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Is College Worth It?

Is college worth it?  Is a college education really worth the investment of time, money and energy?  Is a college degree really worth becoming enslaved to student loan debt that will haunt you for decades?  The truth is that a college education is a massive gamble.  For millions of Americans it works out well, but millions of other college graduates have found themselves completely unable to get a quality job in this economy and yet they are still trapped in a nightmare of student loan debt from which there is no escape.  Millions of young Americans have discovered that they have become “indentured servants” the moment they graduate.  The entire system encourages our young people to take out whatever college loans they “need” without worrying how they will pay them back because a college education is such a good “investment”.  Once upon a time, a college education was actually an almost automatic ticket to the middle class.  Today, a college education does not guarantee you anything, but for millions of Americans it does turn out to be an automatic ticket to student loan hell.

It has been an open secret for decades that college is one big joke.  But at least a college degree could get you a job.

Now that a college degree won’t open the same doors that it used to, is college really worth it?

The following is what PIMCO’s Bill Gross had to say about the pathetic state of college education in America in one of his recent newsletters…..

All of us who have been there know an undergraduate education is primarily a four year vacation interrupted by periodic bouts of cramming or Google plagiarizing, but at least it used to serve a purpose. It weeded out underachievers and proved at a minimum that you could pass an SAT test. For those who made it to the good schools, it proved that your parents had enough money to either bribe administrators or hire SAT tutors to increase your score by 500 points. And a degree represented that the graduate could “party hearty” for long stretches of time and establish social networking skills that would prove invaluable later on at office cocktail parties or interactively via Facebook. College was great as long as the jobs were there.

It wouldn’t be so bad if college was not so darn expensive.  Tuition alone at many schools is 30, 40 or even 50 thousand dollars a year.

According to recent Pew Research Center polling, 75% of Americans believe that college is too expensive for most Americans to afford.

For many American families with multiple children, the cost of college education is absolutely staggering.  The following is an excerpt from an article recently posted on CNN….

As far as raising teenagers goes, Wade and Julie Scheckla can’t complain. The California couple’s oldest daughter, Paige, 19, is an honors student heading into her junior year at the University of California at Los Angeles, while 17-year-old Brett and 14-year-old Kennedy are straight-A students and standout athletes.

With high-achieving kids, however, comes a college-funding triple threat: Two years down and seven more to go, with at least three years of tuition-bill overlap.

The tab, all payable within a decade, could easily exceed $300,000.

Ouch.

The entire system is breaking down.  There is no way that the status quo is sustainable.  Most families can’t afford to shell out that kind of money.

Is college worth it?  Just consider the following statistics about how much debt our young Americans are going into just to get an “education”….

#1 According to the Student Loan Debt Clock, total student loan debt in the United States will surpass the 1 trillion dollar mark in early 2012.

#2 Total student loan debt in the United States is increasing by approximately $2854 every single second.

#3 The average college student now leaves school with $24,000 in student loan debt.

#4 Approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.

#5 The total amount of student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.

#6 Over the past 25 years, the cost of college tuition has increased at an average rate that is approximately 6% higher than the general rate of inflation.

#7 Back in 1952, a full year of tuition at Harvard was only $600. Today, it is $35,568.

#8 Average yearly tuition at U.S. private universities is now up to $27,293.  That has increased by 29% in just the past five years.

#9 The cost of college textbooks has tripled over the past decade.

#10 Since 1978, the cost of college tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent.

#11 One survey found that 23 percent of college students actually use credit cards to pay for tuition or fees.

Sadly, the quality of the education that our young people are receiving in return is absolutely pathetic.

Personally, I spent a total of 8 years attending universities in the United States.  I saw first hand what a joke most college courses are.

The truth is that things have gotten so bad that the family dog might just be able to pass most college courses in the United States today.

In a previous article I authored entitled “Student Loan Debt Hell: 21 Statistics That Will Make You Think Twice About Going To College“, I noted many statistics that seem to indicate that the quality of college education in the United States has declined dramatically.  The following are a few of those statistics….

- The typical U.S. college student spends less than 30 hours a week on academics.

- According to very extensive research detailed in a new book entitled “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses”, 45 percent of U.S. college students exhibit “no significant gains in learning” after two years in college.

- Today, college students spend approximately 50% less time studying than U.S. college students did just a few decades ago.

- 35% of U.S. college students spend 5 hours or less studying per week.

- 50% of U.S. college students have never taken a class where they had to write more than 20 pages.

- 32% of U.S. college students have never taken a class where they had to read more than 40 pages in a week.

- U.S. college students spend 24% of their time sleeping, 51% of their time socializing and 7% of their time studying.

- Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor’s degree within four years.

Pretty depressing, eh?

A college education may not be what it once was, but it is a great way to get into massive amounts of debt.

Unfortunately, most of our young people are never told that student loan debt is nearly impossible to escape from.

According to Stephen Lendman, changes in recent years have made student loans one of the cruelest forms of debt….

Congress ended bankruptcy protections, refinancing rights, statutes of limitations, truth in lending requirements, fair debt collection ones, and state usury laws when applied to federally guaranteed student loans. As a result, lenders may freely garnish wages, income tax refunds, earned income tax credits, and Social Security and disability income to assure defaulted loan payments. In addition, defaulting may cause loss of professional licenses, making repayment even harder or impossible.

Sadly, millions of recent college graduates that are drowning in student loan debt can’t even get good enough jobs that will enable them to service those loans.  Just consider the following statistics….

1) According to the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for college graduates younger than 25 years old was 9.3 percent in 2010.

2) One-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.

3) In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.

4) In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

5) In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees.

6) In the United States today, 24.5 percent of all retail salespersons have a college degree.

The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.  There are now more hard working Americans sitting at home without jobs than at any other point since the Great Depression.  A recent article authored by Mortimer Zuckerman for usnews.com made this point beautifully….

Today, over 14 million people are unemployed. We now have more idle men and women than at any time since the Great Depression. Nearly seven people in the labor pool compete for every job opening. Hiring announcements have plunged to 10,248 in May, down from 59,648 in April. Hiring is now 17 percent lower than the lowest level in the 2001-02 downturn. One fifth of all men of prime working age are not getting up and going to work. Equally disturbing is that the number of people unemployed for six months or longer grew 361,000 to 6.2 million, increasing their share of the unemployed to 45.1 percent.

