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[P]
How to game the U.S. higher-education system

By JackStraw in Culture
Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:31:31 PM EST
Tags: gre, college, sat, graduate school, grad (all tags)

In this article, I want to debunk a popular myth: the popular conception that very smart high school students should go to very good and very expensive colleges, and that these colleges will advance these peoples' careers more effectively than would other options. I propose another option: go to a cheap state school for a small amount of money, do very well, and pay full tuition at a fantastic graduate program. I believe that in most cases, these students would be better served by a bare-budget (but difficult) undergrad state-school education, and an expensive high-profile Master's degree.


Does this article apply to you?

If you are at least somewhat smart and ambitious and if you are pursuing a career in which a Master's degree is at all useful (most fields) and you intend to get one, and if the cost of  tuition is an issue, then this article applies to you.

The main reason that this article may not apply (other than being filthy rich): a Bachelor's degree is your terminal degree, and you don't have the capacity or motivation to excel above other students at a state-run 4-year institution. If your SATs are above 1200, then your only excuse is laziness. In most careers, a Master's degree is required. Only your terminal school matters; I discuss here how to exploit this.

The Optimal Path

First off, because it's relevant here, my credentials: I'm a PhD student at Stanford. I've seen many people, some very close to me, go through the University system. I've seen what works and what doesn't.

Here's the typical failure story: Pay $40k/year to go to a "prestigious" private school (say, "Brown", a very good school), graduate $100k in debt, and do a Masters at a nameless school that offers a financial aid package, e.g., San Jose State, because more debt would be unbearable. Here's the thing: the Brown education just became worthless.

Employers care almost exclusively about your last degree: you are now a San Jose State graduate.

Here's what I view to be the optimal path: Go to a cheap (but flagship) state school (e.g., Penn State), enroll in the Honors program (due to great high school grades), pay virtually nothing, and then (marginally) get into an incredible Master's program at a school like Princeton; although admissions are unexpectedly lax, most people won't be able to pay that price, but because you skimped on undergrad, you're able to pay it. Congrats: you're a Princeton grad. For $60K. You gamed the system: you got the pedigree for just one years' tuition, at a school you probably couldn't have been admission to for undergrad.

How to game the system

Books abound on the subject. I will give the salient points here.

High School

Obviously, get near-straight A's. I know it seems hard now, but you have no idea how important this effort is to your future; an hour spent to get an A now is as important to your future as 100 hours during your PhD. Man up and do it; I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Take AP classes, and do a few extracurriculars. Obviously, if you enjoy one particularly, then do it. Otherwise, if you're just doing it for show, you might as well juice it up: do debate club and a sport (like tennis or golf). It will (probably incorrectly, but that's okay) show that you're both well-rounded and smart, with a minimal time investment.

Here's what virtually nobody knows, but is very important: DO RESEARCH (by this, I mean, do academic research with the hope of publishing in a journal). Virtually none of your peers will do this--they just don't get it. But, second-hand reports from a Stanford admissions officer suggest that doing some (necessarily, mundane) research for a college professor is the most important factor in admissions. Mass-email professors (by that, I mean, send at least 20 profs carefully tailored and personalized emails offering your services for free), even at very low-rate universities. Take the best position you get--this will likely be the key that moves you to the top of the stack of college applicants. Do you notice that this is a hard, awkward step? Only the ambitious do it, and because of that anybody who does it will likely be successful. That's why it matters.  

Your main goal (unless money is no object) should be getting either a) free-ride admission to a great private school, or (more likely, and nearly as good) b) admission to the "honors college", or its equivalent, at the state school at which you receive in-state tuition. I know it's not your dream college--but trust me, you won't regret not being saddled with $120K of debt. And, state schools are particularly known for sending their top students to great grad schools.

College

Take this phase of your career very seriously. The professors may hold an "A+" carrot in front of you--don't go for it. Or, at least, go for in the context of what it means for your future. Remember, your only point in college (besides having fun and developing as a person) is to get into your chosen Masters program: the prestige of your Masters program determines your future salary, job, and status.

Here's the key: LISTEN: PAY ATTENTION. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Your grades are only 1/3 of your admissions profile. Commonly, students treat grades more seriously than they should. Here are three almost equally weighted components of your grad school application:

1)    Grades: The courses in your major matter most.

2)    Recommendations: Can your recommenders cite specific examples of your great research abilities?

3)    Standardized Test Scores: Are they exceptional? You have no excuse to not have exceptional test scores.

Let me address these in order:

Grades: Of course these are important; but, did your efforts to get great grades detract from the other 2/3 of your application? In particular, are the grades you received in your major `excellent'? Don't sacrifice these grades to get good general-education grades; if you're going for Chemistry, nobody cares that you got a B- in English Literature. Focus on the Chemistry.

Recommendations: Who will recommend you? There should be two types of good recommenders: 1) those who advised you on some serious research, and 2) those whose classes you absolutely aced. If you're entering college, you need to carefully evaluate who these professors are, and enthusiastically engage them. Don't make them write rec's without concrete details; admissions officials are tuned to that.

Standardized Test Scores: These are 1/3 of your application. Do them well. I can only speak of the GRE, because it's the only grad-level standardized test that I've taken. Regarding the GRE, here are two tips:

*    Never get a math problem wrong. Never. If you got it wrong (during a practice test), then re-do the entire test until you get everything right. Never rush yourself.  Once you get in the habit of not making mistakes, it will persist during the test.

*    Start practicing the vocab very early. Two years until you take the test? Perfect. Learn, specifically, the `Barrons' book. If you learn each word, you will get a  near-800 on Verbal GRE, Guauranteed, and you will be instantly considered among the top applicants.

Of the math and verbal tests, only one can be gamed easily. It's the verbal. The math requires some knowledge (some tricks can help with time management, but in the end it comes down to real ability), but the verbal is totally and absolutely game-able. I studied the Barron's book, and there was not a single word on the test that I did not see in that guide; it's a simple vocabulary test, and you have no excuse not to ace it. If you memorize every word in the book (it takes a year to condition your mind to remember the definitions, but only minutes to memorize words thereafter)  then you will get an 800, virtually guaranteed.

