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View Full Version : Article: Money Magazine's new college rankings finally get it right for students



Topsy
07-15-2015, 12:30 PM
Money Magazine?s new college rankings finally get it right for students - The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/07/13/money-magazines-new-college-rankings-finally-get-it-right-for-students/)

Holy cannoli. There's nothing like looking at this list and realizing that you would never, ever have been able to afford to go to college in this current day and age. I'm now feeling like I actually STOLE my degree compared to the prices of today's top choices.

Anyhoo, I thought this would still be a good share for those of you who are in deep dark college choice mode. ;)

CrazyMom
07-15-2015, 01:30 PM
When you're comparing a few different 4-year schools....here are a few things to look up and consider:

1. Total 4 year cost on average.
2. Average debt of a graduate.
3. Percent of students who graduate! (PLEASE look this one up! For so many colleges, it's below 50%!)
4. Percent of students who are employed in their field within 6 months of graduation.

If you're gonna get the loans and take the risks...you should know what your odds are.

Topsy
07-15-2015, 08:35 PM
Speaking of which, I just guest posted over at LHSHS this week on the subject of whether you can perhaps "homeschool college" nowadays! :D Why Not Just Homeschool College? (http://letshomeschoolhighschool.com/2015/07/14/homeschool-college/)

CrazyMom
07-16-2015, 03:34 AM
There are a lot of challenges that come with online-only education. Some that will improve in the coming years, and some that can't be fixed.

If you've got a kid who wants to go into research, allied health, anything that requires hands on learning, labs, internships, apprenticeships or practical examinations....online learning isn't going to work. That said, there will be a few classes they can take online, and sometimes that's helpful and convenient. (I've taken online classes, and enjoyed them)

The biggest problem currently, is that many employers don't yet trust online-only degrees. The real world contacts, relationships, and experiences within the industry don't exist for online learners in the same way that they do with traditional students who have internships and collaborative experiences. School reputation is influential in the job market when you're a newbie.

One of the reasons employers might be hesitant to trust online learners.....is documentation. How do they know you're the person who did the work and wrote the tests for that degree? Unless you're going to a physical testing center and proving your identity each time you have a test that affects your grade....anyone could be earning those grades for you. Even if you're going to a testing center for all of your finals and midterms, and those tests count for 50% of your grade....there is still enough undocumented wiggle room for you to hold credits and grades you didn't earn.

Many online schools allow online testing and completion of courses....with no physical testing location, and without ever confirming that you're the one doing the work. For many employers, that's fairly off-putting.

On the bright side....if you happen to already be working in an industry, and are getting a degree to advance.....many employers will balance your online-credential with your work ethic and reputation as an employee....and give you full consideration, online be damned.

Diploma Mills: If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. "Get Educated" is an online consumer guide for online colleges. It has a free screening service called Diploma Mill Police that can check if the college you are considering is a scam. Check the college's Better Business Bureau rating. Read reviews. And ask what percentage of their graduates are employed within six months of completing their programs. If they're legit, they'll have this statistic.

Reputation matters. Accreditation matters. Graduation and Employment rates matter. Do your research.

The whole point of college (to most folks) is using your education to become gainfully employed. Make sure that what you're doing has good chances of getting you there.

Soulhammer
07-16-2015, 05:33 AM
There's a real shift going on in higher ed and public high schools now, too, for that matter, with regard to online learning. Some high schools now require that students take a set number of online courses before graduation, for example. Down the road, online education will certainly be a part of the education of most people who get a college degree.

Getting a degree entirely online may not mean getting one from one of the well-known and often reviled for-profits. Many state schools, well-regarded ones among them, offer degrees partially or fully online, and a good chunk of them make no distinction whatsoever between a degree earned online or on the ground. You can get online undergrad degrees from the UMass and Penn State systems, for example. These degrees are not always cheaper, but they do provide flexibility that can ultimately save you some money on housing/meals if you stay at home and that allows you to work while you are in school.

As is the case with homeschooling, the way employers and grad schools view your education is very much a function of what you do with the freedom your nontraditional approach provides; you could get industry experience (get a job!), network, volunteer, get internships/apprenticeships not available to people stuck in class, or--for learners who are part of a the growing population of young adults who have adult-like responsibilities--take care of things at home.

There's also no reason why you can't complete your first two years of school cheaply online at your CC or by testing out using Saylor.org/CLEP/AP/DSST/UExcel exams/SAT IIs (in some cases), then transfer into a four-year school, with the caveats that you need to do your due diligence about what will transfer and that you may need to find an institution to transcript your credits from testing.

