In the context of higher education, the image of an unruly mind usually involves visions of freshman dorm parties, fraternity antics and all the other stuff that inevitably happens when 18 year olds are suddenly living off the radar. For what it’s worth, the venerable Princeton Review produces an annual ranking of the top party schools in the country, a list closely scrutinized by high school seniors and parents alike. Concerned parents are facing college costs which could reach $250,000 or more for a degree from a private institution. Eager students are focused on that radar thing.
Even if you are not a member of the STEM elite, it is assumed that a college degree is a breakthrough achievement that sets you apart. At the very least, it is proof that you have jumped the twin hurdles of college acceptance and college graduation, regardless of what happened in between or how long it took. You are presumably a critical thinker who no longer takes things at face value, knows how to gather and assess the facts, and can communicate your opinions coherently both orally and in writing. You know a little about a lot, which should sustain you until you find your niche in life, and proceed to a state of financial independence where someone will pay you to know a lot about a little.
You are also, on average, shouldering a debt load of around thirty grand. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 19 of the 20 occupations expected to add the most new jobs over the next 10 years do not require a Bachelor’s degree. Understandably, many self-taught critical thinkers are holding this up against the aforementioned benefits and asking – is it worth it?