Consider also that your composite (math + verbal) score is considered, but that it is easier to get a high score on verbal than math. I got an 800 on math and 740 on verbal; yet my percentile on math was ~92nd percentile, while my verbal was ~99th percentile. Gaming this system is a bit complicated: suffice to say, if you memorize the vocab (esp. over the course of a year or more), your composite score will be excellent.

Rationale

Why should you focus on buying a quality grad school degree, instead of a quality undergrad degree? Here are three reasons


  1. Grad schools is shorter. Since tuition in grad and undergrad is similar, grad school ends up costing less.

  2. State schools are respected. Grad schools want great grad students: they're the schools' lifeblood; and, grad schools know that  many, many great students need to go to state schools for financial reasons. It's free-market economics. Exploit it.

  3. Grad school is more important. Particularly, whether you're moving up or down: consider (a) undergrad at Penn State, grad at Harvard, vs. (b) undergrad at Harvard, grad at Penn State. Option (a) is universally considered better, and costs much less.

  4. Grad admissions are more lax: It's far easier to get into a great grad school than undergrad school, if you can pay the tuition (which is the whole point of going to the state school).


Are you foreign?

If you're foreign, then you need to hide it. Your foreignness is a huge disadvantage; I wish it weren't so, but it is. Here's a tip: Learn English. That sounds bigoted and simple but, in my opinion, it's just so consummately true. Unbelievably true. Imagine running a research lab: you ask a question, and 4/5 students respond. 1 stares absently at a wall. That's the foreign student; he/she may be brilliant, but unless communication can happen, it's useless; that's why profs shy away from foreign students: they can't contribute to discussions. It's a hard reality, but unless you can hold a slow-to-normal-speed conversation in English, you'll be at an enormous disadvantage in Academia in the U.S..

Conclusion

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How to game the U.S. higher-education system | 125 comments (103 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
school is a cultural thing, not an (2.66 / 3) (#1)
by Morally Inflexible on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:16:12 AM EST

economic thing. Sure, if you can get your parents to pay or the government to pay, it's a great way to get someone else to pay for your housing, booze and parties for another four to eight years, and then when you get out, you will be regarded as middle class even if you end up with some shit $40K/year job. And yeah, if you want to work for academics, you have to have academic credentials. But my experience has been that industry, at least the computer industry, people care very little. Sure, they treat you a little different at the company parties, but eh, half the people there are foreigners anyhow, so being a little different is not going to draw much notice.

I mean, sure, it's great fun and all, and it does give you a leg up in terms of social class, but if you think you are doing it to raise your total lifetime income, you are probably kidding yourself. Work experience, at least in the computer industry (which pays at least as well as most science and engineering disciplines. I know several math majors and many, many physics majors who have crossed over into programming to pay the bills.) is worth at least as much as, and sometimes more than time in school.

statistically speaking (none / 0) (#3)
by rhiannon on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:56:51 AM EST

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0883617.html

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
college is a method of preserving privilege (none / 0) (#17)
by Morally Inflexible on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:15:08 PM EST

thus the 'legacy admissions' and stuff. Yeah, sure, if you want a job where they primarily want someone who is middle class rather than someone who can do something, college is required. There are lots of government and management jobs out there where you aren't expected to produce anything measurable, you get cushy benefits, and if you do it your whole life, your salary towards the end will start to approach that of a private-sector technologist in his late twenties. (there is a strong argument for taking those jobs if you plan on living for a while after retirement age. the pensions are unbeatable)

The thing is, if your parents went to college, you are expected to go to college. So a lot of the statistical correlation between college and higher salaries is simply the correlation between having a high salary and having parents with high salaries. I think I'm the only person in my extended family over 24 who doesn't have a degree of some sort, so it's not like I'm completely 'self made' - I did have the contacts most middle-class children have access to.

[ Parent ]

Here is some food, please continue (none / 0) (#88)
by anaesthetica on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:12:09 PM EST

college is a method of preserving privilege, thus the 'legacy admissions' and stuff.

How do college admission quotas for underrepresented members of 'diverse' minorities fit into your conspiracy theory? Also, please address financial aid provision and need-blind admissions for lower economic classes.

—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
to run with my arguement (none / 1) (#93)
by Morally Inflexible on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 11:03:44 PM EST

It is an attempt (by some) to allow some of the lower classes to rise in the ranks of this system that preserves privilege. It's an attempt to keep the system (that is, you get this piece of paper, then you get a high paying job even if you are useless.) while making the admission less class based.

my problem is that I don't believe the piece of paper is not a good indication of competence.

[ Parent ]

T3h lo53r (none / 0) (#97)
by glowing tits on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:58:58 AM EST


Computers/IT are a transient exception in a world were many highly paid skills need specific degrees. Just because there is not yet a very clear idea of what is a software engineer, for example, does not mean that you can practice medicine or law or architecture or electric engineering without a specific degree. Before discussing whether you are a good neurosurgeon you already need a piece of paper just to qualify for the discussion!


Anyway, for several fields you can very well be educated without formal training. Odds are, however, that unless you are extremely motivated and extremely competent, you'll probably go further in your training (not necessarily you money-earning capacity) through a formal training program.


Finally, don't forget that education is useful in itself as a rewarding activity. I would go through PhD even if I had 10 million in the bank, so that I could pursue my research on chemo-luminescent, genetically enginereed mammary glands (i.e. glowing tits).




[ Parent ]
not just about culture or "social class" (none / 0) (#10)
by channel on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:01:43 AM EST

there's studies showing that students who spend time learning arts, literature and music do better at math and science than those who focus exclusively on math and science.

in addition, you might be the best programmer ever, but if you have no social skills, you still won't get very far in your career.

Marriage is a divine rite. It was part of God's design when He created man. - Royal Martyr Empress Alexandra Fedorovna.
[ Parent ]

uh, thanks, I guess. (none / 0) (#16)
by Morally Inflexible on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:22:56 PM EST

but I'm not that great of a programmer, and my social skills are mediocre, at best. (I'm fairly good at conflict resolution/avoidance without being too much of a pushover, but culturally, I'm as foreign as the Indians who can barely speak English. (well, I think one of my primary advantages is that my accent is American, or close enough, and I have enough control over my racism that I listen to the foreigners, and put effort into understanding their accents, at least until I figure out which ones are worth listening too.)

