The Chrysler A500 was built as a standard 4 speed automatic transmission. If you probe a little deeper into its inner workings, you’ll find it can be modified in any number of surprising ways that will tremendously increase its power. Many feel the same could be said about a standard college education. And college has become standard; most of us are set on track for college starting around pre-school and so it’s a decision many are hesitant to second guess; it’s a decision we often feel has been made for us before we ever even heard of college. Yet it’s a huge decision. Education is what we do with the first twenty-two or so years of our lives and those are pretty important years. We’re learning how to think and how to interact with the people and the world around us; we’re working to discover what we love and what matters most to us; in short: we are becoming who we are.
The abominable state of student loans being what it is, growing numbers of young people are moved to jump off the college train in an attempt to gain some perspective and perhaps redefine the nature of education. Here are a few youth education movements premised on self-teaching and real world experiential learning.
As a freshman in an undergraduate degree program, UnCollege founder and chief educational deviant Dale J. Stephens found himself endlessly frustrated with high education. So much so that he was inspired to drop out and begin his own alternative education program designed to assist like-minded peers. He has since written a book on the subject called, Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will, as well as the UnCollege Manifesto, which begins: “UnCollege is a social movement designed to help you hack your education. This manifesto will show you how to gain the passion, hustle, and contrarianism requisite for success — all without setting foot inside a classroom.”
Zero Tuition College
ZTC is for self-directed learners. They define themselves by:
1. The idea that you don’t need a college degree to find success.
2. A specific strategy for self-directing your education (as explained in the book Better Than College).
3. A community website that helps self-directed learners connect with each other.
ZTC is not: a brick-and-mortar college, a “free college for everyone” movement, or a business.
Enstitute is a non-profit “implementing a new low-cost model of higher education. With an apprenticeship-based “Learn by Doing” approach that pairs students with their interests, Enstitute is turning startups and small businesses into classrooms. Enstitute works with the best entrepreneurs and innovators to educate tomorrow’s workforce, revitalize economies, and transform lives through entrepreneurship focused education.”
There are loads of ways to deal with the cost of college, from choosing the right school for your needs, to finding the right major, to choosing an alternative to college altogether. What’s important is to recognize that the right option exists for everyone seeking to live life to the fullest, including those who have found themselves in the midst of a student debt crisis. Indebted students can rely on student aid organizations with the expertise to manage debt.