Here are two more resources for info on how to do it: DegreeInfo.com (http://www.degreeinfo.com/content/) (DegreeInfo Distance Learning - online degree forum - The Front Page (http://www.degreeinfo.com/content/)) and DegreeForum (http://www.degreeforum.net/forum.php?) (CLEP Forum - CLEP Study - CLEP Testing - Study Guide and Strategies (http://www.degreeforum.net/forum.php?))

Topsy
07-16-2015, 07:22 AM
The biggest problem currently, is that many employers don't yet trust online-only degrees. The real world contacts, relationships, and experiences within the industry don't exist for online learners in the same way that they do with traditional students who have internships and collaborative experiences. School reputation is influential in the job market when you're a newbie.

I think this is already shifting. In the company that I've worked with for years, the majority of jobs are in technology, and they are far more interested in skills than in training. When my son interviewed for his first job in the tech industry they didn't even want to see his resume or his transcript. They wanted him to be able to complete a series of tests on their servers to see if he was able to accomplish what they needed. A four year in computer science, for instance, is a joke anymore. By the time the student has graduated, all the technology has already progressed to a completely different point. My son's friends who wasted their time going that route tell him they would give anything if they had done what he did and gotten his associates degree and simply worked on all the programming and networking certifications one by one on his own. It's a case where colleges just aren't able to keep up with the technological advances of the job force. And the more technological the job force gets, the more that general liberal arts colleges are going to go the way of the dinosaur, methinks!

Riceball_Mommy
07-16-2015, 10:53 AM
I'd eventually like to get my BA or BFA but the cost is really standing in my way. Also as a stay at home mom right now I can't justify the price. I do wish there were more free online courses for art history at least. I love art history and it combines two things I'm passionate about. So if I went back to school I'd probably major in that. In the meantime though I'd love to do free online classes just because.

CrazyMom
07-16-2015, 12:29 PM
Topsy....My eldest bro tried to get a post office job right out of highschool because my dad had cancer, wasn't working, and all my parent's savings were gone. Was a pretty desperate time for our family, actually.

My bro did really well on the civil service testing (he's a brilliant guy), and happened to impress the interviewer with his interest and independent study of programing. This was in 1982...back in the days of CompuServe and nerds trading programs written in BASIC with data cassette recorders for $1.25 per minute on SLOW phone modems. We had a Commadore 128. This was back in the day when your middle school gym teacher "taught computers", and the curriculum consisted of writing a program to scroll your name across the black screen in amber or green letters a million times. Back when all the adults looked haunted when anyone said "computers" and shook their heads, worriedly.

My bro had such an extensive hobbyist interest, he talked about online vulnerabilities he'd been reading about, different programing languages he was researching, essentially spent most of his POST OFFICE interview...enthusiastically gushing about computers and programing.

He didn't get the postal job, and figured he's screwed up by going on about computers so much.....but felt that the interviewer asked so many questions about it, he felt obligated to respond. I remember my mom shook her fist at the sky in damnation of that pointless hobby that ruined his chances at a good job.

Three weeks later, at age 19, he was contacted by the US Department of Defense, and offered a job at a federal center doing a programming internship for the Defense Logistics Agency. I shit you not.

My bro has been working for Defense Logistics for over 30 years now. He did, eventually, get his BS in computer science taking classes two days a week on the government's dime. But he would agree with you that it's a useless degree....except that the credential was required to advance his career at the agency.

That's the bitch of it. Some companies will throw that barrier up in front of their most competent employees arbitrarily. Must have degree to advance.

fastweedpuller
07-16-2015, 12:56 PM
I'd eventually like to get my BA or BFA but the cost is really standing in my way. Also as a stay at home mom right now I can't justify the price. I do wish there were more free online courses for art history at least. I love art history and it combines two things I'm passionate about. So if I went back to school I'd probably major in that. In the meantime though I'd love to do free online classes just because.

RM, I have taken a couple Coursera classes, but I know there have to be a ton of art history courses out there...I knew many of the early adopters to MOOC like MIT have free online classes. So I went to MIT and found one, done in '10: Art Since 1940 (http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/architecture/4-651-art-since-1940-fall-2010/) Good luck, I am sure you can find more free art history courses out there. If not for credit then at least to get your mind working!

Riceball_Mommy
07-16-2015, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the link. I haven't looked in awhile, more must have popped up, that's great. I'll have to try out at least one course soon.

Topsy
07-17-2015, 07:26 AM
LOVE that story, CrazyMom!!!!