So in light of all this, is college really worth it?

For some fields, a college degree is absolutely necessary.  That doesn’t mean that a job will be there when you graduate, but if you are determined to work in a field where a college degree is 100% required, then it might be a gamble you are willing to take.

However, for millions of others young Americans college is simply not worth it.

There are literally millions of disillusioned young college graduates out there today.  Large numbers of them are living back at home with their parents.  Many of them have fallen into deep depression.

As a recent article on canada.com noted, an increasing number of our young people (especially our young men) are just “checking out” and giving up hope….

While the majority of young men are getting through school, finding work and eventually raising families, there is evidence of rising numbers who are dropping out of school, not looking for work, endlessly playing video games, even living at home in their parents’ basements.

For much more on the state of college education in the United States, check out a new YouTube video entitled “College Conspiracy“.

It is an hour long video but it is really worth watching.  You can view the video on YouTube right here.

What is perhaps one of the saddest things of all is that our colleges and universities are all about training our young people to become part of the “system”.  Most parents have no idea how much indoctrination goes on inside college classrooms. In a previous article, I described what I saw during my 8 years at American universities….

Another open secret is that most of our colleges and universities are little more than indoctrination centers.  Most people would be absolutely shocked at how much unfiltered propaganda is being pounded into the heads of our young people.

At most colleges and universities, when it comes to the “big questions” there is a “right answer” and there is virtually no discussion of any other alternatives.

In most fields there is an “orthodoxy” that you had better adhere to if you want to get good grades.

Let’s just say that “independent thought” and “critical thinking” are not really encouraged at most of our institutions of higher learning.

The reality is that college is a very expensive joke.  It is a 4 (or 5 or 6) year vacation away from reality.  If you can ignore all of the establishment propaganda that they try to pound into your head, it can be a lot of fun.

However, if you have to take out loans, going to college can be an incredibly painful financial decision as well.

So is college worth it?

Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=318515515322 AgreeToDisagree

    Waaay ahead of you guys. And that was 10 years ago. Unfortunately the rest of the family was doctrinated, so my savings were lost any way when a sibling went in my place instead of safe guarding the family properties. 10 years later he is in the same position as my parents were. Paying loans on property that were ALREADY paid for but sold to pay for an education.

  • Kalen

    This is something I have thought about considerably. I went to an engineering school that was rated by Forbes as the 9th best college in the country to get rich. It was ranked 15th by the Wall St. Journal for a return on invesment. I now an not working as an engineering but a freelance Internet marketer. I still don’t regret the decision because I feel that my education was valuable no matter what field I went in. I don’t think that is the case for 90% of all Americans. I must add I wasted two years of my life getting an MBA. Let me reemphasize, this was a waste of two years and $50,000. I spent my MBA partying and correcting papers from group partners that couldn’t speak English (I was one of three Americans). I am not xenophobic, but when a paper written by one of my group partners is so bad that I had to carry it around in my wallet to share with people for kicks and put on a blog for strangers to get a laugh at, I knew I was wasting my time with this so called education.

    I think college can be valuable if you study something that has some practical value and is marketability. Studying Medieval Horticulture may be interesting, but it’s unlikely to ever get you a job. I know a girl getting a PhD in Holocaust and Genocide studies. What will she ever do with that? At least other useless history majors can get teaching jobs. PhDs can cost upwards of $200,000. If your career goal is to become a Starbucks barista you might as well just save the money and get paid for 8 years of experience instead.

    So many people go to college because someone tells them its the “smart thing to do” (or they want 4 years to play drinking games). My advice is if you aren’t going to study something useful and lucractive in college then don’t go at all.

    • Richard

      Virtually all PhD programs pay you while you work towards them. I agree with you but you should get your facts straight before acting enlightened and above the sheep.

  • http://millison-wilkes.blogspot.com/ mizwilkes

    These articles all seem
    a) effectively negative and depressing, and
    b) to lead to the conclusion that it’s all part of a conspiracy

    Thought provoking, but nevertheless highly depressing. Thankyou for taking my comment.

  • Stanislaw

    The problem with college is multi-fold. College’s original purpose, based on the medieval model, was to teach people how to think so that they might learn to educate themselves. It was NOT about career training or propagandization.

    I have my Master’s Degree, and thankfully have NO debt. However, many of my friends have thousands of dollars in debt with few job prospects. They have become, I sadly fear, the new form of indentured servants, only this time serving for a lifetime, more akin to debt slavery.

    College is not necessarily an absolute ripoff if executed properly and for the right reasons. I enjoyed my time at college, but I can also say that I made sure I kept a VERY close watch on how much I spent (I paid $32K total for undergrad and $24K for grad, seven years total) and did NOT waste money. I also deeply invested myself into the college’s resouces and university life, and as such, I learned and grew as a person in the tradition of the medieval college model. In this sense, I am thankful for my college experiences.

    That said, most of college in America today is based on false promises for career training with the hope of garnishing a large paycheck, usually through a large company. Perhaps once upon a time there may have been a degree of truth in this idea, but the fundamental and visible economic and social realities of today have reduced this ideal to a mere fantasy.

    As a dear professor friend of mine who recently passed (God rest his soul) that was a proponent of a true “liberal” education (not the political vision), he expressed concern about how, paraphrasing his words, “I think students believe college is a ticket, that if they get their ticket punched, then everything is all set for them, and it doesn’t matter what they learn.”

    The college system of “education” in America is often not education, but either indoctrination or “ticket punching.” There are still good professors left, and much that college can offer, but college is NOT a substitute for career training or for life experience.

  • Jonathan

    The argument against college/university studies is of course all of the successful entrepreneurs that did not ever attend or perhaps started but did not finish their degrees. Think of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Carnegie, Coco Channel, Walt Disney, Dave Thomas, David Geffen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Wally Amos, James Cameron, Larry Ellison, Ray Krock, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Russel Simmons, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Zuckerberg, … As a father of two young children, I think about this often. I believe there are university degrees worth pursuing such as naval architecture and industrial design as well as pursuing studies at the Merchant Marine Academy. I myself earned and paid for a BS degree and two post graduate degrees by working up to 40 hours per week and taking out student loans which have long since been paid off. Was it worth it? Most days I think so but I wouldn’t take on the debt today unless it was in one of the aforementioned areas of study. As to post-grad studies, I would recommend it only for personal gratification.

