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Education and future job opportunities 
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Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:59 pm
Posts: 39
Post Education and future job opportunities
Hey guys, I'm wondering if I even need to go to college.

You see, I was poking around the internet when I came up on this http://herkimer.smartcatalogiq.com/en/2014-2015/College-Catalog/Policies-Procedures-Services/Admissions/American-College-TestingProficiency-Examination-Program-ACTPEP

and this

https://clep.collegeboard.org/ (apparently mostly only for people enrolled in a college).

Now, while both of these allow me to get college credit for colleges, I was wondering if there were any applications beyond skipping some college classes.

Mainly

Can I get any college credit without going to college? Can I get a job that requires a degree without going to college?

I want to go either into a Chemistry, Material science, Geology or Meteorology.

While I'm almost sure that this doesn't exist, I would like to know if any of you have resources you can share.




If you don't have any resources, I would like to know from those of you currently in the job market how much which college I attend will affect my ability to land a job.

Thank you.

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Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:36 pm
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Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:33 pm
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Post Re: Education and future job opportunities
Game Theory wrote:
Hey guys, I'm wondering if I even need to go to college.
To earn a decent living? No, for that the trades are enough, but for what you're interested in...

Game Theory wrote:
I want to go either into a Chemistry, Material science, Geology or Meteorology.
Maybe you could get around college, but at least for Chemistry you'd be best off with college, even if only for the ever-simple reason that they have the equipment already. Also, at least for Meteorology, I wouldn't be surprised if college was worth it for even just the connections alone (never underestimate that).

As far as which college, research their reputations. A good route might be to look up some people in the fields you're interested in, and ask for their advice (e.g., if you want to work with high explosives, look up some of the names in the "Things I won't work with" and "Things I'm glad I don't do" categories here: such things, much like meteorology in general, are specialized). Also, if the college you go to is associated with a community college as well, then pay careful attention to how that works: it can sometimes meaningfully reduce your costs.

Out of the list, Geology is the only one that I would even consider a half serious non-college choice, and I suspect that you really want that degree for the good stuff (and maybe any actual job, as I haven't looked Geology up).


Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:05 pm
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Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:55 am
Posts: 26
Post Re: Education and future job opportunities
What college should teach you, in order of importance:
  • A Habit of studying and learning new things, of keeping up to date in your field.
  • How you as a person study and learn effectively, what things work for you.
  • How to approach getting answers to your problems - where to look for information.
  • A basic idea of what's involved in your chosen profession.
  • Common strategies, procedures, practices for your chosen profession.
  • A whole bunch of facts.
  • How to look at both sides of an argument, understand what your opponent is saying, and make a meaningful response.
  • A basic awareness of how people differ from you and how to get along with them.

Notice how facts are actually near the bottom of the list? If you know how to find out information, then you don't need to memorize facts. For instance, I've forgotten all the calculus rules/techniques for taking derivatives and integrals, but I know what a derivative is and I know what an integral is, and I know that I can get that information from a textbook or online if I ever need it.

Now days college is seen as a rite of passage, a proof if you will that you can work hard enough to pass through 4 years of classes in order to demonstrate that on the job you can work hard enough to warrant them hiring you. Facts are stressed because they are measurable and can be used to prove that you've done your work. Facts determine grades, and grades determine your starting position... But 20 years from now, where you are in your profession will be determined by how well you keep up to date with emerging technologies, not by what grades you got.

So yes, if you could teach yourself how to learn effectively, you may not need college. But most people aren't motivated like that. And without a college diploma you'd have a heck of a time getting a job because it's a rite of passage. But if you're in that 2% who are just that hard working and smart, you can make it work. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to found a little software company in his Garage. Closer to our age, Edward Snowden never graduated from college, but regardless of your political opinion, you have to admit that he had a very good job.


Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:21 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:47 am
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Post Re: Education and future job opportunities
Game Theory wrote:
Can I get any college credit without going to college? Can I get a job that requires a degree without going to college?

I want to go either into a Chemistry, Material science, Geology or Meteorology.


Different universities have different standards. Some will allowCLEP tests and other exams to give you credit for classes you haven't taken, but others won't. Just because Herkimer gives class credits for the ACT-PEP test doesn't mean another college will. Make sure to ask. If they accept such programs and you decide you want a degree, as a recent graduate I highly recommend you use them whenever possible. The fee for a CLEP test is much less expensive than the tuition for a full class. Please note that college credits are only useful for graduating though. If you never got the diploma, employers usually won't care what classes you got credit for.

Whether you need a degree or not depends on what job you want. While I suggest you look yourself, a preliminary scan of jobs lists for the fields you are interested in suggest that MOST employers want at least a 4-year degree.

This isn't too surprising. If you were going into a skill-related field, it would be more a matter of what you know how to do rather than what facts you know. But all the fields you listed are science-heavy, and degrees tend to matter most in that area.

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Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:02 am
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