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This thread is intended to discuss college decisions and perhaps seek advice from graduates. The discussion of colleges/tuition has begun to take over the 'God v. Atheism' debate, and I felt the two issues needed to be separated.

Also, please post your thoughts of college tuition these days.. College tuition has increased so rapidly that government financial aid cannot keep up! Tuition has increased at a rate faster than inflation ever since I can remember... This means colleges and universities are making much higher profits from our tuition.. And where is this money going? Probably straight to the top.. into the hands of chancellors, deans, presidents.. Why doesn't the government do anything about it? Developed countries need more people to attend college, and how can this happen if colleges cost more and more?

http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2005-11/2005-11-01-voa51.cfm
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2002-05-02-afford-college.htm

What some people have said thus far:

Well as of now my undergrad will be a double major: bio & mol bio.

Medicine> To tell ya the truth, I really have no clue, but resarch medicine has always caught my eye. :icon_biggrin:

But ya, Duke's a lot closer for me (I'm from Knoxville), and cost....let's just say I'll be working my ass off while in college. :icon_wink:

Sweet.. yea I was thinking of double majoring in comp. engineering and pre-med until I figured out what I wanted to do.. I'm good at bio and physics, but I hate chemistry..

haha yea.. college costs way too much these days.. rice is almost 45k per year!! I'll be working my ass of in college too, and I'll still graduate >100k in debt:S

After school (16) you get GCSE's in maths,english,science and some optional subjects. If you stay in education and go to 6th form you get A levels in 4/5 subjects.

An "a" level is an AS+ an A2 by the way. there one year each. you have to do the as to be able to do the a2 but thats ok as an AS is a qualification itself enabling you to drop it and switch subjects for the second year.

Im debating dropping chemistry next year and doing a 1 year course in maths, might help my uni application....

In the UK there are quite alot of different unis (and the system varies between N.I , england , scotland and wales) but essentially theres the good, well known ones then the new ones that used to be tech colleges (founded circa 1960s) that dont have such a good reputation.

Im ok at maths (only got B at GCSE) thats why i want to go the web devel route at uni instead of plain computer science.

Most unis teach C#, java and PHP btw

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After school (16) you get GCSE's in maths,english,science and some optional subjects. If you stay in education and go to 6th form you get A levels in 4/5 subjects.

An "a" level is an AS+ an A2 by the way. there one year each. you have to do the as to be able to do the a2 but thats ok as an AS is a qualification itself enabling you to drop it and switch subjects for the second year.

Im debating dropping chemistry next year and doing a 1 year course in maths, might help my uni application....

In the UK there are quite alot of different unis (and the system varies between N.I , england , scotland and wales) but essentially theres the good, well known ones then the new ones that used to be tech colleges (founded circa 1960s) that dont have such a good reputation.

Im ok at maths (only got B at GCSE) thats why i want to go the web devel route at uni instead of plain computer science.

Most unis teach C#, java and PHP btw

The U.S. divides education into grade school, high school, and college. Grade school consists of elementary and middle school (Grades Pre-k -> 8th) Then High School is 9th -> 12th.. You're usually 18 after you graduate high school, and you can choose to attend college (provided that you are accepted, and can actually afford it).. In college you can finally choose to major in some field, and you no longer have to take all the core classes (english, history, math, science).

I also found this from elsewhere on the Daniweb forums:

I am considering continuing my so far failed attempt at recieving my degree in computer science... But I have lost all means of payment. My parents have declared bankruptcy and I work dead-end jobs when I can and am currently unemployed. I am 23 and will be 24 in April 06.

Obviously, the decision to attend college is a big one for most people.. And I don't think money should be a factor in this decision at all...

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The whole college thing is kind of messed up IMHO. Mind you, I have a very biased way of looking at things, but I'll try to explain. Also keep in mind that this is based on the US system as I have very little idea how other places work.

First off, college is for furthering education, not something that's required. A high school education should be enough for someone to find a job providing a liveable income (though certainly not a lavish one). There are many jobs that someone needs to do but nobody really wants to. Take waste management; who want's to go around picking up people's garbage? But someone needs to do it. With our (again IMHO) decreasing standards, we've fairly botched this one, so now everyone thinks they should have to go to college. We're at a point where not going to college is a great disadvantage, but a college education was traditionally something for privileged individuals. Now, everyone thinks they have a right to go to college and that the government should pay for it.