    • Gary

      I heard it said that if we put a small financial transaction tax on all wall street trades college could be free for all. I say tax wall street.

      • Guido

        Yeah, that’s what we need. Free education for all. I’m sure folks will study hard when their education is free of charge.

        • Mad Bob

          also, when something is free, it obviously has no value. Give free education / training in agriculture, animal husbandry, construction… anything that is USEFUL. A liberal arts degree is a waste at any cost. Unfortunately, educated Americans feel that labor is beneath them. We have to get rid of this entitlement mentality. And a living wage for full time work. But that is for another post.

  • Ben Dover

    Some people go because mom and dad are paying the freight. Cruel thing to do to parents.

    Kalen: your friend may get a gubmint job with her degree (as long as she pretends to have no sense). They LOVE useless employees, but she would have to hope the wheels don’t come off until her loans are paid.

    “Education” has become a huge racket. I love how all in the “education” system whine and wring their hands when they are the main cause of the problem (but why not when they are held blameless as they are now).

  • Stephen Byerly

    The statistics are all fine and dandy, and very enlightening. BUT… what alternatives do you recommend?

  • germanguy

    Good thing about europe. I pay 169€/semester and that’s it.

  • MonT

    Let’s not forget the more affordable option of the local community college. Many of these schools provide comparable education for a fraction of the cost and transfer all credits to a university (if that is needed).

    And, isn’t there a shortage of trades people? We will always need the plumber, electrician, HVAC tech, and mechanic – 4-year degrees are not needed for these. Mentoring with a skilled trades person in one of these fields is another way to get into such a business. Any motivated person can find a way to make a living – even in a touch economy – without racking up huge debts.

  • Piglet

    Thirty years ago I was in college, working my fanny off to keep up with a heavy class workload, while most of my dorm mates partied, got high, slept late and skipped morning classes. Mommy and Daddy were paying their bills, so they didn’t care.

    Many classes, particularly the electives, were absolutely useless and did nothing more than fill up my time and extract more money from me.

    When I graduated, I was broke, but at least I wasn’t in debt and I could easily find a job. That wouldn’t necessarily be true today.

    Today I’m so glad I don’t have any kids to pump through college. I don’t know how I could afford it.

    A decade after graduation I earned an MBA, which was a complete waste of time and money. Even as I was taking the classes, I wondered what the big deal was because the course material was almost identical to that of the undergraduate business classes I’d taken years earlier. As I was in my last semester, I read an article in US News & World Report stating that, unless your MBA degree comes from one of the big name schools, such as Wharton, it’s of no real value. This was supported by statements by deans themselves!

    The classes that have been the most use to be have been those at community colleges in various computer applications. These have been shorter and much less expensive but have had a much greater impact on my life and career.

    Bottom line: Learn how to do something useful. You may not (and probably won’t) learn how to do it in a college classroom. It’s a bonus if you like doing it.

  • SiliconJon

    Man, I could write a novel on the BS surrounding this issue, but I’ll turn the long epic into a short story.

    Yes) The piece of paper will “qualify” you for more jobs, and better jobs, per the checkmarks on the resume filter paradigm.

    No) The pursuit of this piece of paper does not mean you’ve learned anything, except maybe on how to be a really good parrot. If the job actually requires you to be a smart & out of the box thinker there’s a good chance your college failed you as it’s generally designed to get the dumbest through in order to keep them paying for courses. Thankfully dumb is the new norm, as seen next.

    Yes) Thankfully, most jobs in America are within kakistocracies, or something similar thereto. Ability really doesn’t mean anything so long as you can APPEAR able, cover your ass, destroy those who pose a skilful threat to you, and meet the social engineering requirements of your boss (generally a left/right or blue/red social engineer).

  • Gary

    This is just my opinion:

    Not having a college degree pretty much guarantees failure while having a college degree is no longer a ticket to a middle class lifestyle.

    Yes there are exceptions to everything but I see this as generally true.

    There seems to be an economic draft meaning a lot of people go into the military because that is the only way they can afford college, however, that is a very expensive option (non financially speaking you may get killed/maimed in these wars of choice.)

    I have a college degree in Business Management and could have done any job I ever had without it. Both good jobs and my current underemployment job.

    • Ben Dover

      I am sure Gates is a real disappointment to his parents.

      • Gary

        what part of “there are exceptions” did you not understand???

        They are call exceptions because they are just that, very uncommon. How many want to play in the NBA when they graduate and how many actually do play? Hardly any.

    • Guido

      Gary, no wonder you’re underemployed. How can you be a business management expert and a Marxist at the same time? It must create some frightful conundrums for you.

  • Gary

    PS-the words “a lot” are not one word but two words. This is an error I see many make.

    • Momma G in Texas

      When I attended college I was docked points for writing “alot”. I have not written the word “a lot” incorrectly since.

  • http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/10-facts-about-corporate-taxes-that-will-make-your-blood-boil Haallen

    I’m a high-school dropout. I retired at age 49, few of my college buddies have or can retire.

    • Trade13

      Hallen, how did you retire at 49?

  • Paul

    I think it’s interesting that this is something that the MSM is just now getting around to talking about. This is something that I have been saying for years, and I did graduate from college, and I usually get people giving me looks of absolute terror. How could someone possibly be better off not going to college? Well, I went to college and graduated. After graduation I got a job in my field making 20K per year only to find out that the company I worked for was offering on-the-job training for nearly free. Super, I spent 30K for my “education” that I could have gotten for free. I’ve been paying on my student loan debt for almost 10 years now and wish that I would never have attended college.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    Back in the 1950s and 1960s—before the United States turned into a Third World horror movie called The Banana Republic of America—there were two different paths to the middle class. There was college (the white-collar path), and there was trade school (the blue-collar path). People who went to college and studied accounting, business, law, medicine, etc. were practically guaranteed a middle class life, and people who went to trade school, joined unions and became construction workers, plumbers, electricians, etc. had a shot at the middle class. But these days, both white-collar workers and blue-collar workers are both screwed—and now, you have unemployed construction workers competing with unemployed IT professionals for minimum-wage jobs at the dollar school. White-collar workers and blue-collar workers are in the same miserable boat of poverty and desperation, and the situation isn’t getting any better. As the BRA continues to slide deeper and deeper into the abyss, there will be growth industries. But sadly, they will be illegal and dangerous (drug trafficking, murder for hire, kidnapping, carjacking).