I wonder if these people who seem to think social skills are required for career success have ever worked in any technical capacity?

Even if you define 'success' as 'management' I would disagree. About half the 'technical' managers I know spend most of their time getting into fights over semantics, because they don't understand (and don't want to take the time to understand) the other guy's accent or word choice or whatever.

[ Parent ]

Listening to TEH FURRINERS?! (none / 1) (#83)
by BJH on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:37:51 AM EST

Wow, don't hurt yourself bending so far over backward.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but, most people don't. (none / 0) (#85)
by Morally Inflexible on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:15:54 PM EST

at least, that's what I see. I'm not saying I'm some kind of champion for equal rights or anything, just that I seem to be able to put my own racism aside better than most people I have worked with.

[ Parent ]
The computer industry is unusual (none / 1) (#26)
by rhdntd on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:31:51 PM EST

It's true that unless your goal is upper management (not even middle management), degree doesn't matter much.  But my experience is that other industries are very much degree-driven.  Anything to do with computers is just an exception that will probably go away in another 50 years.  For anyone else, the advice in the article is spot on, and generally obvious at some point.  The only problem is it's not obvious to high school juniors, which are the people that need to know it.

-- 
"book chicks really seem to like anal"
  — Lady 3Jane
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't know (none / 0) (#30)
by Morally Inflexible on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 12:16:01 AM EST

As I only have experience in the computer industry.   Even so,  I am under the impression that the computer industry is where you want to be if you are trying to make money as a technical worker.


[ Parent ]
lol computers (none / 1) (#37)
by Ruston Rustov on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:50:47 AM EST


I had had incurable open sores all over my feet for sixteen years. The doctors were powerless to do anything about it. I told my psychiatrist that they were psychosomatic Stigmata - the Stigmata are the wounds Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross. Three days later all my sores were gone. -- Michael Crawford
Maybe tomorrow. -- Michael Crawford
As soon as she has her first period, fuck your daughter. -- localroger

[ Parent ]
rofl. all the programs we need are already done (none / 1) (#65)
by Ron Paul on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:32:50 PM EST


This [Ron Paul] Diary! has brought Kuro5hin back to life! HUZZAH


[ Parent ]

i just called the patent office (none / 0) (#78)
by Empedocles on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:34:22 AM EST

apparently all the things that could have been invented already have.

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]
lol ron paul thanks everyone for getting them to p (none / 1) (#64)
by Ron Paul on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:31:09 PM EST

ay

This [Ron Paul] Diary! has brought Kuro5hin back to life! HUZZAH


[ Parent ]

If college is not for you, then thats fine (none / 1) (#102)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:02:09 AM EST

Comp sci is special case. In most fields (most engineering, biology, law, medicine), it's almost unheard of to get ahead without at least some college.
-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]
The system is rigged (2.00 / 4) (#2)
by krkrbt on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:31:26 AM EST

You have some very good points in your story. IMHO, the system games everyone who plays.

I didn't mention it in my diary, but The Screwing of the Average Man says that "the elite" sent their children to teh college so they'd have a leg up on the proletariate when auditioning for high-paying jobs. Everything was working as designed, then the WWII soldiers came home. "We fought your damn war for you, we better get something in return." So congress passed the GI bill to help veterans go to college too, and the cost of college has been spiraling out of control ever since.

I spent 3.5 years at one of those expensive undergrad schools. I don't know if it was worth the cost, but I didn't have anything else to do at the time. I think there were 4-5k undergrads - don't think I would have done well at a school with 40k...


You could have chosen my alma mater (none / 0) (#4)
by Ruston Rustov on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:57:16 AM EST

The ITT Technical Institute.

I had had incurable open sores all over my feet for sixteen years. The doctors were powerless to do anything about it. I told my psychiatrist that they were psychosomatic Stigmata - the Stigmata are the wounds Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross. Three days later all my sores were gone. -- Michael Crawford
Maybe tomorrow. -- Michael Crawford
As soon as she has her first period, fuck your daughter. -- localroger

[ Parent ]
JUMP-START YOUR CAREER (none / 0) (#7)
by Empedocles on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:38:37 AM EST

GET YOUR MBA ONLINE FROM PHOENIX UNIVERSITY

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]
"spiraling out of control ever since." (none / 0) (#89)
by anaesthetica on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:15:11 PM EST

Any time we baptize the masses of the lower classes into social practices, whether politics or education or anything else, it is always the beginning of that practice going to shit.

—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
take it to the next step (2.50 / 2) (#5)
by rhiannon on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:58:37 AM EST

How about 2 years in your state's best community college?

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
I totally agree (none / 1) (#103)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:08:27 AM EST

I tried to rewrite the story to mention this very important point, but the system wouldn't let me.

I think CC is great for students who either (a) are near-average, or (b) are really, really hurting for money. It's so cheap, and if you transfer to a main campus for your last 2 years then they're almost identical on your transcript.

For others (top students), I think the biggest cost difference between state school and CC is room + board, and that to me is a lifestyle difference that, if someone is working really hard, they deserve.

At least for the first 2 years, CC may even give a better education; but, I really value the social experience and friendships I got in my freshman/sophomore years of on-campus college living.

-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]

+1FP over here (2.75 / 4) (#6)
by Empedocles on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:36:57 AM EST

However, you seem to be basing your entire educational experience on increasing your social social status. While a Ph.D, a masters, or any other advanced degree will certainly increase both your income and social status, I do not believe that you should obtain one merely for those benefits.

Living your life merely to increase your status is not living at all. Instead, choose your degree based on what you like. If you like a field enough to go to graduate school, great. If not, then either find something that does interest you enough or stay home.