That throws people into a predicament of having to pay for college. And of course, if you're going to go to college, you should go to the best college in your field. Private institutions and out-of-state prices leave many students graduating with 100k debt or so. On the other hand, public schools are typically much more affordable. And there are scholarships and grants that help students afford some means of an education. Affording school can be done, it just requires a lot of work depending on your background. Neither of my parents (or grandparents) ever got anything beyond a 2-year degree, but somehow my parents have managed to put me and my sister through 4 years (well, I'm done in 3, and my sister's just starting...). We both are going to public schools with in-state tuition, and it's actually affordable at the moment. With continuing tuition rate hikes, I don't think that'll last long though (there was a proposition at my school to double tuition, then use the increased money to provide more grants to those who couldn't afford the hike; however, if they were to double it, those who could still afford it would probably go to a similarly priced public school and those who couldn't afford it would not get the grants needed).

One rather handy way to get a college degree in the US is to join the armed forces. The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) pays like $40k/yr for tuition or $100k total (I can't remember). Plus they give you a little spending money too, and you're guaranteed a job (even a career) as soon as you graduate. The obvious drawback: you're stuck in the <armed force of choice> for 4 years. The not-so-obvious drawback: students often get the quickest degree they can (quite often history or English).

Which leads me to one of my most biased points. Liberal arts degrees are largely, IMO, a huge waste of time and money. There are many students who go to college not knowing what they want to do, get a degree, and then (still not knowing what they want to do) go out and find a job. They usually end up doing the same things as someone who only finished high school, but they've got college loans to pay off as well. I will certainly acknowledge that there are people who take their LA degrees and put them to use (e.g. English majors becoming authors, history majors continuing in that field, etc...). But the others are just wasting their time and everyone's resources.

One other problem with the system is the illusion to students that after 4 years they'll be able to start a career in their field. While that is true for some (including myself), it is quite often not the case. For many of the liberal arts and sciences, a full-blown career requires a great background in related academia, or to put it simply, a graduate degree. Doctors for example have PhDs. Would you go to a doctor who didn't? Similarly, even professors usually have to have a PhD in the field they teach. What kind of career would you have starting with only a Bachelor's degree in, say, chemistry?

So, how do we solve these problems? Well, we can't just change the system. It's like the gun thing; it's been this way, and you have to work really slowly to get anything to change. But there are a few things that IMHO should be done.

To help people pay for college, the government should implement a civil service system. For each year you attend school, the government will pay tuition costs and provide a small bit of spending money on the side. In exchange, after you graduate you should have to spend a year in the field in which you studied. Good luck to LA students, but the engineering and science graduates would get a great boon from this sytem. Not only do they get their degree, but they also get some experience before they branch out into their own careers (and they could even keep a career in their respective civil service field). This system obviously has many basic flaws, such as people changing majors, double majors, or not finishing degrees, etc... but it's an idea.

We also need to clear up a few misperceptions, specifically those about needing a degree or what a degree will actually help for. A history or English degree isn't worth a lot unless you want to work in those fields. A history degree probably requires graduate level studies before you can make a career of it, too. For people who don't know what field they want to study, they should probably not be working towards random, whimsical degrees. The latter problem could (and arguably should) be taken care of during the later parts of the required education system. Specialized curriculums should be introduced at the high school level so that students can begin to see what working in a particular field entails. One problem with this is that students still don't have much idea of what they want at that age, and that the high school period is still quite short to get the general education and a specialized one on top of that.

There should also be more short length training programs for specific jobs. Being a network admin shouldn't require a 4 year degree in Info Systems. Another example would be machinists. What would they study for 4 years? Their field depends largely on acquiring experience, not so much on book learning.

Just my verbose $0.02... ;)

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Most degrees here are 3/4 (4 if you want a work placement).

And hey serunson, its your lovely english taxes that mean scots like me pay next to nothing for uni :)

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First off, college is for furthering education, not something that's required. A high school education should be enough for someone to find a job providing a liveable income (though certainly not a lavish one). There are many jobs that someone needs to do but nobody really wants to. Take waste management; who want's to go around picking up people's garbage? But someone needs to do it. With our (again IMHO) decreasing standards, we've fairly botched this one, so now everyone thinks they should have to go to college. We're at a point where not going to college is a great disadvantage, but a college education was traditionally something for privileged individuals. Now, everyone thinks they have a right to go to college and that the government should pay for it.

