful with what I say, because I still rely on various textbook publishers a lot of the time. I am going to attempt to keep things in the abstract and not cite specific examples, locations, etc... I am happy to answer questions about the relationship between professors and textbook publishers, by the way, since it's a side of the educational process that few people get to see, and there's a lot of questions to be asked. However, don't be super offended if it's something I simply can't say due to the sensitive nature of this stuff and the necessity of preserving a working relationship with publishers and all that other stupid stuff people shouldn't have to worry about.

    A number of years ago, I was teaching at a community/county public college. One of the two year types of places that you can probably find a million campuses for if you look in the local yellow pages or talk to the kids who don't go on to four year universities because they want to kick it old school in their home town for a few years. As far as two year colleges go, this was one of the good ones, and I was lucky to get a job there. The students are about what is to be expected, a decent mixture of capable but lazy or capable and scared to go to a four year university and kids who were forced to attend because of social/parental pressure and just wanted to get the fuck out. I'm only mentioning this to emphasize that this is pretty close to what the vast majority of community/county colleges are like in the United States. (I've also taught at a community/county college in one of the poorest/most violent areas of the country, but that's a story for another time.)

    I hadn't worked there for very long when the department I was in started getting memos and notices about textbook selection and choosing a standardized list of textbooks for entry level courses. Prior to this, instructors were allowed to assign pretty much whatever they wanted as long as it was appropriate to the curriculum, which was really cool because it meant I could use stuff like Fight Club and David Sedaris's essays, both of which first year students tend to respond well to. We got a notice that there was a committee to determine which books would be appropriate, and in following semesters instructors would be required to choose from the list, which would apparently be updated periodically to correspond with newer editions/changes in pedagogy/etc... I didn't think much of it, and I mostly counted myself lucky that I had been able to do my own thing for so long, and I knew that it wouldn't much matter anyway as I would be able to supplement whatever textbook was chosen with my own readings via handout or online readings.

    Eventually, we got a list of acceptable textbooks for the class, which included readings for each section of the classes we taught as well as other guides and books that were thought to be useful. It ended up being a fairly bland selection of stuff, but I wasn't super worried, since I honestly believe a good, creative instructor can make due with almost anything, particularly since it's easy (though illegal) to make copies and distribute certain stuff that students may not receive otherwise. I did notice, however, that all of the acceptable texts came from two publishers, and, upon further investigation, the two publishers were owned by the same parent company. This was a while back, so I'm not sure if there have been recent acquisitions, but it was a fairly startling discovery.

    It was also around this time that I begin receiving numerous e-mails from textbook representatives for the companies that provided the textbooks for the school. In addition to notices about new texts available, I received a ton of information about how great the online component to "Text X" is or why my students should totally sign up for a web based version of "Text Y." (After all, it's only an extra $15 to access the book online! And it's only $20 if you want access to the practice tests!) I ignored the bulk of the mass correspondence, but I was eventually getting e-mails from a book rep asking me if I needed any evaluation copies. (I should note, here, that this is not sketchy, and it's pretty much always worked this way. Your teachers have never paid for their books if they're using a textbook from a big publisher and not a novel or something. [And, even then, we can get those for free if we try hard enough.]) I told them I was cool with what I was using and hoped that would be the end of it. It wasn't; I eventually had to answer a lot of questions as to whether or not my students were using the online components and all of the other stuff they were upselling on top of already expensive books.

    I also wasn't alone; other teachers who had similar feelings about the role of capitalism in education (hint: there should be one as far as I'm concerned), were also receiving e-mails. The department and the college never explicitly condoned these practices, but I never felt super comfortable bringing up issues with the texts or anything, as it was fairly clear the recent deal with the publishers guaranteed a lot of money for the college in general and, more specifically, an underfunded department that was definitely hurting for money. Our department was very well taken care of, and I remember going to the office and finding catered lunches, free books, and a lot of other cool shit. We also had book reps come by the office and allow us to sell back our (free) evaluation copies for about $20 a pop. Not a bad deal when I usually just put mine in a drawer or on a shelf and forgot about them unless I chose to use that text, and, I only chose one out of a stack of sometimes nine or ten. (This is also a fairly standard practice in other departments and in other places, but it's usually books from a variety of publishers as opposed to the relative monopoly I had to deal with.)