    Welcome to life in a rotting, decaying, collapsing Third World hellhole. Welcome to life in The Banana Republic of America (formerly the USA).

  • Momma G in Texas

    “See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don’t do that, and two, you dropped 150 grand on a f***in’ education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!” Good Will Hunting

    This quote sums up my thinking about college.

  • A.S.

    I wasted 4 years of my life being in college from 1992-1996. I still have over $15,000. After graduating, I had no clue what I wanted to do.

    I then took some computer courses at the local community college from 1997-2000. Could not find work with that either, because the dot com crashed around 2000: if senior level people were being fired, why would an entry level person be hired?

    After working in various sales positions, seeing how many people there were highly educated, in fields like engineering (this was 2001-2002), I knew for sure college/university education was the biggest joke ever.

    Even with getting a paralegal education, I could not find work (this was 2004).

    After everything that has happened and I experienced, in the end my 4 years in college and 3-4 years of community college to learn a trade, it was a good learning experience…if anything, I realized how evil all establishments are. I learned more during 3 months of reading this site and others like it that I recently came across, than all of my 20+ years of education! Public schools are a joke, community colleges are a joke, and colleges/universities are not only joke, but criminal.

    Cheers to the author of this site and others like it. I may have $15,000+ in college debt, be unemployed, and occasional have loss of hope in the economy (yes, the economy will 100% not recover), but at least I am not a mindless drone or sheep led to slaughter (e.g. I will fight to the end against people like the Bilderbergs).

    My advice to anyone thinking about college: RUN AWAY LIKE IT IS THE PLAGUE!

  • Colin

    The figure for the tuition at Harvard – is that what it cost then, or is that the adjusted figure to account for inflation? If it’s the former, the cost to go to Harvard, if adjusted for inflation, would be $5116.17.

    I think one has to be careful when comparing historical costs.

    I read an article earlier this year on Yahoo where the author praised a man for having lived on $10,000 a year. He became employed during the Great Depression and worked to the late 1960’s. The author praised him for having the capacity to live life to the fullest and having money to live off in his retirement. A lot of people accepted this story without thinking it through, and wrote that people who make $10,000 now could learn to take some lessons from him. I questioned this article. I know that the value of money changes over time. So , if I pick a year from that time span, say 1940, and did a historical conversion, this man would be earning $161,402.86 a year if adjusted for inflation. Interestingly, when I did the same, say for 1968, this same man would be earning $64,932.18 if adjusted for inflation. Either way, in 1940 or 1968, he was doing very good for himself. No wonder he could live life as he chose, and could retire comfortably. (I felt the author may have been disingenuous, and may have been spinning the story in a pro-corporate direction.)

    I fear that we may see the student loan debt bubble implode soon. What will happen when it does implode?

  • DB200

    The world needs engineers & technicians. As long as you increase your expertise through work experience and study (yes, both!), your salary will increase as well. Whether in China, India, Europe, Australia, Africa or America. Already salaries of Chinese engineers in Shanghai are on par with those in Southern-Europe. Fluffy-studies like entertainment management and the like, will give you a lot of party time but lousy jobs in the end (and a modern version of slavery). But engineering is putting in (mentally) hard work and working hard. So it is typically a short term versus long term decision young students have to make. And Americans generally love the short term gain (live now, pay later) and hence don’t choose engineering studies. Indians and Chinese know where the money is, and hundreds of thousands graduate in engineering each year.

    As for the MBA I did additionally to my MS engineering, I paid for it myself thanks to the stock boom in the nineties. After two years studying 80-90 hours a week at a European top 5 school, the job after the MBA lead to a 60% pay increase compared to the job before the MBA. And that was only the start.

    So stop whining, and start working.

    • Jackie

      I appreciate your comment. I think you may be the only other person to comment on this who has a college education.
      In my opinion, the only people who can not see the value of education either didn’t go to college or dropped out.
      It is ridiculous to think that any society could function without people applying their intelligence to their education.

  • Tatiana Covington

    Recent advances in nothing less than synthetic telepathy (DARPA’s term), thought-controlled machines, and in the engineering of memory formation and its erasure, will probably make education as we have known it since Plato, utterly obsolete by 2100.

    Who will then need or want to have to sit there for hour after hour, slowly absorbing little bits and dribbles in lectures?

    Good riddance!

  • http://www.ggarchive.org Number Six

    I teach at both a high school and university.

    Somehow, I slip through the cracks.

    For example, in one of my politics courses, which uses a variety of scholarly material, we examine the facts demonstrating how the Lusitania was deliberately sunk, FDR brought on Pearl Harbor, the declassified documents showing Gulf of Tonkin to be a complete fraud, the declassified documents of the 1962 9/11 attack that would have been attempted by the Pentagon (Operation Northwoods) and etc.

    I would rather walk away from my job than teach anything but the TRUTH.

  • mondobeyondo

    The whole “graduate from high school, go to college, get job at high profile employer, retire in 40 years” concept has gone totally out the window. It is about as relevant now, as the “mommy track” and “daddy track” (terms used in the 1980’s) were back in those days. Remember those?

    These days, you’d probably do just as well, if not better, by just graduating high school and going into an auto mechanic trade school… or an air conditioning/heating trade school, computer graphics design trade school, and so forth. Because in 2011, skills are more important than knowledge (just my opinion!) Knowledge used to be highly prized. Nowadays, it’s just a couple Google clicks away. In my opinion, the information/Internet age has devalued knowledge. When I was 14 years old (okay. 1979, if you really must know!), I learned and knew a lot of details about Abraham Lincoln, his life and his presidency. My fellow freshmen high school students were impressed!! Now, nobody is impressed. Just go onto Google or Wikipedia, it’s all there. Copy and paste, and you’ll look like a freaking Harvard history professor!

