Choosing Direction in Education

I imagine that my connections on LinkedIn have or may soon experience what I enjoyed this year – getting one through college. What a wonderful sense of pride I had as a father watching my daughter complete her education in a field of her choice!
All her new hope was made possible by her hard work and stubbornness through good and bad times – with maybe a little help from mom and dad once in a while. Credit to those at the school she attended who actually assisted her in obtaining her degree. Shame to those who did not.
Leading to the point – our children have a right to choose their educational pathways, if not in whole, at least in a big part. We both learned a lot before, during and after our higher educational experience. The main thing I learned was that education has many options, benefits and pitfalls that can be avoided.
I am a big fan of tech schools, community colleges for general educational requirements and universities for 4 year degree completion (usually 5 years anymore). Not all career pathways require a 4 year degree any more than a 4 year degree provides you with a career. Sometimes, alternative degrees and program may be best suited for our sons and daughters.
Tech schools prepare their students for training and education in a certain field. These students don’t necessarily consider tuition expensive general educational requirements necessary for a particular skill set. These tech schools have a good feel for the job market and have vast networks in their communities for career opportunities. They have an excellent cost to value. They also have dedicated professional who guide their students into the skilled and highly technical labor force.
Community colleges are great opportunities to obtain general educational requirements and associate degrees which should transfer to a 4 year school if necessary, provided they have an arrangement with that 4 year university. They feature low student teacher ratios, Inexpensive tuition without all the grossly inflated fees. They also seldom feature classes taught by graduate assistants, research assistants, teaching assistants or folks who were not listed on the enrollment guide as the “professor”. I have also found better communication between professors and students at these schools mainly due to numbers – 30 students per class instead of 400 or more in a lecture hall.
Four year universities spend enough money on PR that I’m not going to say anything good or bad other than what I’ve already said. They advertise on television for heaven’s sake. These schools are different now than they were before they invented the INTERNET. I had real professors, paper tests and class attendance was required. We had no on-line programs. My college was not heralded, but it was a true and valuable education I had to have to be admitted to law school and my science education was a pre-requisite to taking the patent bar. I had real visits with my professors and didn’t wait for a response by e-mail. I walked in their office during hours and we spoke. They showed by how to do my work with a pencil on a piece of paper.
I simply encouraging you to check out and advise your students as to alternatives and make the education fit the career. Nothing is wrong with saving money and getting the best education for your dollar. My clients seldom ask me where I went to school. They ask me how much I charge and what have I done in my profession in the past. 
Education is a combination of tears and cheers and lots of hugs. Happy graduation my dearest. (Isn’t she cute in that hat?)
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

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