    All of the "acceptable" books were between 30 and 80 dollars a piece, and some of the books required online fees (which was a separate charge in some, but not all, cases). All of the textbooks had some fairly big issues, and, more than once, I had to correct the textbook in class and waste everyone's time explaining why the textbook drew a certain conclusion and why that conclusion was flawed. I ended up going with the cheapest book and supplementing the text with my own readings and handouts. Come to find out, I was not the only person doing this, and that book was removed the following semester. Another big problem here, however, is that a lot of instructors are just straight up not resourceful or tech-savvy. It's particularly bad with older instructors that have been there forever and have never used Youtube in their entire lives, but I see it with younger teachers too who are clueless that they can use current events and media in class to great effect. There is a lot of easily accessed free content out there, but it doesn't help anyone if the instructor doesn't know how to access and use it in the classroom effectively, and, well, a lot of people aren't super sensitive to the needs of students to not spend $90 on a book they will be lucky to be able to resell for $15 if they can even resell it at all. I have found that this is not true of most of the folks I have interacted with, but I've certainly seen people take the line that "college is supposed to cost money and students who are unwilling to pay shouldn't be here." Again, it's not something that's super common in my experience, but it's out there enough that it reifies some of the shittier behavior from publishers.

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  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    The wife of the head of Aramark is on my school's board of trustees. Guess what company holds the contract for food services.

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Bagginses wrote:
    BubbaT wrote:
    CptKemzik wrote:
    The most immediate solution I think? Putting a muzzle on blood-sucking executive administrators who develop these byzantine layers of presidents, vice presidents, vice-vice presidents, assistant vice-vice presidents etc. who don't seem to have any tangible purpose to universities other than the fact that they are somehow there and find ways to make their paychecks bigger while cutting out faculty, staff, and other resources. Of course given the power that these people hold that is probably easier said than done.

    That's not happening.

    Schools aren't hiring an ever-growing army of senior management. Most growth is "administration" has been in staff that directly serves student needs, like IT and financial aid staff.

    We expect universities to provide students with a lot more services than we used to. Of course prices are going to go up. Schools could easily lower tuition by getting rid of school-provided internet/email services, counseling services, legal services, disability services, etc. These are all services that have not traditionally been part of the student-university relationship, but which schools face a demand - either from the law or from the consumer/student - to provide today.
    The analysis by the State Higher Education Executive Officers shows that over the last decade, the biggest staffing growth actually came in areas like faculty, graduate assistants and academic support and student services. And while staffs grew, they did not keep pace with rapidly expanding enrollments, suggesting that institutions were striving to become more efficient.
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/05/26/sheeo_report_shows_public_college_staffing_trends_over_past_decade

    Link to the SHEEO study
    http://www.sheeo.org/pubs/Fall_Staffing-Final05-24-2011.pdf

    Also, some research seems to show that real tuitions aren't growing, as scholarships are eating up almost all of the headline tuition growth.

    My response to these points (not that I necessarily disagree with you, Baginnses, just that I think there are caveats):

    1. Senior management at a university, even if they're not expanding, are quite capable of fucking things up already. I could regale you with tales, as my mother has been an administrative assistant at a university for over two decades - like how the Engineering faculty once looked at the administrative staff of each department, noticed that Industrial Engineering had THREE administrators whereas everybody else had TWO, and then promptly demanded the department let one go, never mind investigating why they had three or whether they were doing a better job - but I would suggest you just go make friends with some low-level administrators at your university and ask them for some stories. Like how the entire five-person staff responsible for overseeing the scholarship applications at my university basically all quit at the same time. Or like how my university decided that all our federal scholarship applications would be submitted online... and then PRINTED OUT at a central office and delivered, by hand, to each department en masse... (There are about 17 000 graduate students here.)

    That is to say, I would not underestimate the amount of bureaucratic nonsense that occurs at a university. I would suspect it to be much higher than those of governments, due to the absence of transparency or political pressure. I do wonder why our department chairs are selected from our professors, rather than hired full-time on the basis of their effectiveness as administrators and business managers. Especially when no professors want to do it, such that the burden of chairing passes from group to group. Is that how it's done everywhere?


    2. The value of scholarships might be growing alongside tuition growth, but the scholarship money is likely not being distributed in the same way that the tuition burden is. There's no guarantee that scholarships are going to students in need, and in fact, one imagines scholarships are likely skewed towards people who don't need scholarships (based on the correlation between socioeconomic status and academic performance). Furthermore, increasing one student's scholarship from $5000 to $10000 doesn't adequately compensate for increasing 50 students' tuitions by $100 each.

