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  • One of the best investments you can make. More on that later…
  • Does it really matter which college you go to? I don't know yet, and all the hype can be pretty misleading…
    • The U.S. News and World Report rankings paint with a pretty broad brush, and aren't necessarily correlated to instruction quality.
      • Kids at state schools are going to leave at times!
      • Why would deans and high school counselors know what of their peers' schools are best?! Why give them ~25% weighting!
      • Of course the incoming kids will be better if you're more selective. The charter of a state school is <basically> to educate everyone. And the people that don't want to be there will be weeded out, leaving everyone else.
  • Don't stick with the assigned textbook. Search Amazon for reviews of it and other textbooks to get an idea of what things you like. Keywords of mine are “intuitive”, “application”, etc. Example: Calculus by Stewart is lower-rated probably because it's a difficult book to weed through / does a lot of proofs, whereas Calculus an Intuitive Approach by Kline people love a lot more. For me, it might have just been that it was my first time learning calculus, but we'll see

Talk with FIRST Robotics students

Video by Marty Nemko

  • Most professors are hired for research abilities and for doing really niche research. Most undergrads don't need to know that though…
  • Most colleges don't improve critical thinking skills.
  • Community colleges are a great deal!
  • Ask your potential college, what are your:
    • Graduation rates for people similar to me
    • Employment rates, and not faking it either!
    • Typical costs for students similar to me
    • Contacts of graduated students with similar major who I can talk candidly with about job prospects and quality of education. Or better yet, just look at the graduation / dean's list and friend them on Facebook yourself!

Don't Go Back To School


Instead of haphazardly stumbling down your dorm hallway, you'll learn how to create intentional communities based on common values. (in your community!)

I wonder how well their arguments hold for really difficult topics, say mathematics / physics. For now I think the biggest benefit of college is being able to talk to a professor during office hours / meet with other students, which they rebut above.

College Conspiracy

    • A very conspiratorial movie with not a lot of cause and effect presented, just big scary numbers and blaming going on. A few redeeming points though:
  • “College graduates make $1,000,000 more than H.S. grads over their lifetime.” Once you factor in college debt and lost earning potential, the amount goes down by $500,000.
  • Someone has to pull the horse, not everyone can ride in the buggy!
  • College is worthless! m(


  • College is a great place for demolishing the high school thought <of mine> that you can judge people in a 5 second glance. The overweight kid with the giant beard is probably mad smart and doesn't have time to “keep appearances”. The asian girl that speaks english like a 2nd grader is probably AWESOME in her native tongue and is forced to go to school in another country in another language and might still be beating you on exams. Also, people with weird quirks usually are very strong in other areas, you just have to find out what they are :-) Enjoy!
    • Also, be sure to transfer the same knowledge outside of school. People have really interesting stories and wisdom, even if they're not “smart” in an academic sense.
    • Surviving studying music prepares you for the worst that the world has to offer you, and most of them make it out okay. At least you get to do what you really like the whole time!

A Scholar's Lament

Graduation 2013

I've been thinking through this today, trying to figure out what to say. I can't fully describe it yet, but I have one of the worst kinds of regret.
I slaved over exams and long problem sets, kept my time close to my chest for some knowledge and sleep that I thought would prove to be the best.
I have settled for numerous “hello's” in the hall, and sometimes even avoiding you so that I wouldn't have to face my failure and fall.
It's easy to blame others for this transformation: my professors, the homework, the whole broken creation.
But, in the end, it was an awkward decision.
Although I attempted to reconcile to you in my head, I never once asked if you wanted to be fed.
There are many more thoughts that I wish to say here, but I must end soon and wipe away these tears.
Please help me to be less a machine and more a person, one with emotions, feelings, and cares for the next door man and woman.
Gently remind me of this in the dance called friendship, and I will quickly move to make things right once again.
Let us not be merely faces in some book that's online, but rather friends in all spaces, a relationship that's built tough over time.

How Do I Pay For It?

  • Very wisely. I would recommend trying to pass out of as many first and second-year gen ed and otherwise courses as possible. Either take them as AP or at a Community College (not as reliable of grade-transferring, but ask about it). My intro classes were either easier or unreasonably more difficult than AP or CC. I would still try and enter as a freshman at university (being a freshman is pretty fun, you make lots of friends in the dorms too) and not transfer in as a sophomore (although you will by credit).
    • Doing this allows you to take more senior level classes earlier and generally have a funner time at college!
  • 5 Key Steps To College and Scholarship Applications. Document/presentation I made in high school about my learnings of the financial aid process. Biggest thing was that CMU (and maybe other high-endowment schools) gave a very generous financial aid package, despite my parents making >$50,000 combined and the school's tuition alone costing >$35,000 a year!

Local Scholarships

  • Much easier to get than large national scholarships. You just have to do some digging…described in the above document.
    • Elks Clubs (often have local branches that do mini competitions and qualify you for regional and state competitions!)
    • SEMI Pacific Northwest Scholarship
    • TechStart Foundation
    • Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship
    • Google Search “'College Name' + 'Major' + Scholarship” and see what you find.
      • Some departmental scholarship programs are not as publicized by the school as others. Sometimes there are separate applications too
      • Obviously best to do once you've decided on a school and gotten in there.

Good Blogs

  • Study Hacks Blog: Great blog by Cal Newport for managing your first few years in college. Posts new articles a few times a week.
    • Interesting social integration of students searching for colleges and colleges searching for students. Allows hosting of images, movies, etc., features ad-free scholarship searches, and allows you to “shout out” to a school.
home/college.txt · Last modified: 2019/12/24 15:33 by admin