Attempting to put a price on what you enjoy is fallacy. If you like something, do it. Don't worry about how much it is costing you now or how much you can increase your salary later. This is your life; live it how you want to. The money will come if you're doing something you enjoy. You're never going to starve; do not base your life on the fear of it. Similarly, do not base your life on the accumulation of wealth or status.

Do what you love and do not live for others. Once you recognize this, the money, prestige, and power will come to you.

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

lol socialists /nt (none / 1) (#9)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:32:29 AM EST


--
MMM, tenured K5 uberdouchebag
- Herr mirleid


[ Parent ]
stfu eurofag $ (none / 1) (#51)
by Nimey on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:12:29 PM EST


--
Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

[ Parent ]
iawtp (none / 0) (#14)
by lostincali on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:14:57 AM EST

this guy seems like a complete grade-grubbing dweeb.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

Not true. . . (none / 1) (#15)
by hugin on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 12:40:45 PM EST

Putting a price on your education will help you to determine the cost of the education while you can decide the benefit.  Standard  economics suggests that a agent should choose the option with the highest net benefit.  

This is a clip that shows the Phantom makeup being applied to Michael Crawford as well as other behind-the-scenes footage as he prepares to perform on the Bob Hope Show. A must-have for any Crawford fan. Enjoy!
[ Parent ]

persuasive (none / 0) (#25)
by Empedocles on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:46:29 PM EST

please tell me more so i can subscribe to your newsletter.

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]
wow (none / 0) (#45)
by lostincali on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 10:13:00 AM EST

for someone who apparently works in finance, i'm surprised you can't evaluate higher education in terms of return on investment. in your mind, then, does it make sense for someone to take out 100k in student loans to get a photography degree?

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

any idiot can calculate ROI (none / 0) (#68)
by Empedocles on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 09:59:48 PM EST

the numbers aren't hard to come by and take very little in the way of intellectual power to run.

i've seen just as many morons as you have get a degree in film/photography/etc. the vast majority of them seem to try to make it in their chosen field only to fail and end up as mid-level management for a building supplier. in terms of ROI, they probably could have gotten the job faster and with much less effort if they just skipped through a business degree at some random crap college. less in the way of student loans, also.

if you're looking at in terms like that, it's pretty easy to sink down to the lowest common denominator rather quickly. want to make lots of money? go to a good business college and then get your MBA. then go work for a LBO firm and you'll be making 7 figures inside 10 years if you're good. before the market went to shit this was quite popular. now, not so much.

however, you cannot place a price on doing what you like to do. for some people, this means very little and they are prone to take the path of least resistance to a good career, money, social recognition, etc. if you're one of them, fine. more power to you and all that. enjoy your MBA and soul-less (although well paid) work.

you cannot place a price on your own happiness, however cliché that may sound. each individual must determine how they will balance the equation that is education vs. money vs. happiness, along with any other variable they deem appropriate.

for some people, 100k on a photography degree may be worth it. neither you nor i are one of these people. however, i will not look down upon someone for the sole reason that i would not make the some choice myself. to each his own and all that.

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]

yeah, that's a nice sentiment (none / 1) (#69)
by lostincali on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 10:50:25 PM EST

universities make bank on the idea that you can't put a price on "happiness", which is why they're more than happy to make you a slave to lenders for most of your adult life.

look, i don't think remuneration is the only consideration in choosing what one studies in college -- if i did, i wouldn't be an engineer. but if you're going to throw down that much money on an education, you'd better get something in return on the way out to support yourself. especially if you're putting yourself in massive debt. whimsical bullshit questions like, "what will make me the happiest?" mark you as either a trust fund baby or an idiot.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

eh (none / 0) (#70)
by Empedocles on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 11:44:42 PM EST

if you're willing to be miserable but extremely well paid, i will not question your decision. you want to work with children? chances are you aren't going to be paid very well. many specific fields in education require some sort of graduate degree, which may get you marginally higher pay. certainly it would fail any sort of litmus test applied by this article.

i know several people who are in education and have gotten graduate degrees in their particular field. these people didn't go to graduate school to get a higher salary. they went primarily because they enjoyed their chosen field. i'm sure money was factored in there somewhere, but there was not a huge amount of weight attached to it.

the fact that the field i'm in pays more than teaching is great for me, but under no circumstances do i look down upon those who went to graduate school for a field that doesn't have a six figure starting salary. i'm not smarter than them or a better person than them.

the bare essentials for life are food and shelter. anyone who has gone to graduate school is not in danger of losing either of those (see maslow). beyond that, everyone decides what they want in a different manner. i will not criticize someone on the mere basis that i do not agree with their decision.

only a narcissistic fool would firmly believe that what is best for them is best for everyone else.

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]

I think the fundamental problem (none / 1) (#29)
by curien on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 11:14:56 PM EST

is that most 18-year-olds are not in a position to evaluate the costs. They don't fully understand the value difference between two schools (and honestly, a lot of it is just luck), and they can't imagine the amounts of money involved. For someone who earns a little spending money working at a high school job, $30,000 and $100,000 are equally-astronomical numbers.

--
Murder your babies. -- R Mutt
[ Parent ]
I agree, of course. (none / 0) (#104)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:10:27 AM EST

Although, (1) I think a lot of people ditch college to be ski instructors or whatever, and really regret it later, and (2) this article is geared towards people who want to succeed in college.

-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]
uhhhh... lol? (2.80 / 5) (#12)
by lostincali on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:07:25 AM EST

go to a cheap state school for a small amount of money, do very well, and pay full tuition at a fantastic graduate program.

if you did "very well" in a state school, why would you be paying "full tuition" to go to grad school? you know who pays their own tuition for grad school? chumps, that's who. excluding professional schools like law and medical school, where apparently scholarship money is scarce to nonexistent.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."

I believe that's precisely who he's talkin' bout (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by Harry B Otch on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:44:32 PM EST

Those chumps who get their intellectual self-esteem pumped up with "elite" undergraduate educations, to the point that a high-priced graduate program (law school, usually) seems like the logical next step in their triumphal Nietzschean climb up the status rope.  

But as with most rope-climbs, however, all they end up with is a lot of stimulation in the crotchal region--which feels "funny" in good sort of way for awhile, after all--that is, until the inevitable rope burn sets in.