    I'm not sure about the United States, but in Canada, our federal government's recently adopted a stance of dividing the funding pie differently, sending more money to fewer people. (As well as shrinking the overall size of the pie.)

    hippofant on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote:
    That is to say, I would not underestimate the amount of bureaucratic nonsense that occurs at a university. I would suspect it to be much higher than those of governments, due to the absence of transparency or political pressure. I do wonder why our department chairs are selected from our professors, rather than hired full-time on the basis of their effectiveness as administrators and business managers. Especially when no professors want to do it, such that the burden of chairing passes from group to group. Is that how it's done everywhere?

    That's my experience. In sciences and such anyway. Administration is a punishment that is moved around among the professors because no one wants it.

  • PopeTiberiiPopeTiberii Registered User
    shryke wrote:
    hippofant wrote:
    That is to say, I would not underestimate the amount of bureaucratic nonsense that occurs at a university. I would suspect it to be much higher than those of governments, due to the absence of transparency or political pressure. I do wonder why our department chairs are selected from our professors, rather than hired full-time on the basis of their effectiveness as administrators and business managers. Especially when no professors want to do it, such that the burden of chairing passes from group to group. Is that how it's done everywhere?

    That's my experience. In sciences and such anyway. Administration is a punishment that is moved around among the professors because no one wants it.

    At my university, there seems to be a mix of approaches to the chair. In some departments, the chair is chosen from the faculty as you indicate, though they usually stay as the chair for quite a long time before stepping down (unless they're doing really poorly and are asked to step aside). There are other departments, however, where the chair is hired from outside the university. One who has a good deal of knowledge and experience in running large departments or independent business units in some related field. From my own observation, the latter group is better at dealing with the running of the departments and budgets and whatnot, while the former is better at dealing with issues of an academic nature or working directly with students and on the various committees.

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  • Muse Among MenMuse Among Men Suburban Bunny Princess? Its time for a new shtick Registered User regular
    These threads are just infinitely depressing, especially as I will begin attending college this September. And I'm not heading into math or science either. I am heading in somewhat begrudgingly.

  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    Man, this is the age of the freaking internets.

    Do you know how to influence a non-influencable market? You don't. You buy the books that's 4 editions old because, fuck, nothing changed in introductory Chemistry in the last 10 years. I never spend more then $20 on a textbook. Not once had I ever been affected negatively for not having the newest and shiniest textbook.

    Also, people complaining about how expensive labs are, I hate to break it for you but all those labs are paid for by grants that most professors spend the majority of their time begging for. I know professors who stay awake till 3 in the morning writing grant proposals. Also, those grad students who get those lovely $60k research grants? 50% of that goes directly into the school to pay for overhead, no questions.

    Do you know where all that tuition money really goes into? You see that fancy ass rec center? That fancy ass stadium? That fancy ass climbing wall? Yeah....nobody spend time writing grants for those items.

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Also, people complaining about how expensive labs are, I hate to break it for you but all those labs are paid for by grants that most professors spend the majority of their time begging for. I know professors who stay awake till 3 in the morning writing grant proposals. Also, those grad students who get those lovely $60k research grants? 50% of that goes directly into the school to pay for overhead, no questions.

    I think at least some of them are talking about undergraduate labs for work, not research labs. And only 50%? 'round here, universities claw back like 90% of a grant. You win a $10 000 grant, you end up with like an extra $1000 on top of your research/TA pay.

    That's probably why our graduate student societies always have too much money. My friend's department? They have a pool table, a foosball table, and a Wii.

    hippofant on
  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote:
    Also, people complaining about how expensive labs are, I hate to break it for you but all those labs are paid for by grants that most professors spend the majority of their time begging for. I know professors who stay awake till 3 in the morning writing grant proposals. Also, those grad students who get those lovely $60k research grants? 50% of that goes directly into the school to pay for overhead, no questions.

    I think at least some of them are talking about undergraduate labs for work, not research labs. And only 50%? 'round here, universities claw back like 90% of a grant. You win a $10 000 grant, you end up with like an extra $1000 on top of your research/TA pay.

