What To Consider When Deciding On College, Part Two
Hopefully, you read part one of this series before coming here. If you haven’t here is a quick recap: the only people who should go to college are people who a) need a professional credential b) are very smart and can go to a top university.
If you fit into either of those categories keep reading. You might also want to keep reading if you are a parent, or just curious about the nature of college in the current year.
So you’ve chosen to go to college. Maybe no one has been able to talk you into a trade school, or just getting a job and working your way up. Understandable, the media portrays those without degrees as some kind of lesser person, and you don’t want to be there. Fine. The next step is picking the right college.
When someone asks me for advice on which college to attend my answer is generally, “go to the best college you can afford.”
Sound advice for anyone, but how to you implement it? Let’s find out. First, what does that “best” part mean?
Throughout your life you’ve probably seen many successful people, leaders of business, government, entertainment, the media and other high profile positions talk about their time at Harvard, Yale, Columbia or some other top of the line school. Well here is the truth cis het white male: your ancestors built those institutions, but you are not likely welcome at them. Diversity is the name of the game at universities, and the Ivy League is all about it (unless they are judging you on which prep school you went to, or how much money you family donated).
Prestige seems important at eighteen. Choosing your university is probably the biggest choice of your life to that day, and it is the most important. Well here is the deal, unless you can go to one of about a dozen name brand schools, that is, mostly Ivy League schools but also include Cal, Stanford, Caltech, MIT and Chicago, it doesn’t really matter where you go.
That’s the truth.
Calculus is calculus, and you’ll be subject to the same Marxist interpretation of US history no matter where you go. Many universities use Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States as their default history text. And yes, pretty much every university in the US will require you to dedicate a year of study to diversity or multicultural credits. Strychnine or Hemlock, pick your poison.
However, just because the curriculum and political bias are the same across undergraduate programs that doesn’t mean some choices aren’t better than others. There are factors smart students will consider when picking a university.
Outside of those universities I just mentioned there are two tiers of universities you should be considering, the public ivies, little ivies, and the southern ivies. Universities that fall into either of these categories generally have good reputations nationwide and will provide you with more name recognition than a regional university. However, finances (which will be the topic of a future article in this series) should be a major part of your decision. If you happen to be located in a state with a public ivy I would recommend taking that school over a southern or little ivy especially if the cost of living is more affordable.
Now, there is a trick to this. If as I said in the previous column you are attending a university because you are extremely smart you’ll probably want to attend a university knowing approximately what you would like to study. Science majors tend to know they are interested in physics or chemistry early and if you intend to make professional science your career you’ll need to attend a school with a great reputation in that department.
That’s the catch. If you are smart enough to attend one of these top universities you should have a general notion of what you want to study. If you don’t know what you are interested in professionally you should really reconsider why you intend to attend a university regardless of your intellectual ability.
Now, for those who know they intend to become professors, scientists, doctors or engineers there is another component of your undergraduate education you’ll want to consider, the ability to participate in undergraduate research. There are many universities that have excellent departments or colleges dedicated to one branch of inquiry, but which overall are not always highly recognized. For example, one of the most prestigious geology degrees is from the Colorado School of Mines. The university itself is a quality school but it doesn’t have some of that name recognition. But if you attend this level of university, and engage in undergrad research, go to conferences, possibly even get a publication out that will put you miles ahead of a student from a more well-known university when it comes to applying to grad school. Sometimes the recognition an individual program receives should be your major factor in the decision to attend.
This brings us to another class of university, that which is locally or regionally recognized but isn’t generally considered a tier 1 university. Now, remember when I said the other reason to attend a university was to obtain a credential? That is where this category of university comes in. They are fully accredited and able to offer you that teaching certificate or that nursing degree, but simply because most are indistinguishable their name recognition isn’t’ great enough to get you that summer internship at a Fortune 500 company. That’s not a bad thing.
If you want to be a teacher obtaining a degree from your state university is perfectly reasonable and respectable. It’s also probably the wiser financial decision.
There are some of you with skills such as music or acting. Some of you are wondering what to do about an education in the arts. First, hats off to you. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself in the culture wars, especially as someone attempting to obtain an education in one of America’s most left-wing majors. Second, you should treat BFA (bachelors of fine arts) the way you would a teaching degree. No one has ever been denied a recording contract simply because they didn’t have a degree from Julliard. Thus, if you major in a fine art, understand, you will likely be teaching that art. And that goes double for English majors who want to be novelists.
So we come to the question you’re asking, are there any schools for right wingers? Are there any schools where being a white male isn’t inherently a bad thing?
The sad fact is there really isn’t. Maybe you’ve heard of Hillsdale College. It’s said to be Harvard for conservatives, but from what I can tell that means it’s a good college. But from what I can also tell Hillsdale is also a school where people believe George W. Bush dindu nuffin wrong, if Reagan did it, it was good, and losing honorably is preferable to getting your bowtie in a knot. If feel like this is where Alex P. Keaton would be teaching civics today.
Slim pickings friends.
Oh, and some parting advice. If you absolutely have to go, then don’t go into college to just get fat, drunk and stupid.