The intellectual benefits of attending a university or college are vastly overrated: most people could learn more by studying and reading on their own for four years than by pursuing a university or college degree.
Thank you so much. Very good advise which actually made me think more about the topic.
A small portion of population may learn more from self-study than learn from university or college, but the majority of people need guidance from experienced teachers and other. So I could not agree with the author's assertion that most people could learn more by studying and reading on their own for four years than pursuing a university or college degree. In fact, formal education is necessary for most people not only to obtain systematic and comprehensive knowledge, but to develop problem solving abilities and social skills.
Admittedly, some extremely brilliant people may find that they are quite familiar with some of the courses offered by a regular university or college. Later on, they may lose interest and miss the actual new topic. Still some people have clear career orientation; they think that the coursed offered by universities lack practical means, thus they would rather find proper ones from library, Internet or even through practice on their own. There are successful self-taught individuals such as Minhong Yu who is the owner of Xindongfang English Training School in China. When he was in college, he knew clearly what he wanted, and he knew that the college education could not help enough for his career goals. So he discontinued his formal education and established an English training school, which was so successful that trains of schools were established. But this is a rare case. Besides, great judgments and personal discipline is essential for the success of self-study. Since without pressure from grade requirement and peer competition, people could easily get lazy or only focus on the topics that are most appealing to them.
The majority of people would find a four-year education from university or college essential to their success. First of all, a university or college offers a great deal of resources that cannot be found elsewhere. There are lots of experienced instructors who not only give knowledge, but also guide students' mental development that would be a vital aspect of their success in their future. Furthermore, students could learn more from live discussion with other students that could not be obtained from self-study. Second, university or college also provides platform for students' social needs. In modern society, nobody can achieve great success without communicating with others. Knowledge is important, but without explaining to other people or coordinating with others, knowledge can barely be appreciated by others, let alone be applied to the real life. Third, university offers systematic curriculum that cover every aspect of related courses. No one will skip any vital courses that were tested from many years experience. While self-study will probably lead people focus on the fields that are most interested and skim through those tedious ones. Finally, raising and solving problem is another vital factor that is needed for achievement. Problems are inevitable; knowing how to deal with is another essential character. With experienced instructor, one would spend less time on certain problems and thus enhance study efficiency.
In sum, a university and college not only provide knowledge that can be learned by self-study, but also help to develop some vital personalities which are also indispensable to a successful life. A small portion of population may learn more from self-study, while the majority of people certainly need attending university or college to gain comprehensive knowledge and develop certain skills to lead a successful life. Thus, the intellectual benefits of attending a university or college are not overrated.