Saving an Arm and a Leg

Traditional college education has become a staple of modern society like white bread and video games, but like both of these things it is not necessarily the best thing. With inflation and other economic difficulties causing more and more trouble for families who work hard to make ends meet already, college is in many cases the thing that sends them into unmanageable debt. There are ways to avoid and prevent the debt amassed by following traditional schooling regimens. If we cut redundancies in schooling, teach our students how to think focusing on life experience over unnecessary classes, and learn how to manage money we can make it through college without selling yourself to the proverbial Shylock.
Colleges all over the world are insisting on preliminary courses that repeat everything primary and secondary school was supposed to teach. Basic Math, English, Science, History, and Reading Comprehension are being taught to adults who were supposed to have learned that in the previous twelve years. It is a waste of both time and money. While assessment tests in these areas would prove invaluable to decide whether a student is ready for the next level of education, until they are prepared for post secondary schooling they should not waste their time and money. Any courses that might be necessary could be taken in the junior and senior years in order to prepare them for their continued education. This can also help determine whether a student is supposed to go to college or not. There are many occupations that do not require an expensive education that will make life more difficult in the future. By cutting off the first two years tuition will be cut in half and glib students will be weeded out.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living. “ We all need to take into account what God’s will is for our lives. It may not be college. Others may be called to double decorates, but we shouldn’t go to college for college’s sake. That is no way to use the time God has given us. We need to assess what the best use is of our time is. Those who do not need college for the occupation they are called to should not waste money at that time until they are financially sound enough to send themselves to college without accumulating debt.
Students in primary school should be taught the basics first learning the basics of each subject, dates, events, sentence structure, etc. Continuing on to logic and philosophy where they would learn how to think, ask questions, and learn only when they have finished the grammar stage. After this they should be taught rhetoric, how to explain what they know in an understandable succinct way, communication skills. This all would set up the foundation for further study in an area of their choice. There is a step between the rhetoric stage and collegiate schooling. Before a child goes to school they need to be mature enough to go, a year or so should be taken off of school to evaluate where God has you, what he wants you to pursue, and to work. Get a job, put aside money for school, work in an area you are interested in or would like to pursue a degree.Learn how hard it is to earn money. It is schooling completely unlike anything you will ever do. It will be harder than any doctoral thesis because there is no syllabus in the school of hard knocks. It will teach you how to manage money, give you work experience, and give you an inkling of God’s plan for you. Professors and schools want kids who show initiative and determination. Experience with your field could prove invaluable for future opportunities for scholarships and work-study programs.
Not only should we cut off redundant courses and focus of earning life experience, but this should continue in your college career by streamlining courses to those needed for a major with some exceptions. This could cut out up to seventy-five percent of course work for a Bachelor’s degree if you include the elimination of most General Education, effectively decreasing the cost of college leaving more money and time for further study or a jump start in your career.
Learning to manage money now will help you understand and pay off your college expenses. It is incredible how much a morning Starbucks adds up at $3.75 every morning for six months to around $480 dollars. Imagine how much you could save for your education if you cut out the little things like morning coffee or subscription to a magazine. In his book Debt Free U Zac Bissonnette talks about simple things that will help you save money to put aside for you education. It may be difficult, but in the long run it is profitable for not just school, but the rest of life.
You are able to learn whatever you put your mind to. You do not need a fancy school with a Latin motto in order to learn what you need to be great in your field. Education is a mindset. If you work so that every minute of ever study hour counts, you will not need redundant courses or excess classes. If you go and learn about life by working, trying new things, learning to manage money wisely, and seeking God’s will, you will earn respected in your school and workplace, which is greater than any institution’s name. All of this will curtail debt, but it starts with the individual. It is not instantaneous and it is hard work, but the results are better thinkers, workers, stewards, and people. In the end it does much more then “fix soaring college debt crisis.” It works with the heart of the person and that is where real change is derived.


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