-----
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]

no, he's talking sciences (none / 0) (#21)
by livus on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:00:58 PM EST

The bit about running a lab at the end tips you off to that.

And anyone worth their salt shouldn't be paying for their own grad school fees in the sciences.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

is that what you took away from it? (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by lostincali on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:04:01 PM EST

all I was pointing out was a discrepancy in his article -- if someone really is a go-getter who does very well as an undergrad at a state school, how is it that they end up paying full tuition to attend grad school?

maybe my perception is warped in coming from an engineering education, where just about all of the highest achievers in my graduating class got generous scholarships/fellowships for grad school or at the very least a TAship. if/when i desire to pursue a graduate degree, my employer will reimburse me for tuition. i'm just having trouble seeing why someone would pay their own way through a masters program.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

no, you're not warped (none / 1) (#24)
by livus on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:21:08 PM EST

I had the exact same thought.  

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
I don't disagree with you (none / 0) (#48)
by Harry B Otch on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 12:37:20 PM EST

and I certainly wasn't referring to people who pursue graduate education in areas that are actually useful and that require rigorous training--like engineering.  I was talking about the ones who go about education for the wrong reasons, as though they're buying their way into a glamorous high-status world, and the way that certain undergraduate programs seemed to be designed to inflate this egocentric perception of intellectual superiority.

This may very well not be as common today as it was in the 80's and 90's, which was the heyday of postmodernism and identity-politics "scholarship", as well as yuppie-style materialism.  From what I can tell, education in math and sciences has improved somewhat, but the horrendous decline that happened in the humanities has never recovered.

-----
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]

It's the people who are a bit below (none / 0) (#108)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:25:12 AM EST

The top few percent (one percent?) get full funding at great grad schools. All the others have to play the funding tradeoff game; that's the vast majority of people who go to college.

Clearly, the optimal path is (full ride great undergrad) --> (full ride great grad), but if that doesn't look probably, I think that what I suggest is a really useful path to consider.
-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]

my thoughts exactly (3.00 / 3) (#86)
by nepenthes on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:06:45 PM EST

all i learned from this article was that people actually PAY TUITION at grad school. i had no idea? in north american humanities departments - laugh derisively as you wish - nobody pays any tuition beyond undergrad. i've seen a couple programs maybe that don't offer support, but they're for weirdos and rich kids (new school and EGS, for instance). nearly every program even at the 'prestige' schools offers a tuition waiver and living stipend for every M.A. and Ph.D candidate they admit.

[ Parent ]
'nepenthes' huh? (none / 0) (#87)
by lostincali on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:41:41 PM EST

a fan of carnivorous plants?

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

Assistance depends on what prospects you have (none / 0) (#90)
by anaesthetica on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:21:10 PM EST

you know who pays their own tuition for grad school? chumps, that's who.

We call those chumps "professionals." It really depends on what you're going to grad school for. If you are going to grad school to become an academic, schools realize that they will never get any money back from you, since you will never make any money as an academic anyway. So grad degrees for irretrievably academic subjects, or for Ph.D's, will offer tuition assistance/scholarships/fellowships/etc.

If you are getting a graduate degree that is aimed at making you a professional (a law or medical degree, various public policy degrees aimed at making you into a better bureaucrat, etc), then they will not offer tuition assistance. They figure that you will go on to a high paying job as a lawyer, doctor, bureaucrat, or consultant. Hence why waste financial aid on you, when you'll very clearly have the means to pay them back in the future?

—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
professional chumps, then. (none / 0) (#91)
by lostincali on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:57:12 PM EST

  1. engineers and scientists have a ton of assistance money available to them, and a masters in engineering is unquestionably a professional degree.
  2. lots of employers will pay tuition expenses for their employees to further their education in their profession.
  3. if you're in the military, the government is going to pick up the check.
who's left over? overwhelmingly, chumps.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

It happens (none / 0) (#107)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:20:33 AM EST

So few people get good funding at great grad schools. If you get full fellowships at each of the top 10 grad schools, then great. But: what if you get nothing at the top 9 except admission, and a fellowship at the 10th? If you pulled the state school trick, you pay 1 year tuition at the #1 school, and work your way into an RA-ship.

Also: in fields like psychology, etc, full funding is incredibly rare. Paying grad tuition at these schools does not mean you're a chump.

-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]

yeah, it depends a lot on the field (none / 0) (#127)
by Delirium on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 06:42:51 AM EST

In CS (my field), I think it's very unusual for PhD students to pay tuition—not everyone gets an RA, but you at least will generally get offered a TA position as a fallback.

[ Parent ]
Undergraduate and graduate tuition rates. . . (none / 1) (#18)
by hugin on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:52:02 PM EST

Are not always equal.  For example, in Florida state universities, the graduate tuition per credit hour is thrice(?) the amount of the undergraduate tuition rate.  

Also, you did not mention community colleges (err, 'junior colleges', I think).  Those offer rates less than at the public universities.  Plus, you get lower admission requirements and certain placement in at least one public university.

This is a clip that shows the Phantom makeup being applied to Michael Crawford as well as other behind-the-scenes footage as he prepares to perform on the Bob Hope Show. A must-have for any Crawford fan. Enjoy!

Agreed, but: (none / 0) (#110)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:28:18 AM EST

even if grad rates are >> undergrad at state schools, the state school undergrad rates are still much less than private undergrad rates.

As to CC, I think it's often great, but it misses a lot of the social aspect of undergrad (I try to address it in another comment).
-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]

Summary: Work, pay, work, pay, work, pay, die $ (2.87 / 8) (#19)
by bodza on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:15:33 PM EST


--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

Groan: Con man's Paradox (2.93 / 15) (#23)
by livus on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:18:16 PM EST

I just made that term up but it describes a real phenomenon.

The paradoxical thing about con men is that the amount of effort they put into their little games is so great that if they'd applied it to doing things in a legit way they'd have gone further than they do through the bunco or "game" they were running. This point is often remarked on when they get caught.