hmm.. I just thought of something: In the past when college was relatively cheap, not many people attended.. However, now it seems like a lot more people are going off to college.. You're right, not going to college is a huge disadvantage now.. I think it works similarly to the supply/demand system. All people are beginning to realize that it is important to attend college. So, tons of people are going to college (including a much higher percentage of the minority). With so many people going to college and earning degrees, it is becoming much more competitive for people to get high paying jobs. The supply, so to speak, of the educated work force is increasing faster than the demand. As you said earlier, we need the *stupid* people to work for waste management and janitorial jobs, but more and more of these people are going to college. College tuition drastically increases attempting to offset this imbalance. We need poor, uneducated people to NOT go to college so that the rich, educated people maintain control of society. This has worked successfully in the past.. (I'm not saying it was a very nice thing) The white majority has kept the minority (mexicans and blacks in particular) low in society by making education too expensive. However, today with programs such as affirmative action that reach out to the minorities, more and more people of low social/economic class are attending college. What does this mean? There are more and more intelligent people in the United States, and less uneducated people. If America continues this trend, I can see major problems in the future.. Doctors, professors, and other professionals may begin having difficulties finding jobs... among other things that I'm sure you can foresee too..

Now, this may just be some crazy theory of mine... but as I read your post, something just clicked.. Perhaps it is a good thing that college education is so expensive.. It helps place a barrier that the poor cannot reach.. We would not be able to function without these poor people.. We need poor people for there to be rich people, otherwise it's just communism. Ok, so I change my position on this issue.. I believe it is in our best interest for education to be expensive.. To keep the poor, well poor, and the rich rich. Haha, perhaps this sounds a little heartless.. but hey, It's the truth.

Looking forward to further comments about this..

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I don't think we should block the poor from going to college. I guess I misrepresented that. The poor who do put forth the effort required should by all means be put through school, even if it requires that they be subsidized somehow. That's why we have competitive scholarships, some of which even target the lower class. By the same token, there are some from the upper class who shouldn't be bogging the system down. Of course, if they can afford it, who will stop them? The schools won't be likely to turn away a mostly reasonable student willing to pay full fare.

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I don't think we should block the poor from going to college. I guess I misrepresented that. The poor who do put forth the effort required should by all means be put through school, even if it requires that they be subsidized somehow. That's why we have competitive scholarships, some of which even target the lower class. By the same token, there are some from the upper class who shouldn't be bogging the system down. Of course, if they can afford it, who will stop them? The schools won't be likely to turn away a mostly reasonable student willing to pay full fare.

But if we help the poor become more educated and therefore lead them out of poverty.. The rest of us become poorer. It all equals out in a capitalist economy.. Who will clean our streets, toilets, and cities if we have no poor people?

Programs like affirmative action are complete bull.. Why should colleges accept less qualified students just b/c they help make the school racially diverse? It's racist! Programs such as affirmative action are unconstitutional and should not be enforced at any college. In fact, I wrote my junior theme about it.. in case someone is interested:
http://www.angelfire.com/super2/pedbsktbll/affirmative_Action.htm

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yeah i dont like affirmative action.

And i mean not everyone need higher education. A friend of mine left school at 16 and is doing an apprentiship as a plumber and the guy he shadows earns nearly £100,000 a year (thats 3/4 times the average wage!)

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yeah i dont like affirmative action.

And i mean not everyone need higher education. A friend of mine left school at 16 and is doing an apprentiship as a plumber and the guy he shadows earns nearly £100,000 a year (thats 3/4 times the average wage!)

The average wage in the UK is £133,333 / $267K ??

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The average wage in the UK is £133,333 / $267K ??

Heh with that said though, it's worth mentioning that things over there are much more expensive.

(I don't have data, but can any Brits back me up on this?)

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Actually, things in amrerica are cheaper. Houses are cheaper too.

But we have the NHS so i guess that evens things out a bit as you dont need medical insurance.

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Ohh, socialization of healthcare...big topic of discussion in the medical fields in America right now.

I just looked and saw that the average wage of doctors in UK (£81,744) isn't as low as some would think. The big stink over here is that, if socializaiton of medicine occurs, then doctors' wages would significantly lower. But I'm not seeing that trend from what I've seen.

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But if we help the poor become more educated and therefore lead them out of poverty.. The rest of us become poorer. It all equals out in a capitalist economy.. Who will clean our streets, toilets, and cities if we have no poor people?

That's also requiring the current upper class to retain their position. Even if they do get a degree, they have to put it to use. If they don't, then great, they fill the lower jobs. It seems a bit unfair to have skilled, smart, hardworking people and tell them they can't move up just because they come from a low-income background; similarly, we shouldn't just give people an upper class job because they come from an upper class background either.

Programs like affirmative action are complete bull.. Why should colleges accept less qualified students just b/c they help make the school racially diverse? It's racist! Programs such as affirmative action are unconstitutional and should not be enforced at any college. In fact, I wrote my junior theme about it.. in case someone is interested:
http://www.angelfire.com/super2/pedbsktbll/affirmative_Action.htm

Affirmative action is discrimination, period. But since it discriminates against the largest group, some people seem to think that it's a good idea. I totally agree that it's bull. It cracks me up that everyone (around here at least) is an "equal opportunity employer" but they still take "affirmative action information" from their employees (it is voluntary though).