    Skills take time and effort to develop. That degree or certificate is a symbol for the amount of time and effort you put in to learn those skills.. You don’t think so?

    Go to Google and type in “how to assemble a transmission”. Too hard? Okay, how ’bout “How to assemble a carburetor”? Or maybe “How to perform dental root canal surgery at home”. Hey, give it a try! You never know, it just might work! I don’t know how to do any of those things. I pay people to do those things for me. And therein lies the value of knowing certain skills.

  • GreginOz

    Read “Is College Worth It?” on LRC. Given that one can not default or write off one’s “edookayshon”, Student Loans, I see one probable outcome that should make Debtors VERY uneasy. Remember an old institution called Debtors Prison? What is the likelihood that The Gummint gives these people two alternatives; jail OR MILITARY SERVICE? Think about it. The US military has had to continually drop entrance standards to keep filling boots, here is an ideal solution to fill up the ranks with people that might be able to read…

  • Jackie

    This article makes me so mad. Yea, don’t go to college because this guy wrote about the shocking revelation that it’s expensive. Apparently, no one knew this before and it’s reason enough not to go. The fact is that people who are not going to use their student loan money wisely and take out more than the needed amount are the people who would inevitably make the same mistakes with credit cards and other loans. Yea, not everyone who goes to college gets a job where a degree is required, but it does increase their employ-ability, gives them a sense of accomplishment, and makes for a more informed society. If you can’t get a job that pays enough to pay back the loans, guess what? There’s an 800# you can call and make arrangements to pay what you CAN afford. No reason not to go.

  • Zack

    I want to be a doctor so this article applies not to me, I could never walk into a hospital or a doctor’s office and present a resume with out a med school degree and hoped to get hired. It’s expensive but an investment, be depressed if you want to but look at the areas of growth in the economy. Yes there are areas of growth, insurance, banking, medical. If you want a job out of college don’t pick the degree where you can only make money by writing a book on the impact of 2nd century pottery on the average Roman baker. Degrees along those lines maybe what you love but no one is going to hire the man with the bachelors in eastern culture grain cultivation.

  • LibertarianMathProf

    The reason so many are attending college is that the so-called k-12 “education” system isn’t doing ITS job of educating students.

    Far too many HS graduates don’t read anywhere near a 12th grade level nor are able to do even the simplest math calculations without a calculator (and many even fail at that). They are HS graduates in name only. As a result, they need to take remedial courses in college or community college to be brought up to speed in these areas. If the K-12 “education” system did its work in truly educating students instead of teaching to the test (the subject for another post), many of them would not have to go into debt to attend college or CC to learn what they should have learned in HS.

    • LibertarianMathProf

      Follow up to my earlier commentary:

      Many attend college because, as an earlier post noted, many employers require job candidates to be college graduates, and have this built into their resume filtering system.

      Given the sorry state of college education, the question is why is this the case? The answer is simple: requiring job candidates to be college graduates is the only way they can be sure of getting employees who have at least a high school level education!

  • Golden Child

    This article is right on the money. College is like a high stakes Vegas gamble. There is no telling what will be a viable field of work 4-6 years from now. There is no promise that you will have any aptitude for those highly specialized fields out-of -touch voluntary internet guidance counselors love to harp endlessly about. Students that studied once practical fields like advertising and architecture are up sh*t’s creek without a paddle because average Americans have greatly lost their purchasing power to buy advertised products or buy new homes because hundreds of thousands of houses are standing vacant. Also, going to college proves almost nothing at this day and age. No one flunks out of school anymore. Professors only care about their often worthless research and students fall into the “Animal House” party and get drunk all the time irresponsible alcoholic college lifestyle. Sadly, grade inflation has made it so that a college degree shows no proof of actually expertise any field of study.

    People without connections should not got to college. Employers have their pick of the litter. Even thousands of Ivy-League grads and experienced career veterans are out of work. What makes an average grad from an average school with next zero real world work experience stand out? The only way to get a good job is through personal connections. I know someone who majored in music in college who is working as an engineer on the strength of his personal connections. On the other hand, there are sad stories on forums all across the internet of recent college grads who have been out of work for years unable to break into their chosen fields of work.

    No, college is not the only way to succeed. My ex-brother in law makes a doctor’s salary without a degree as one of the top car salesmen in the state. He was lucky enough to climb the ranks of a generic name tag wearing lowly sales associate to being a valued asset in corporate America WITHOUT having an expensive piece of paper, a lifetime of student loan debt, an extended near decade of 20’s quasi-adolescence and a raging alcohol problem. But not everyone who opts no to college is so lucky. Life is a gamble no matter how much you wager on it.

  • Joseph

    From personal experience I have seen that it is a students priorities that determine whether college is a waste of time, or a sound investment.

    A diligent student can go to college with little to no cost. My wife, who is a registered nurse, graduated from college with no debt. Her education was completely paid for by scholarships. For myself, currently working on a phd in physics, I have moved through my college career incurring very little (approximately $11,000 in student loans) debt. The student loans were taken to pay for my undergraduate education. I have taken no loans to pay for my graduate education. I only had to pay student fees in my MS program. In the PhD program I do not pay any tuition or fees. It is typical of graduate programs in science (at least in physics) and mathematics to not pay one dime to attend the university.

  • http://www.placeofrefuge2012.com Sheila

    In my day (I’m 58) a young person could learn a trade.

    we have some learn to be machinist, Carpenters, nurses, watchmakers etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.

    Now it does not matter if you have a skilled trade anymore than it does if you have a university degree. I have met many people with “DEGREES” (there is a reason why the piece of paper they give you when you graduate is called a DEGREE) who can’t find jobs of any kind!!!!!

    The graduation cap is called a “MORTAR BOARD” and the piece of paper called a degree. It’s from the Free Masonic traditions. ALL SCHOOLS ONLY TEACH HOW TO REPEAT NOT TO THINK.

    http://www.placeofrefuge2012.com

  • http://www.cyberwindow.blogspot.com Mollie

    Being an educator, I just had to comment! I teach math at a community college and appreciate the poster who advocated community colleges. I am also a graduate of the institution at which I teach.