Trouble is, they're addicted to feeling they've somehow put one over on everyone else. (Incidentally this is what makes them much easier to trick than the general populace, but that's beside the point I'm making here).

This ridiculous article - is it pasta? I can't find it anywhere - details years of work, all to achieve bugger all in the wider scheme of things. You set your sights too low.

Most of it isn't "gaming" the system by any means, it's just playing by the rules (I mean, really - "do well on tests and study for them" is "gaming the system"? I don't think so).

If you can do that then I don't see why you'd do what a normal person would do, and get your tuition and so on paid for. As has been said already, paying for your own graduate study is the mark of someone who's not smart enough. That doing this is the crux of all these years of work is, frankly, sad. Like I said, Con Man's Paradox.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

so how much money did you lsoe with madoff? (none / 1) (#55)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:03:31 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
may I ask you smth (3.00 / 3) (#57)
by parakopo on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:17:16 PM EST

are you an admin here in k5?

[ Parent ]
of course he is (3.00 / 3) (#77)
by Empedocles on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:32:13 AM EST

just tell him what you want done and cts will do it. he's very helpful that way.

sometimes he likes to act like he doesn't know what you're talking about. if you keep replying to all of his comments telling him what you want, he'll eventually do it.

his admin powers are something he doesn't mention often. he's a very humble person, that cts.

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]

I mostly just follow the indexes (none / 1) (#121)
by livus on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:11:40 PM EST

all the way down

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
It *is* gaming the system (none / 1) (#111)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:51:12 AM EST

It's approaching the system in the optimal way. Let's say you set a goal: A great education and a great pedigree. This article is about the best way to get your goal, at the least cost, both in time (don't worry just about grades: other things are important) and cost ($40k in grad school can do more for you than undergrad).

It's not a conniving scheme; it's an intelligent way to approach the process, that many people who haven't gone through it don't understand.

As to the goal: if you don't want to have (or don't want your kids to have) a great college degree at a reasonable cost, then I don't see why you read past the first paragraph.
-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]

Only, it isn't optimal at all. (none / 0) (#119)
by livus on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:04:04 PM EST

Unless you're in Soviet Russia, Grad school should be paying you.

I may not be a USian but I know enough of them to know that this fact is even more the case there than it is here.

The goal is a good one, just your method of getting there is lousy and too much hard work.

In my method, which is the normal one, highschool is for drinking and getting laid. How is working during highschool "optimal"?

 

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

right, direction, wrong conclusion (2.66 / 3) (#27)
by circletimessquare on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:59:10 PM EST

you need to keep going

fuck college altogether

look at bill gates, michael dell, or steve jobs

college drop outs, every one


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Are you also a college dropout, CTS? (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by hugin on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 11:03:44 PM EST


This is a clip that shows the Phantom makeup being applied to Michael Crawford as well as other behind-the-scenes footage as he prepares to perform on the Bob Hope Show. A must-have for any Crawford fan. Enjoy!
[ Parent ]

and a billionaire (none / 1) (#36)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:45:28 AM EST

and my dick is 13"


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
You're only 13 inches tall?! /nt (2.00 / 3) (#82)
by BJH on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:32:48 AM EST


--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
drop out of college! (3.00 / 7) (#35)
by rhiannon on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:36:25 AM EST

It'll make you just like steve jobs! That's all it takes!

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
lets break this down for you (3.00 / 5) (#39)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:59:48 AM EST

your problem is taking me seriously

the humor comes when you see i am just encouraging the retard to embrace his mediocrity and let him believe it will lead to a superior lifestyle

of course you can get a better education at a state school than an ivy league, of course you can be more successful, of course you will spend less on your education

this is all true

the problem is that the retard writing this article doesn't believe that. his starting assumption is that an expensive ivy league school is a better education, and he proceeds to demolish his starting assumption

a completely unnecessary exercise, if he actually believes what he writes

no one shares his starting assumption except for classist and exclusionary assholes, who will reject his argument anyways

the exercise of writing this story also reveals that the author is a classist and exclusionary asshole too, just rationalizing his inferiority to himself

a rationalization he will eventually reject, being a classist and exclusionary asshole. he will live a life predicated on shallow class signifiers, and wind up living a life of quiet desperation, constantly feeling inadequate and inferior about himself. all class conscious people are essentially lacking confidence and are filled with such shallow self-doubt

no one truly confident believes in the first place that someone is inferior just for going to a state school. this include ivy leaguers. this includes GED holders. it includes anyone in society who is not classist

so the act of building and exerting energy in this entire argument of his is pure fail on his part, a giant show of his own lack of confidence and insecurities about himself, flapping in the wind for the whole world to see, and ridicule, or at least just us troll son k5 to ridicule

just love yourself and have no doubts about yourself and embrace your lot in life. thats the ultimate guide to life. and if anyone challenges these foundational assumptions of how to think about your life, eviscerate the asshole

this is the only valid approach to life

any other appoach leads to self-submission to absurd phantom definitions of superiority, and a life of quiet desperation, submitting and defeating yourself to nothing but false assumptions in your own mind. lack of confidence. insecurity, a feeling of inferiority. an utter tool

never lead a life of quiet desperation. it is grounds for smacking your head against a concrete wall and completely rewriting everything you think you know about your life until you find an internal well of confidence

let some other asshole defeat you. never defeat yourself


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I'm going to read this little valedictory address (3.00 / 8) (#46)
by Harry B Otch on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 10:56:37 AM EST

of yours next time I'm at a family member's graduation party-- verbatim, lack of puncuation and all.  

Ill be drunk so it wont matter

-----
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]

Trust me here, CTS (3.00 / 3) (#52)
by Nimey on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:15:40 PM EST

Nobody takes you seriously.  Nobody on k5, nobody on Slashdot, and certainly nobody in real life.

I'm sure it's something to do with writing like a drooling mongoloid retard.
--
Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

[ Parent ]

"your problem is taking me seriously" (3.00 / 3) (#58)
by rhiannon on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:32:32 PM EST

says mr cts, after all if anyone's known for obsessively generating essays over throw-away comments, it's clearly me.