    By 'overhead' I mean they're taking 50% of your grant just to pay the utilities. You're lucky if you end up with $1000 for fucking equipment. I was using glassware that was dropped and broken multiple times because that $5 beaker is mighty freaking expensive when you have to spend $200 a gram chemicals.

  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    These threads are just infinitely depressing, especially as I will begin attending college this September. And I'm not heading into math or science either. I am heading in somewhat begrudgingly.

    Work hard, get good grades, and network well. You can't make your life perfect by doing well but you can throw up huge roadblocks if you fuck up, particularly if you plan on going to graduate school. I have to tell some students with low GPAs that graduate programs will likely filter out their applications.

    Use your time to find out what you love to do and then do it well. Read and write as much as you can. Explore various disciplines and talk to everyone. Sleep (seriously). Eat well. Get help when you need it. Read and write some more. Show up for things, just to see what they're like. Be curious and compassionate and kind.

    Lastly, read and write even more. Nothing, and I mean nothing, builds your cognitive ability and knowledge base more than reading and writing.

  • SavdecSavdec Registered User
    edited July 2011
    sanstodo wrote:
    These threads are just infinitely depressing, especially as I will begin attending college this September. And I'm not heading into math or science either. I am heading in somewhat begrudgingly.

    Work hard, get good grades, and network well. You can't make your life perfect by doing well but you can throw up huge roadblocks if you fuck up, particularly if you plan on going to graduate school. I have to tell some students with low GPAs that graduate programs will likely filter out their applications.

    Use your time to find out what you love to do and then do it well. Read and write as much as you can. Explore various disciplines and talk to everyone. Sleep (seriously). Eat well. Get help when you need it. Read and write some more. Show up for things, just to see what they're like. Be curious and compassionate and kind.

    Lastly, read and write even more. Nothing, and I mean nothing, builds your cognitive ability and knowledge base more than reading and writing.

    I'm a soon to be Sophomore and not a teacher, but all of the above is true. You can be the person you want to be in college and investigate all interests in a way that the real world doesn't allow for.

    Savdec on
    NOTE TO INVADING ALIENS: Avoid this town. (Like this town avoided us.)
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Man, this is the age of the freaking internets.

    Do you know how to influence a non-influencable market? You don't. You buy the books that's 4 editions old because, fuck, nothing changed in introductory Chemistry in the last 10 years. I never spend more then $20 on a textbook. Not once had I ever been affected negatively for not having the newest and shiniest textbook.

    This does require that you do more work all semester, making sure you plan and get the homework problems from another student (or the professor). But it's doable, I've done it, I've had friends that did it. Still, it's almost worth the extra $60 or so to just not have to worry about it, to know that you can crack open your book at 1am to get tomorrow's assignment done, because you have the right book.
    Also, people complaining about how expensive labs are, I hate to break it for you but all those labs are paid for by grants that most professors spend the majority of their time begging for. I know professors who stay awake till 3 in the morning writing grant proposals. Also, those grad students who get those lovely $60k research grants? 50% of that goes directly into the school to pay for overhead, no questions.

    Do you know where all that tuition money really goes into? You see that fancy ass rec center? That fancy ass stadium? That fancy ass climbing wall? Yeah....nobody spend time writing grants for those items.

    My school was good enough to line-item all that shit for you into fees that, for the most part, covered those items. Rec center fee, intramural fee, athletics fee, lab fee, engineering program fee, computer/IT fee, building fee, activities fee, and...man, there were more. So many more. About 30% of my bill (or more) was individually listed fees. Most of which were for shit I didn't use. I'd love to not pay an intramural fee every semester so the business majors can go play flag football for free while I'm busy in the lab until it's fucking dark out. /bitterness
    I'm a soon to be Sophomore and not a teacher, but all of the above is true. You can be the person you want to be in college and investigate all interests in a way that the real world doesn't allow for.

    So true. I'd kill right now for a couple extra years in school, without a ridiculously rigid (as in, little choice) curriculum, to just...learn stuff. Talk to interesting people. That was the great part of college, really.

    mcdermott on
  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote:
    Several of the European students I talked to who had spent time in school back home basically said the same. A lot of European countries are awesome, because they will basically pay a full ride for their people to head off to college. But, on the other hand, this means you get a lot of kids studying underwater basketweaving without having to worry about paying the bills (or having their parents pay the bills). They get weeded out eventually, just like they do here, but it means your lower-level classes are even more of a mess than at American universities.

