HS4CC Fallacy: Labeling

If your teen is studying Psychology or Logic, you may have explored certain fallacies or beliefs that we succumb to from time to time. This post explores Homeschooling for College Credit fallacies that may happen to YOU! You’re probably oversimplifying (and overcomplicating things) if you catch yourself saying labeling complex decisions with simple labels like “good college” or “good education.”

“The more I learn, the less I know” -Socrates

Chart by Kenneth Klabunde

Picking a College is Hard

Picking a college is too hard for most of us. In fact, despite spending the past 10 years doing nothing but learning about colleges obsessively, I can tell you it’s an impossible task.

  1. There is no such thing as the perfect fit. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can approach the question with wisdom. In truth, out of 3,800 colleges, your teen would probably do fine at most of them.
  2. There is no such thing as the perfect college. Colleges aren’t capable of being perfect, and even if we had a magic wand that created a perfect college, that college will continue to change with each new faculty member and administrator.
  3. All colleges have flaws: they employ people! Whether it’s a helpful cafeteria worker, a profoundly caring professor, or a careless advisor giving you bad advice, colleges are just businesses that employ imperfect people. There is never an “all good” or “all bad” college- even when the press says otherwise.
  4. Most people don’t know most colleges. Try this game. Think of every single college you know. Before you write, let me give you some freebies. I’ll give you credit for all the University of (state) x 50 since we have 50 states, there are at least 50 of those. Then, I’ll give you credit for (State) University x 50 since we also have at least 50 of those. I’ll give you +10 for your favorite football teams, +10 for the Ivies and those you think are Ivy but aren’t, and I’ll give you another +10 for those colleges in your town. I’ll give you +20 for the colleges you can name that friends and family have attended (or wanted to attend), and another +10 for the colleges that churn out the bulk of professionals in your occupation. Keeping track? That’s 160. Beyond the 160 I gave you, how many more can you add to that list? 10? 20? 50? If your list contains more than 200 colleges you’re EXCEPTIONAL at this game and I applaud you! In truth, most people can’t name more than 1 or 2 colleges beyond the freebies I gave them. In case you’re wondering, there are just over 3,800 regionally accredited legit colleges that award degrees. That means that even the most exceptional among us only “know” about 5% of the colleges out there. Real comparison is impossible, real assessment doesn’t happen, and beyond a few popular names- no one knows what makes any one college better or worse than another.
  5. There is “elite” and then the rest of the pile. If you can get into Harvard, go to Harvard. If you can get into MIT, go to MIT. No question the prestige of the brand will multiply your chances of success. That said, if you’re not getting into Harvard, if you’re not getting into MIT, then it’s not going to matter to the extent that you probably think. Mid-tier schools, which sometimes charge top-tier prices, are just as unknown as low-tier schools. It’s significantly easier to get into a prestigious college for a master’s degree than for a bachelor’s degree- so if you still want a fancy brand, go cheap for undergrad and buy an expensive (and presitgious) graduate degree. Beyond the brand name, you’ll separate yourself from the middle of the pile significantly. Only 13% of people in the USA have a master’s degree or higher, that’s a double whammy worth paying for.
  6. Getting into college isn’t the problem- getting OUT is the problem. Getting out is a real problem. College graduation rates from 4 year colleges, at the 6 year mark, are only just barely above 50%. This means that only half the kids are ever graduating, and of those that do, it’s taking way longer than they thought.

As you tackle the big question of where to go to college, understanding that none of us are immune to hype and propaganda, but at the end of the day, we’re buying a credential. I’ll give you some tips that “I” think are important, but at the end of the day, anyone (including me) that thinks they have this figured out, has a lot to learn.

HS4CC Tips for Choosing a College

  • Regionally accredited as a minimum filter.
  • Allows you to bring in 30-90 college credits from other sources.
  • Is transparent so you can carefully plan 30-90 college credits in advance.
  • Allows full and part time attendance options -life happens.
  • Allows in person or online attendance options – life happens.
  • Employs full time teachers/professors for courses in your major.
  • Strives to foster a connection with industry / occupations for the majors they offer.

Author:

Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit

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