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
Like, with a cancer of the gut? /nt (3.00 / 3) (#41)
by ksandstr on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:43:07 AM EST



Fin.
[ Parent ]
Go on, try it... (none / 0) (#98)
by glowing tits on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 10:02:57 AM EST

look at bill gates, michael dell, or steve jobs college drop outs, every one

I imagine there are many others that tried and failed miserably. We never hear about them, though. It's called selection bias.




[ Parent ]
no shit (none / 1) (#99)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:02:49 AM EST

the whole story is selection bias, thus my joke

i wasn't being serious


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Alternate Plan (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by sholden on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:35:22 AM EST

Live in a country where a University education doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

The last year I was enrolled at university, phd program with no scholarship cost me $40 in enrollment fees - my student union fees were higher...

I think I average out to $1k a year from first year undergrad on. And of course that was paid for by a real student loan direct from the govt - indexed at inflation and taken from my taxes, I pay zero taxes in that country now and hence haven't paid any of it back yet.

Of course then you get a job for which such degrees are irrelevant anyway, but that's how things always go.

--
The world's dullest web page


Goddamn - you are a giant douche (2.25 / 4) (#40)
by GreyGhost on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 05:43:56 AM EST

Fuck grad school. You need to drop out now and start working on improving some other serious defects in your character. Because damn...that shit is painful to watch.

College selection (none / 1) (#44)
by sye on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 09:06:31 AM EST

"Take this phase of your career very seriously."

That's why you must watch 'porterhouse blue' . Why folks send their sons to the least prestigous college in Cambridge/Oxford.

Oh, poor Zipser, who's the smartest among students, but he did NOT survive his college years.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in

i chose not to have a life in academia (2.50 / 2) (#47)
by achievingfluidity on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 11:30:49 AM EST

and as a result only got a B.S. in Computer Science.

To this day, I make considerably more than a couple of friends that went on to get PhDs. One guy got a PhD in Education and still hasn't been tenured (he's white and published) and another got a PhD in Business Administration and he comes the closest but he keeps going through layoff cycles.

In some fields, notably Computer Science, anything greater than a B.S. gains you very little.

I also think you belittle the so called "state universities." Some are very high quality whether you get an advanced degree or not from a private university.

Your views are extremely left-wing, elitist, academic, crap that you have bought into. You should see it for what it is. Wake up

--
ANNOY A LIBERAL USE FACTS AND LOGIC


no, not really (none / 0) (#50)
by lostincali on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 01:14:24 PM EST

In some fields, notably Computer Science, anything greater than a B.S. gains you very little.

actually, a masters degree in engineering or computer science will take you pretty far in your career above where a mere bachelors degree would (assuming you stay in the field instead of moving to management). but yes, the PhD is generally a waste of time and money if put strictly in terms of ROI.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

depends on what you're looking for (none / 1) (#59)
by Delirium on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:38:01 PM EST

Your anecdotes are kind of odd, since you're comparing a BS in computer science with PhDs in totally different fields, rather than PhDs in computer science.

As for whether in computer science "anything greater than a B.S. gains you very little", it depends on what you're looking for. A BS and a PhD qualify you for completely different sets of jobs, so obviously you should pick the set you want to actually work. Generally, a CS PhD qualifies you for research, while a CS BS qualifies you for programming.

If you "gains you" you mean monetarily, it's not entirely clear to me. Starting salary for a BS in CS is somewhere around $55k-60k, while starting salary for a PhD in CS is somewhere around $90k-120k, which is a pretty good jump. On the other hand, you have to make up for ~4-6 years of only earning a ~$25k PhD-student stipend.

[ Parent ]

honestly (none / 0) (#60)
by achievingfluidity on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:53:41 PM EST

I only know one person with a PhD in Computer Science that makes close to what I make. It is not in private industry, they work at a university here and are not tenured. They not only have a similar mortgage that I have but they are paying off educational debts I never had and this debt is substantial.

At least in my field, a M.S. or PhD does not gain much financially. If it did I would go back to school.

--
ANNOY A LIBERAL USE FACTS AND LOGIC


[ Parent ]

hmm (none / 0) (#63)
by Delirium on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:30:09 PM EST

Well, CS research happens to be my field, so I know plenty of people who make $90k+ (or even $130k+) with CS PhDs. Pretty much any CS professor at a research university will, as will employees of the major industrial research labs (especially Microsoft Research).

[ Parent ]
i have quite a few years experience (none / 0) (#66)
by achievingfluidity on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:59:06 PM EST

and make over $90k in an area with below the national average cost of living. So I can only base it on that.

I suppose I could make more but I am more than happy to be where i am at for the near future anyway.

Having said that, I always go to work each day 'assuming' that it will be my last day at work. Doing so keeps me prepared in case layoffs all of a sudden occur; something everyone should prepare for.

--
ANNOY A LIBERAL USE FACTS AND LOGIC


[ Parent ]

btw, I am not in comp sci /nt (none / 1) (#72)
by JackStraw on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 12:38:26 AM EST


-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]
Need to compare the salaries (none / 0) (#73)
by sholden on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:09:04 AM EST

for starting salary of the PhD in CS, and 5 years into the career of BS in CS. $100k doesn't seem that outlandish on the BS in CS side - certainly not for someone who could do a PhD if they tried.

Plus the salary difference for thos 5 years.

The PhD does have the benefit of being able to get a cushy university which I suspect can be done successfully to an older age than programming (in practical of terms of people actually employing you, not in terms of ability). Of course if you are earning six fingers working into old age shouldn't really be the goal (surely you are front loading, and planning on work hard now, play later - and you don't want later to be too much later).

Of course $100k isn't worth what it used to be.

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
hmm yeah (none / 1) (#76)
by Delirium on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:27:25 AM EST

The main difference is really the kinds of jobs each qualifies you for; you certainly shouldn't get a PhD if you don't want to do research, and likewise you shouldn't stick with a BS if your main interest is research.

