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College Debunked

by Kene Ezeaputa 2 months ago in college
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How to navigate college effectively.

College Debunked
Photo by Dom Fou on Unsplash

Everything you know about college is wrong. The average graduate from a four-year college will have 25k-37k in debt and projections have these numbers increasing. But college students don’t have to dampen their financial futures to pursue their degrees. There are two simple, fatal college mistakes that must be avoided. 1) not going to a school that puts you in the top half academically (GPA, SAT), and 2) not utilizing efficient course selection.

According to the "big fish, small pond" college theory, being a top student at a less selective school is preferable because confidence is acquired by relative position (your position relative to your peers) rather than absolute position (your position relative to everyone in your industry). Research shows this is especially true for stem majors because of the rigor of their studies. In his 2019 talk at Google zeitgeist, Malcolm Gladwell shows data that, regardless of school, the top third of STEM students earned 50% of the degrees and the bottom third of students earned about 15% of the degrees. Though there is evidence this distribution can be evened out through replacing an individual's relative hierarchy with an absolute hierarchy or growth mindset, it isn't smart to gamble on the most valuable degree for work in today's economy, especially with record high tuition that is on the rise. Gladwell states that for every increase of 10 points in the SAT score of your peers, your chance of graduating with a STEM degree falls by 2%. So the difference between choosing Harvard over Maryland University can be a 20% lower chance of getting your STEM degree. Then there is the idea that if you pick the best school you get into, you will have to fight harder for scholarships, making college more expensive. Being in the top half or third makes you competitive for scholarships and increases your chance of graduating in four years.

When you go to college, you have to fill your freshman and often sophomore years with classes known as "general education." These general education courses are not necessarily linked to your major and extend the amount of time it takes a student to get a degree. If this wasn't bad enough, these general education classes cost regular tuition. Fortunately, these classes can be fast tracked by taking them at a community college in between semesters where they are at a reduced cost. Most colleges, if not all, allow transfer for lower level courses (colleges will give guidelines for transfer credits on their websites). Completing classes at a community college will allow you to complete classes at a fraction of the cost and will enable an opportunity to take more classes than your college's limit. If you choose to go to a community college right out of high school, you can complete general education with the added bonus of having more time to decide on a major. A great supplement or alternative to community colleges are online courses like and CLEP (or DSST). Check with your school to see if exams are required. offers many online introductory or lower-level college classes taught by world-class professors using cinematic film to enhance the learning experience. The CLEP exams are very similar to the AP exams that you would take in high school to get college credit (the College Board administers both), but CLEPs are self-study. To complete a college degree in the most efficient manner, students ought to utilize self-study. Studying effectively can allow you to get credit for a college class in a single month. Some of the easiest CLEP exams include information systems, literature, college composition, languages (if you have a background), sociology, college math, social studies, marketing and management. The exams above can all be studied for and completed in a month if you're diligent. The stacking of four of these exams for a personal summer school could allow you to bypass four college classes for under $500 (each test is $90 at the time of this writing).

College doesn't have to be expensive. By utilizing community college and/or exams/courses, you can reasonably expect to get a degree with half the debt. Before you start studying, make sure the school you're transferring the credit to will accept it. To learn more about fast tracking college, check out the links below.

In good faith

Kene Ezeaputa

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About the author

Kene Ezeaputa

Trying to do my best

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