    At least, if the folks I was talking to were to be believed.

    European students have college and University though, which I'm a big fan of. Personally, I wish American High Schools were divided into IB type schools and Finnish type schools that go into Vocational or Academic studies at 16.

    In fairness, it would probably take a massive cultural change to get that to happen.

    Also, how would you get weeded out of a basketweaving type major? Those people were able to go out to clubs every single night, study the day before exams, and make Dean's list at my school.

    Residual jealousy, my old friend.

    Xbox Live: Hero Protag
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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    Man, this is the age of the freaking internets.

    Do you know how to influence a non-influencable market? You don't. You buy the books that's 4 editions old because, fuck, nothing changed in introductory Chemistry in the last 10 years. I never spend more then $20 on a textbook. Not once had I ever been affected negatively for not having the newest and shiniest textbook.

    Also, people complaining about how expensive labs are, I hate to break it for you but all those labs are paid for by grants that most professors spend the majority of their time begging for. I know professors who stay awake till 3 in the morning writing grant proposals. Also, those grad students who get those lovely $60k research grants? 50% of that goes directly into the school to pay for overhead, no questions.

    Do you know where all that tuition money really goes into? You see that fancy ass rec center? That fancy ass stadium? That fancy ass climbing wall? Yeah....nobody spend time writing grants for those items.

    I've tried that but when we get to the chapter about using data recovery tools in versions of linux that didn't exist until 3 years after my book was written, things get dicey

  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    Fuck Eric Cantor, and for the benefit of college students like me living in Michigan, fuck Governor Snyder with rusty garden tools as well.

    You want to make college easier on students? Don't raid the state college piggy bank and take a massive cut of the money because you can't balance the general budget.

    Snyder cut like twenty million dollars from the budget that usually gets divided up among the public universities here in Michigan. He then said that "any university that raised tuition in response more than 7.1% would lose even more state funding. (But increases of 7.099999999999% were A-OK!)

    This is the kind of thing that makes it harder to get people into college- and yet Snyder wonders why our state economy sucks as much as a Hoover outlet store. Guess those tax cuts didn't help as much as you said they would, huh? Jackass.

    steam_sig.png
  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    sanstodo wrote:
    These threads are just infinitely depressing, especially as I will begin attending college this September. And I'm not heading into math or science either. I am heading in somewhat begrudgingly.


    Work hard, get good grades, and network well. You can't make your life perfect by doing well but you can throw up huge roadblocks if you fuck up, particularly if you plan on going to graduate school. I have to tell some students with low GPAs that graduate programs will likely filter out their applications.

    Use your time to find out what you love to do and then do it well. Read and write as much as you can. Explore various disciplines and talk to everyone. Sleep (seriously). Eat well. Get help when you need it. Read and write some more. Show up for things, just to see what they're like. Be curious and compassionate and kind.

    Lastly, read and write even more. Nothing, and I mean nothing, builds your cognitive ability and knowledge base more than reading and writing.

    You will never have as much time in your life as you will in college. I was able to do more than an average load of classes and be involved in several productions (theatre major) at the same time. I don't even have time for my own productions right now outside of work and my home life.

    note: I do work in the industry, so its not like I'm in a creative void, but seriously, no time here to explore my own shit.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    Skoal Cat wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    These threads are just infinitely depressing, especially as I will begin attending college this September. And I'm not heading into math or science either. I am heading in somewhat begrudgingly.


    Work hard, get good grades, and network well. You can't make your life perfect by doing well but you can throw up huge roadblocks if you fuck up, particularly if you plan on going to graduate school. I have to tell some students with low GPAs that graduate programs will likely filter out their applications.

    Use your time to find out what you love to do and then do it well. Read and write as much as you can. Explore various disciplines and talk to everyone. Sleep (seriously). Eat well. Get help when you need it. Read and write some more. Show up for things, just to see what they're like. Be curious and compassionate and kind.

    Lastly, read and write even more. Nothing, and I mean nothing, builds your cognitive ability and knowledge base more than reading and writing.

    You will never have as much time in your life as you will in college. I was able to do more than an average load of classes and be involved in several productions (theatre major) at the same time. I don't even have time for my own productions right now outside of work and my home life.

    note: I do work in the industry, so its not like I'm in a creative void, but seriously, no time here to explore my own shit.

