The Distance Learner

Advice on earning a college degree through distance education

Phyllis Schlaffly: College Not Always Necessary

While the price of a college education has skyrocketed far faster than inflation, many careers for which colleges prepare their graduates are disappearing. U.S. News‘ Best Careers guide concludes that “college grads might want to consider blue-collar careers” because B.A. diploma holders “are having trouble finding jobs that require college-graduate skills.”

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Why It Doesn't Pay to Get Straight a's in College

I worked hard to get good grades my first few years of college. My last year, I was tired of the whole college deal (and was working full time in my career field already) so I didn’t stress out quite so much about getting straight A’s.

I still got a decent GPA, but in the end it didn’t really matter since I’ve never had a potential employer ask about my grades. They generally only care about whether or not I can do the work.

Being good at book learning rarely equates to being good at any particular job.

Does studying for 60 to 80 hours a week, pulling all-nighters and not having time for socializing describe your college life? It describes 25-year-old Jon Morrow’s, and in this retrospective essay he questions whether it was worth it.

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Career Advice for the College Grad

Get Rich Slowly is a personal finance blog that I track regularly. One recent post was about how important it is to have actual job experience after graduating.

The premise of the article is that a typical college grad won’t have any experience and will be forced to take an entry-level position as a receptionist or mail clerk. Gradually, the grad will be able to work him/herself up to a more interesting position with better pay. The author gets it wrong, though, when she says that working a boring post-graduation job is inevitable.

It’s true that a grad coming from a traditional college setting typically has little choice in the matter. But by earning a degree through distance education you can get the “peon job” period out of the way while you’re studying and be ready to enter a better paying, more interesting job upon graduation (if not sooner).

Why prolong the process of securing a decent job if you don’t have to? Distance education leaves your schedule flexible enough to accommodate experimentation in a variety of job fields without suffering through the post-graduation doldrums of a boring entry-level position.

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Interesting Quote

I was reading over a page of quotes today and came across this one from an unknown source:

“A knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without the Bible.”

How very true!

Read the full page of quotes.

Mini-revolt at Macalester College

This article by Katherine Kersten perfectly illustrates what a struggle it can be to encourage even a small amount of intellectual diversity on a college campus. If students are steeped in course material like this day in and day out, how can they help but pick up the leftist mantra?

Take the Macalester curriculum. What comes to mind when you think of an American Studies Department? At Macalester, its overwhelming focus is on race, gender and ethnic minorities. For example, you can take a course like “Black Queer Positionality: Narration, Negotiation, Identity,” which aims to “more fully understand and articulate a black queer ‘theory in the flesh.’ ”

“Macalester talks a good game of diversity,” said Joseph Schultz, who graduated in 2006 and is a leader of the group. “But they don’t have the kind that really counts: intellectual diversity.”

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Thanks for Attending

To those of you who made it to my talk at NCHE last Saturday, thanks for attending! One gentleman pointed out to me afterwards that Baker’s Guide to Christian Distance Education by Jason D. Baker was not listed in the handout. I apologize for the oversight. Aside from the book, Baker also has a new web site that provides a lot of good information on distance learning. Finally, if you didn’t get a copy of the handout at my talk then you can download a PDF version of it. Feel free to e-mail me with any additional questions you may have.

What Can Distance Education Do for You?

Here’s an interesting article about distance education that was published by a news station in Madison, Wisconsin. Despite the fact that it’s targeted at adults who want to go back to school, it contains a good overview of distance education along with some valuable warnings about what to watch out for when picking a program.

Speaking at NCHE Again This Year

I’ll be speaking at the North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE) state conference in Winston-Salem again this year. I’m giving my distance education talk on Saturday, May 26th, from 12:30 to 1:30 PM in South Main 3. A few of the points I’ll cover include:

  • Why distance education is a good alternative to traditional college for homeschool graduates
  • How I earned my own four-year degree through distance education
  • Which colleges currently offer distance education and how to choose wisely from among them
  • An overview of the different methods that can be used to earn credit through distance education (portfolio review, CLEP, etc.)

There will be a few surprises too! I hope to see you there.

More Programs Offer Free Tuition

For the student who is really looking to cut costs, here is an informative article contributed by one of our readers. It seems that more and more colleges and universities are offering enough tuition assistance to basically eliminate most or all of the cost of earning a degree. Of course, you typically must meet certain criteria to be eligible for such programs.

The interesting thing here is that, despite common perception, many distance education schools are now offering similar programs. When it comes to scholarships and other financial assistance, distance education programs are no different than traditional college programs.

In fact, one barrier to earning a college degree that was brought up in the article (namely, the inability for lower income students to sacrifice their work income for spending time in school) becomes a moot point when pursing a degree through distance education. Students can study in the evening and on weekends and work during the day. As tuition for distance education programs continues to fall, this option will become more and more viable for a broader range of American students.

Read the full article at U.S. News.