    I do have to agree with the points about a college education being too expensive. We have community college students who have a time just affording our tuition, let alone the text books. What I’d like to see is more scholarships so students wouldn’t have to work so hard outside of college and/or go into debt. I realize how very blessed I was that my parents made sure I came out of undergrad school with no debts. I was also blessed to be able to get through my grad school also debt-free. I’d love to see more young people get a more unfettered start that way.

    I take exception to Ben Dover’s words about educators. We really do a big job each and every day even though students are too often apathetic or ill-prepared for whatever class we’re teaching. We also have to contend with a lot of administrative-type hasssles.

    I also take exception to the remarks in the original article referring to indoctrination. That’s something I haven’t seen in my own experience or in watching colleagues. I just don’t see it. We’re ususally just so busy trying to get the basic course material in them. Good teachers, though, do try to get students to think critically. That’s not a bad thing. Stdudents should feel free to learn new ideas. What they make of them, the use they make of them, and their own evaluation of them should be personal.

    My own bottom line is that college is certainly worth it. If a student really tackles his or her classes, interacts with fellow students and faculty, education can be not just career preparation, but a fulfulling experience.

  • Guido

    I think education is the most important thing in the world-but you don’t need to go to college to get one. In fact, college seems to be largely worthless now, since anyone can get in and they hardly make a pretense of having standards.

    I always learned more outside of class than I did inside. I gained more satisfaction by exploring things that interested me and actually doing things. It’s one thing to read about blacksmithing, another thing entirely to MAKE things blacksmithing.

    Now that so many clowns are being pushed into college and so much gov’t money is being thrown at it, no wonder the ones that do graduate come out with such lackluster skills, while the costs have gone sky-high.

    I think a college education would be worth much more, and would be taken more seriously, if it was harder to get and harder to achieve. Just talk to a European about their school experience to see what a real college is like.

  • http://www.infoshop.org beastmaster

    Here is a solution to the student debt problem in three easy steps.
    1. Dont ever pay it back
    2. laugh about it
    3. have fun watching all the miserable people that dont realize there are no debtors prisons in america.

    Every person i know is purposely accruing as much student debt as possible and living the good life off the govt’ cheddar. No intention paying it back. have fun paying for me taxpayers. haha

  • http://seekyt.com/ cameron

    I agree with what your saying as far as the debt that most students leave school with and that the college system is really not teaching anything.

    Students can pay someone to do their homework and write their papers so that they can pass with a high GPA score.

    But on the other hand only individuals with advanced academic degrees are able to work in certain industries.

    So there is some benefit to going to a college and getting a Masters Degree or PhD it just depends on what area of study you choose.

    That’s where it takes research to see where your annual salary will be high enough for the time spent at the university.

    The advancement in Technology and the Medical fields offer opportunity for those who are good in Mathematics, Physics, and the Sciences.

    But this is only going to be for the small percentage of students who are actually smart enough to pursue these degree programs, most kids are just in school because their parents told them they have to go.

    So as you mentioned it ends up just being a vacation filled party zone where they end up back at mom and pops house sipping lemonade.

  • sky

    I vehemently do not agree with this article that college isn’t worth it.

    A college education has become much, much more easy to attain these days. The admission standards are lax at many colleges and there are twos reasons it has become this way: MONEY & INSTITUTIONAL GREED. These two factors are to blame for the excess supply of college graduates in the market.

    In the days where our parents went to college, it was harder to get admitted and when they graduated supply pretty much equaled demand (a classic economic concept). Hence, every college grad found a job and received “a first class ticket to the middle class.”

    I, myself, recently graduated from the university in Wisconsin. I have found an incredible job where I make a decent salary and love going to work each day! I will have all $20,000 of my student debt paid off in 2 years and still have a decent sum of money to live on.

    I was not able to rely on nepotism to get my foot in the door either. In fact, I am the first person in my immediate family to go to college.

    My secret to my success was working my tail off in college and now I have motivation to thank for that success. In addition to a full-time course load, I worked at a part-time job, 20-30 hours a week. While other students were going out to the bars during the week, I stayed in and only went out on the weekends after I had my coursework done. I also studied abroad, did a great internship received due to my own merit, and graduated in only 7 semesters (3.5 years).

    A college education is not a waste if you work hard! All of my friends that worked just as hard as I did found decent jobs right out of college too! COLLEGE IS NOT A WASTE!!!!

  • http://www.naegele.com Timothy D. Naegele

    An even larger issue that looms on the horizon is that colleges are likely to become dinosaurs.

    As I have written:

    “America’s Middle Class is being priced out of colleges for their kids; and many parents are questioning whether college is worth it, and whether they can afford it. This is true to an even greater extent when it comes to graduate schools, such as law schools. As more and more Americans face economic problems during the balance of this decade, which will be true of their counterparts abroad as well, many will find that undergraduate college educations and graduate schools are luxuries that they cannot afford. Many families will be doing whatever they can just to survive.”

    Also, the educational institutions of the future will be online, which cost a fraction of what “bricks-and-mortar” educational institutions cost today. Indeed, it is not surprising that the Washington Post‘s parent sold Newsweek magazine for $1, and kept the Kaplan online schools that have become increasingly “cash cows” for the company.

    See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/are-colleges-dinosaurs/

    • S.F.V

      Wow, awesome and interesting to read. Thanks for your insight and comment. I totally agree. I went to a junior/community college, and though wasn’t expensive, I felt it was good enough that I got my money’s worth. My dad told me that if you want to learn, go to the library or internet. He was right. And it didn’t cost me a dime. I learned alot too.

  • Sheila

    I worked hard in college, went to Berkeley, though I majored in Art, four years after my honors degree: no job. Although, without college I know I would probably be a crack-whore. I glad I went, I don’t have hardly any debt but I’m not sure I will ever go back to even community college because I can learn most anything I need on my own. I can even pass the bar in CA without going to law school.

  • http://lalala.com Ariella

    Anyone who is still reading this: I’m 17 and about to start UCLA. I plan on majoring in Psychology (B.A.) and Communications, and then being a media broadcaster. Am I stupid and wasting money? Please tell me if college will be worth it.