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Oh, on the subject of socialized health care. I think it's a bad idea. I'm just basing this on my observation of how it's working in Canada. The quality of care up there is so severly lacking from so many accounts that I would hate to have it down here. Where I live is about 200 miles from the border, but there's a lot of Canadians that come even this far for treatment because either the wait is incredibly long up there, or they just can't get the same treatments back home. I also have a cousin who was in an accident at work and she's totally not getting proper care. Maybe that's just a difference between Canadian and American services, but part of it seems to be caused by the system.

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That's also requiring the current upper class to retain their position. Even if they do get a degree, they have to put it to use. If they don't, then great, they fill the lower jobs. It seems a bit unfair to have skilled, smart, hardworking people and tell them they can't move up just because they come from a low-income background; similarly, we shouldn't just give people an upper class job because they come from an upper class background either.

Yes, perhaps it is unfair.. but it's much easier to stick to tradition than it is to move people around in the class system. Society would just run much smoother if we kept the upper class rich, and the lower class poor.

Affirmative action is discrimination, period. But since it discriminates against the largest group, some people seem to think that it's a good idea. I totally agree that it's bull. It cracks me up that everyone (around here at least) is an "equal opportunity employer" but they still take "affirmative action information" from their employees (it is voluntary though).

I'm surprised that the Republicans didn't try to do away with this policy when they had the chance... The republican lame duck session should have done as much as they could, b/c they wont have the majority in the house or senate for a very long time..

I don't know why people think Affirmative action is such a great idea..

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Thats how it is here. the government want to get more ethinic minorities and working class people into further education.

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Thats how it is here. the government want to get more ethinic minorities and working class people into further education.

Why the hell is it so damn important for diversity?? You see it everywhere.. colleges, businesses, organizations.. they all try to make everything more ethnically diverse. Why not just leave things as they are? I just read an articles in the paper today about city council trying to make committees more diverse.. Why not just pick the best person for the job REGARDLESS of race!? Why admit less qualified students into colleges simply b/c they will help make the class more ethnically diverse? Why hire people on the sole basis of becoming more diverse?? It all seems like a new form of racism to me.. Racism against the majority.

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Here's the best part about striving for diversity. Once everything's all equally diversified, they'll all be the same, and there won't be anything to consider diverse... :icon_rolleyes:

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Here's the best part about striving for diversity. Once everything's all equally diversified, they'll all be the same, and there won't be anything to consider diverse... :icon_rolleyes:

No kidding.. This strive for ‘diversity’ accomplishes one thing: Moves us closer to a time when all cultures will be assimilated into one national ethnicity..

Other than pissing people off b/c it's completely idiotic, unconstitutional, and racist, of course..

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I don't recall the exact law offhand, but from what I've read, in the United States, any 'Affirmative Action' process that actually does use the ethnicity of a candidate for a position (school, job, or other) is in violation of the very law which supposedly supports them. The purpose of the law was to ensure that NO ONE got any special privileges. And I vaguely recall reading that, when said law was passed, there were arguments about whether or not it would be used to create just such a 'racial quota' system as we have today.
Naturally, the politicians passing the law said <paraphrase>"Oh, no, that will never happen!"</paraphrase>

And while the 'diversity' issue is getting played out, consider the question of what kind of diversity is valued, and what kinds aren't. For example, picture the reaction of most (US) college instructors in anything from Political Science to English Literature if you were to try taking the traditional 'conservative' ideological stance in their presence...especially in their classes. Is biological diversity (ethnicity or gender) worth anything if it's accompanied by an ideological homogeneity?

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Now, this may just be some crazy theory of mine... but as I read your post, something just clicked.. Perhaps it is a good thing that college education is so expensive.. It helps place a barrier that the poor cannot reach.. We would not be able to function without these poor people.. We need poor people for there to be rich people, otherwise it's just communism. Ok, so I change my position on this issue.. I believe it is in our best interest for education to be expensive.. To keep the poor, well poor, and the rich rich. Haha, perhaps this sounds a little heartless.. but hey, It's the truth.

What if the poor have 9 A's at GCSE and are super intelligent? Shouldn't they get a shot at a career they might do better than some shithead rich kid?

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9 A's?

Lol I didnt even get 9 GCSEs A-C . I got a C in ICT tho, wtf is up with that ? im obviosuly not that dumb at computers......

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