    This is assuming you're not going into engineering, if you are going into engineering then you'll never be so pressed for time as you will be in college.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    That whole idea of find what you love to do sounds like bullshit to me. Out of all the people I know, maybe one of them is doing a degree that they "love". Everyone else isn't sure what to do so they majored in or are getting a major in a job that has decent pay. It is impossible to find out what you are passionate about anyways until you actually work the job.

    533570-1.png
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Yeah, I'm going to continue to ignore how incredibly important social networking is for academic and especially post-academic success because the moment I stop doing so I'll get incredibly depressed and drop out.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    Yeah, I'm going to continue to ignore how incredibly important social networking is for academic and especially post-academic success because the moment I stop doing so I'll get incredibly depressed and drop out.

    I didn't do that, and I got a job without issue. Engineering, though, where the degree largely speaks for itself.

  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    Fizban140 wrote:
    That whole idea of find what you love to do sounds like bullshit to me. Out of all the people I know, maybe one of them is doing a degree that they "love". Everyone else isn't sure what to do so they majored in or are getting a major in a job that has decent pay. It is impossible to find out what you are passionate about anyways until you actually work the job.

    Really?

    It's utterly bizarre to me to not know exactly what I wanted to do with my life for ages, I've been getting paid to either fix computers, teach people how to use something on the computer, or research computer related problems since I was 15 (and at the moment I tutor people in MS office shit)

    guess I should stick with it then, that's gotta give me an edge in a crowded industry

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Fizban140 wrote:
    That whole idea of find what you love to do sounds like bullshit to me. Out of all the people I know, maybe one of them is doing a degree that they "love". Everyone else isn't sure what to do so they majored in or are getting a major in a job that has decent pay. It is impossible to find out what you are passionate about anyways until you actually work the job.

    Really?

    It's utterly bizarre to me to not know exactly what I wanted to do with my life for ages, I've been getting paid to either fix computers, teach people how to use something on the computer, or research computer related problems since I was 15 (and at the moment I tutor people in MS office shit)

    guess I should stick with it then, that's gotta give me an edge in a crowded industry
    I don't think I know anyone like you, most people just begrudgingly pick a major so they can fit into society and live. I mean even the people I know that are passionate about their major would rather be doing something else.

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  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades 地獄のようにかわいい あなたは嫉妬深いかRegistered User regular
    I was passionate about getting a Composition degree right up until I figured out that Music Theory was a thing I could teach myself without commuting 2 hours to school every day and paying for my education completely on my own (my father forbade me from receiving any help whatsoever, or living on campus).

    So I'm almost 30 now and working on my Environmental Science degree.

    ジェイムズ・ブラウンの好きな色は何ですか?
    青!
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Fizban140 wrote:
    Fizban140 wrote:
    That whole idea of find what you love to do sounds like bullshit to me. Out of all the people I know, maybe one of them is doing a degree that they "love". Everyone else isn't sure what to do so they majored in or are getting a major in a job that has decent pay. It is impossible to find out what you are passionate about anyways until you actually work the job.

    Really?

    It's utterly bizarre to me to not know exactly what I wanted to do with my life for ages, I've been getting paid to either fix computers, teach people how to use something on the computer, or research computer related problems since I was 15 (and at the moment I tutor people in MS office shit)

    guess I should stick with it then, that's gotta give me an edge in a crowded industry
    I don't think I know anyone like you, most people just begrudgingly pick a major so they can fit into society and live. I mean even the people I know that are passionate about their major would rather be doing something else.

    And the number of people who think they know what they want, but don't actually/can't hack it is also very large.

  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    Fizban140 wrote:
    That whole idea of find what you love to do sounds like bullshit to me. Out of all the people I know, maybe one of them is doing a degree that they "love". Everyone else isn't sure what to do so they majored in or are getting a major in a job that has decent pay. It is impossible to find out what you are passionate about anyways until you actually work the job.

    I think you're misunderstanding. Finding what you love does not mean that you should go into that specific field, or that it's the only thing you're going to do. Again, liberal arts schools are not technical or vocational schools.

    Your goal should be to find what skills you like to use. For some, it's critically analyzing texts and writing; for other's, it's statistical analysis. The possibilities are endless. If you work hard on honing those skills, then you'll have a ton of options that leverage your abilities.

    Careers are no longer straight lines. If you think in terms of skills sets and not strict job titles, then finding what you love to do should make more sense.

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