Monetarily, the "guaranteed salary for life and cannot ever be fired" is actually worth quite a bit IMO. It's even compatible with "work hard now, play later"—there are some older profs around here who have wound down their research programs, and just show up 2-3 days a week to teach their classes, while still pulling down the full salary (once you have tenure, you can decide to stop doing research and not much can be done about it as long as you still teach your classes, which is your only official responsibility). I'm not aware of many places in industry where you can get well into the six figures while coasting through a 15 hr/wk job.

[ Parent ]

Yes, that was the cushy university job I mentioned (none / 0) (#84)
by sholden on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:08:56 AM EST

You can competently teach for much longer than you can program, plus you look like you can competently much longer which I guess if you have tenure doesn't matter anyway.

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
I didnt say u need a phd (none / 0) (#113)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:06:12 AM EST

and again, CS is such a corner case.

But, I still think the B.S. @ state school and the costly M.S. at an Ivy League beats the full B.S. at an Ivy League, and it costs a hell of a lot less.

And, I really, really don't mean to belittle state universities; in fact, I mean to say that people who understand best (grad school admissions people) view state schools as similar to private schools. It's the industry people who see the big difference.

-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]

which industry? n (none / 0) (#123)
by livus on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:17:20 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
he's not advocating a life in academia (none / 0) (#122)
by livus on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:16:33 PM EST

he's advocating a no-life somewhere else, it's just not clear where.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
how to make believe (none / 1) (#49)
by sye on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 12:42:55 PM EST

the game of 'self-made' man?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in

YHBT (2.33 / 6) (#54)
by balsamic vinigga on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:32:43 PM EST

steve jobs said it best when he delivered the punchline of the troll at a stanford commencement speech.

"the best decision i ever made was to drop out of college."

rofl - enjoy your student debt...  and wasted youthful fire, waisted on filling your brain instead of being creative and passionate.

I got no degree and no debt and probably make more than you ever will.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!

So what is the 'alpha male' job? (none / 1) (#67)
by hugin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 09:39:56 PM EST

Scrubbing toilets in a homeless shelter?

This is a clip that shows the Phantom makeup being applied to Michael Crawford as well as other behind-the-scenes footage as he prepares to perform on the Bob Hope Show. A must-have for any Crawford fan. Enjoy!
[ Parent ]

you must be new around here (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by Empedocles on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:26:24 AM EST



---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]
No job at all. Next question please (none / 1) (#96)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:36:35 AM EST




"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]
i think there's some kind of rule for this (none / 1) (#74)
by Empedocles on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:21:38 AM EST

just as people who write comments insulting the spelling of the parent invariable contain at least one spelling error... well, you can guess the rest.

lol "waisted"

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]

Was the 'invariable' mistake deliberate? /nt (1.50 / 2) (#81)
by BJH on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:29:16 AM EST


--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
IAWTP (none / 0) (#94)
by Ruston Rustov on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 01:08:28 AM EST

Those discriminating fuckers who look down on my degree from ITT Tech wouldn't be any good for me to work for anyway.

I had had incurable open sores all over my feet for sixteen years. The doctors were powerless to do anything about it. I told my psychiatrist that they were psychosomatic Stigmata - the Stigmata are the wounds Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross. Three days later all my sores were gone. -- Michael Crawford
Maybe tomorrow. -- Michael Crawford
As soon as she has her first period, fuck your daughter. -- localroger

[ Parent ]
I can't believe this shit is on the front page (2.00 / 2) (#92)
by Brogdel on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 10:04:28 PM EST

I'm disappointed in you fuckers. seriously.

IAWTP (1.50 / 2) (#95)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:35:59 AM EST




"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]
i'm sorry i wasn't here to vote it down (none / 0) (#101)
by LilDebbie on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 03:42:08 PM EST

i was struck by an acute e. coli infection

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 1) (#100)
by wahgnube on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:45:57 AM EST

I'm not so sure it's a disadvantage being foreign; you can con the system for even cheaper if you are.

  1. Be born in a poor place where education is near free.
  2. Complete your K-12 and undergrad at a no-name university there. Do reasonably well.
  3. Ace the stadardized tests, and abuse the lax admission standards of U.S. grad schools (and the fact that they don't always know how to interpret your foreign grade sheets) to make it into an M.I.T.
  4. ... if you're any good this will be with full support.
  5. Scrape through and complete your study.

Enjoy your new found degrees, status and earning potential in a richer country!

(While the steps are qualitatively the same, the con is so much sweeter. And uni in the third world is a hell of a lot cheaper than Penn State.)

Agreed, *except*: (none / 0) (#115)
by JackStraw on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:10:01 AM EST

working 80 hrs/week abroad will get you the same admissions as working 60 hrs/week in US institutions, from what I've seen.
-The bus came by, I got on... that's when it all began.
[ Parent ]
All right (none / 0) (#117)
by wahgnube on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:54:03 AM EST

Perhaps your experiences are different from my own.

From what I've observed, undergrads in the U.S. (in a decent program at a decent school) are a lot more pressured and seem to work a lot harder (at staying afloat) than I did as an undergrad in the third world. In fact, I don't really remember doing anything (intellectually productive), and we sure as hell didn't have signs for "Suicide Hotlines for Burnt-out Undergrads" posted on our walls.

Then again, I think this is because the level of U.S. high school curricula on average is not nearly as advanced as they are elsewhere. Foreign kids struggle through school; coast through college. While the kids in the U.S. seem to coast through school and find it tough when they enter university.

[ Parent ]

well said. <3. n (none / 0) (#124)
by livus on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:18:41 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

The author of this piece is a nigger. (1.16 / 6) (#125)
by Ruston Rustov on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:49:56 PM EST


I had had incurable open sores all over my feet for sixteen years. The doctors were powerless to do anything about it. I told my psychiatrist that they were psychosomatic Stigmata - the Stigmata are the wounds Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross. Three days later all my sores were gone. -- Michael Crawford
Maybe tomorrow. -- Michael Crawford
As soon as she has her first period, fuck your daughter. -- localroger

3? (none / 0) (#126)
by Delirium on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 06:41:33 AM EST

The average science PhD in the US is approaching 7 these days.

How to game the U.S. higher-education system | 125 comments (103 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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