    • Adam

      Depends… Neither and undergrad degree in Psychology or Communications will land you an instant job in the “real world.” You will definitely need a post graduate degree. If you’re agreeable with this, then they are fine degree’s that will get you in the grad school, law school, med school, ect. But, if your only wanting to get an undergrad, then I would major in a professional degree major ie; engineering, astronomy ect. Something that applies directly to a certain type of job. Hope this helps.

  • Adam

    I originally skipped on the college experience as I didn’t receive excellent grades in middle or high school. I started working for a retailer in sales. The retailer has a big yellow tag as it’s insignia in case you’re wondering. After working there for 6 years, I was a manager then, I realized I hated my occupation. I went back to school at the University of Missouri and majored in economics. I had a 3.8 GPA when I graduated. I then took the LSAT before I graduated and scored in the 98th percentile. By some miracle, I was and accepted and attended Harvard Law School. I now work for a law firm, as a junior partner, in Boston making 20 times what I was making as a sales manager. I cannot tell you that college is for everyone, but it definitely was for me. If you’re going to major in English, Art History, or some other worthless undergraduate degree, then yes, I would skip college. But, if your going to dedicate yourself to your studies and truly try to accomplish something great, then college is for you. I believe in the “American Dream” because I am living it. The Ferrari in my garage is proof of that. ;) Everyone is different and not everyone will be able to do what I did… BUT it is possible! If I could do it, YOU CAN TOO.

    • S.F.V

      Let’s see a picture of your ferarri, how much you owe in student loans, AND when you went to college because I’m pretty sure in the 80s, getting into Harvard (and being Bill Gate’s school mate/classmate) was alot easier back then.

      It’s good for you that it worked out …you were lucky and maybe the LSAT was easier back then. So yes, for yourself, I would say it worked for you, but we are talking in general here.

      The way the economy is going and the way this country makes up so much useless, unnecessary “laws” and regulations did not make sense to be and still doesn’t. So would you consider yourself smart? If so, are you better than us? Just because of that Ferarri in your gay raj?

  • Steve

    All of you old fogies saying college is worth it- it was worth it you because there were opportunities to capitalize on afterward.

    Even if a student majors in something “practical” like engineering these days, their prospects are still slim-to-none.

    I will say that if you can maintain a 3.8+ GPA in any type of engineering you have a better chance of getting a job as a fresher then most. These companies only take the top of the crop.

    College is still a waste of time and money, especially when you factor in that jobs in America AREN’T coming back.

  • Dennis

    College is a joke. True learning begins at home. If you know how to interact with people, you will be fine. Skills suck. People suck..

    The future of America is long and gloomy..

  • J. Malone

    I went into the Navy at 17 and went to Aviation Electronic Technician “A” school. After four years (repairing electronic equipment)and flying patrols looking for Soviet Submarines I left the Navy and went to work at the Western Electric Plant in Shreveport Loisiana as a “maintainace electrican.” I troubleshot and fixed the machines that made the telephones for the Bell System. After 2 years I felt that there was “more” and went to college on the GI bill. I did not go the college to get a better job for I had a good job with a bright future. The chief engineer at Western Electric convinced me to go to college. So I did…During the Summers I found employment very easily as a maintance electricion in a mayrid of industries i.e., offshore drilling rig, steel mill, foundry etc. I always made top dollar because I had a valued trade. When late August came around I would quit and go back to school. So with working Summers and the GI bill I graduated five and-one-half years later with a BSEE. College was hard as hell. The first two years were so demanding that my brain would hurt and I thought that I must be very stupid because I felt that I was not learing anything. Of course I was learning a lot but I was just trying to keep up…it was sooooo demanding. The cost of the University was $500 per semester (1968-1973) including books and meal ticket.

    I graduated in 1973 and had to do a varity of jobs under a phony resume (I would fall back on my trade) until I could secure a real professional job (The economy took a real dive in 1973) as an Electrical Engineer in 1978. It was no picnic but I knew that I would prevail in the end and I did.

    I had a great career working with guided missiles,rocket engines and weapons systems. It was not about money but about “more.” While an undergraduate I took courses in ancient literature,biology and antropology. In fact I recieved a real education in college, apart from my major. I built on thse liberal arts courses over the years by reading great books and using my inate curiosity. It has given me a full life, Gentle Reader. This is what going to college should be about…not just finding job. If you want to find a good job and feed yourself…then learn a good trade. That is all!

  • NeatfreakKiNG

    College is only worth it if your parents/relatives are rich and willing to pay for your education or you’re able to get grants/scholarships.

    I Hate to say it but at the moment work experience counts for a lot more than a degree,more people need to start sending there kids off to trade schools or just going to community colleges,universities and colleges are just not worth the investment anymore unless you qualify for the things above.

    Also people need to realize the harsh truth “Getting a degree does not guarantee you a job anywhere”,I could tell you all a few horror stories of people I know who have spent the last 4-8 years in college only to get out and have only basic jobs hiring.

    Imagine paying a 60,000$ student loan with a walmart salary.

  • http://www.trident.edu Trident Online Universities

    College isn’t just about job training or earning a high salary; I think that in general, graduates tend to be more productive, have more developed critical thinking skills and tend to be more involved with their communities.

  • Kent H

    The thing is, that your degree is useless if you don’t have a goal for it before you start. Remember that Harvard study that followed students with MBAs? It found that only 3% of the students had written goals going in, but – of those who did have goals, the all made something like 5X more money.
    http://www.goldsenze.com

  • K Walker

    I am 25 with a high school diploma. I have been thinking of going back to school, but I am not sure if it’s worth it or not. I jumped into sales right out of high school and since that time I have made from $35,000-$58,000 annually. Most co-workers within my company have 4-yr degrees or pursuing them and make less than me (And they are older than me). I am getting tired of the “chase” that comes along with sales and I want something a little more stable and consistent; commission is GREAT, but NOT consistent. I have learned a lot and I truly believe experience is huge and very beneficial compared to only having a college degree listed on your CV/resume. I think a good combination of education and experience is key.

  • Jay

    I have guys making 60K plus a year in the oil fields with no education at 21. I have experienced guys with no education making 100K plus a year with no education.

    Diesel mechanics with a 2yr degree can earn over 100k where i work. So screw college. We laugh at college degrees and call them secretaries.

