Arthur Brooks from the American Enterprise Institute recounts his college days for the NY Times Op-Ed page. Was it filled with raccoon coats, tea parties with brilliant professors and parking the dean’s Volvo in the chapel? Nope. He pieced his degree together from various correspondence schools and it all worked out okay. I suppose he could have worn a raccoon coat at home but I doubt it.
I followed the 10K-B.A. with a 5K-M.A. at a local university while working full time, and then endured the standard penury of being a full-time doctoral fellow in a residential Ph.D. program. The final tally for a guy in his 30s supporting a family: three degrees, zero debt.
Did I earn a worthless degree? Hardly. My undergraduate years may have been bereft of frissons, but I wound up with a career as a tenured professor at Syracuse University, a traditional university. I am now the president of a Washington research organization.
Everyone criticizing the low-end degrees for somehow being less than the expensive ones, but I often wonder if that’s the case. I’ve found that the kids at the fanciest schools are often more interested in Raccoon Coats than their lessons. In many cases, all of the climbing walls and ass. deans are just distractions. Real learning happens when students sit down and read a book. Almost everything else is just distraction.
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