  • wake up

    who can see things getting better when the job fields doing most long term permanent damage to the planet and our ecosystem and food supply and water and increasing poverty and health care costs and TRILLIONS in climate change catastrophe costs not even counting ‘mitigation’ pay the most money (per above) while fu*(ing raw the ordinary middle class schlub? if you do, please share. even though Congress and govt. owned by these corporations couldnt give a sh*( what actual humans think anyway. if you disagree with this sentiment, please share.

    I think college is ‘worth it’ other places which value education and respect science. in US not so much….all mcjobs or jobs like oil fields paying uneducated ignorant people who are willing to literally f*( themselves and everybody else like gulf oil workers…whole gulf and every animal dy*(ng from cancer. takes a real soulless piece of sh*( to not care about it…but if you have no soul come on down! there is a job waiting for you….to screw over every other creature on the planet!!! just ignore/deny it!!!

  • wake up

    I agree above that GOP hates college folks who are intelligent enough to think for themselves. but also more in US need actual trades…most govt. ‘work’ makes no sense and is a lot of ‘good ole boy’ bs…most intelligent productive dont get promoted typically….and it is really really hazardous to your spiritual growth. but that is also far fetched for religious right in US who are all antichrist anyway. or antichrist teaching…..

    real interesting time to be on this planet with a lot of people with no clue and still overbreeding with no future and astronomical debt there is no way to pay back…speaking of which what happened to hysteria over US being unable to pay debt and increased borrowing costs from being downgraded for first time in history???

    US media nonstop coverage for six months. then inevitable happened. and not a peep…college isnt worth it typically but people in US DO need to turn off boob tube and think for themselves….US media is just a tool for brainwashing. ‘us vs. them’ and never 99% vs. corporations actually *********** you!!!

  • wake up

    there HAS to be a major major crash coming as most above state. you cant work a mao mart job which pays ZERO health benefits (it is all on public dime but somehow ISNT socialist???) and you owe fifty grand….and you will never ever ever in ten lifetimes pay it off. homeownership often touted is just the only way left for bankrupt municipalities to balance the books by fu(*ing over property owners. another scam!!! you can always tell the worst thing to do by counting amount of brainwashing: fracking then ‘corn sugar’ and now realtors.com commercials about buying a home with TONS of expenses prop tax school tax etc..and it is all on YOU!!!!whether you like it or not….

    remember nonstop flipping shows on every network and then immed. all gone…because it is now a giant anchor in US to own property…as every town is totally 100% bankrupt and will get worse with climate change costs….in tens of BILLIONS just last year…we wont tax super rich or corporations or stop half of budget going to ‘defense’ so where will all money come from for bankrupt cities?? wake up.

  • wake up

    above comment makes no sense that college is worth it because it is so easy to get into!!!!

    everybody can pollute all they want in the US with no costs except to society at large which is eventually YOU down the line. doesnt mean you should do it! it all ‘trickles down’. another way to say trickle down like radical right say all the time like a mantra is ‘sh!t rolls downhill’.

    college in US is too easy to get into because every school is now supported by corporations..most are now just a diploma mill and gravy train for corporations who own the schools create the textbooks and design ‘curriculum’ own the minds and get the publicity/goodwill for further brainwashing…even public art is now ‘corporate’ art in the US…in beijing during world fair, US was only venue where entire thing was just corporate slogans. US is just a corporation now. college is useless when right wing get rid of unions and everybody is just a peon. think about it!! use those critical thinking skills if you still have any! which is dubious these days. US hates history or edits it, hates science, hates evolution, hates biology (womens’ rights). what would right wing need with college? there are no classes left they ‘believe’ in.

  • freethinker

    Yea it may be expensive, but who wants to do the same job their whole life when they can get a Liberal Arts degree and get the job they desire and have the availabilty of other pathways when doors close.

  • Ejamhou

    I think that it’s sad that in this day in age a person can’t get a decent job with a college education. If you don’t plan to be a engineer, or pursue other hard sciences and math then DON’T GO TO COLLEGE and get a worthless degree. It will ruin your credit and you will be 35 years old working as a cashier.
    Self educate for free from the library or other free source. Focus on vocational training programs that give REAL work skills. Imagine being 25 years, no debt,good credit and owning a house, with a good job(because you spent the last 7 years earning seniority and respect). Additionally, if you have ANY money to spend on college, INVEST it instead! You will supervise 25 year olds coming out college with very little work experience and 100k in debt. You will be laughing at them and they’ll be kicking themselves.

  • Glen

    The Best answer is to go to a Community College
    and complete a certificate or Associate’s Degree
    in a critical field – Manufacturing / Machine
    Technology, Robotics, or Medical Technology.

    Community Colleges are just as rigorous, with
    instructors dedicated to quality teaching, not
    research.

    If you wish to continue to a four-year degree,
    a number of schools cater to mature working
    adults with night and weekend classes.

    Many employers will pay for further education.

    The “Residential” college – with dormatories,
    athletics, and social clubs is obsolete.

    Technical – Vocational education is where
    the REAL action is – Today and Tomorrow.

  • Carlos Botero

    In the region of Latinoamerica where I come from, if you don’t finish your career at the university before 30, your job prospects become practically zero.
    And a university degree takes 5 f…#%!…ing years!
    Basically, it’s not worth your time and expectations. Often what is taught is profoundly dysfunctional from what you really need.
    I studied engineering (electronics) because I was quite immature to figure out a better choice and because my parents were relentlessly pushing me to get a degree. Today I deeply regret not to have followed my gut instincts and my own path.
    Way more important is the personal and emotional fulfillment, and when you get to know the thing that makes you happy, with positivism and fair work, you will be able to achieve the goals and attract the economic support that you may need.
    From a practical side, studying something is useless, except when you make a clear and verifiable application on your own life. The best option is to choose a job or a profession that you like, and start working at a very young age, with a low position, and study short courses through time to get the respective promotions. Or even better, if you can create a product that you can sell, without excessive time to get prepared, you will not be dependent on the rat race that many have to endure.

  • timf

    I thought you might get a kick out of this, a free pdf booklet showing
    a humorous and irreverent look at college

    http://christianpioneer.com/blogarchieve/go2college.pdf