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NordicSisu

If not BYU, then what college to send the kids to?

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

I personally worked part-time at 2 separate jobs,  ran a side gig business detailing cars, did side jobs with my roommate on occasion, attended school full time (with 14-16 credits depending on whether it was football season or not), and was on the college drumline (which honestly took up the majority of the time during the fall). All the while maintaining a healthy 3.7 GPA to hold on to my scholarship and playing a health 15+ hours of videogames a week. One of my jobs was a night shift job where most of my homework and videogame time was accomplished.

I don't feel like I was superhuman, in fact I felt there were still plenty of times I slacked off or procrastinated. that being said, I am one of the few that actually does very well with lectures. I know there are a ton of people who learn differently, but I did well with lectures and tests. I am one of the few people that typical public education strategies sit well with.

Oh and btw... I never once felt like school debt or my living expenses were too high. Tuition was $6,000 a year with my scholarship (and then I was getting paid $2,000 after I got married and applied for grants). Had I continued and gotten my planned accounting/finance degree at SUU and later a masters, total school cost, ignoring interest) would have been around $20,000, but it would have been about $50,000 had I not gotten a scholarship or grants (not counting living expenses).

So maybe someone can help me understand? From what I see, this school loan debt crisis the country is freaking out about seems to come from students:
1) Going to big popular and expensive schools
2) Not working at all in college
3) Using loan money to fund expensive lifestyles and unnecessary trips
4) Students not getting scholarships of any sort
5) Highly intensive science and medical degrees

To me, with the exception of the 5th point, it seems like this "crisis" we are having was brought on by bad decisions made by individuals and not a broken system. Am I missing something in my analysis?

I think you are correct in many ways.  If kids stuck to their state schools it could be a LOT cheaper for many of them (depending on the State).  However, many want to go to the school of "their choosing" which means out of state schools. 

In state tuition can be around 10K a year for my area (depending on the school, it actually can be as low as $200-$300 per credit hour, so depends on how many credits you take if not full time).  However, for an out of state student that suddenly jumps to probably somewhere in the range of 30-60K a year.  Multiply out of state tuition (and you haven't even touched on housing yet) by 4 years and you are over 6 figures for an education.  That's just a state school.  Private institutions can be even more expensive than that.  For a basic State school out of state tuition, at around 30K a year, that means just in tuition you'd pay 120K.  Housing will probably be at least 300 a month, so toss that in to $3000 a year on top of that for a really cheap place that is the slums of University off campus housing and you'll have another 12K on top of that.

Verses Instate without any bonuses of 10-11K a year.  If you have a GPA over 3.5 that's cut in half, and with a special deal with local schools, that also can be cut in half...so someone without any scholarships at all could b paying 2500 - 3000 USD for their schooling.  That's a pretty good deal, especially when compared to 120K totals.  However, there are many that don't want to take advantage of that or the school isn't their idea of where they want to go.

Still, I'd be in favor of making State Schools free to go to for those who are residents of the State, but that tends to be an unpopular opinion among many.

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22 hours ago, Fether said:

5) Highly intensive science and medical degrees

I often think about doctors.

Don't get me wrong: Being a medical doctor is a noble thing for which I am grateful.

But, golly! The tuition money, the time invested, the gamble to see if you can even get through all the hoops of finding a school and a match and yadada and eventually an actual job...

I was getting my hair cut last night. My hair lady's son-in-law was trying to get into medical school, last time I checked in. So I asked, how was medical school going?

Medical school wasn't happening. Son-in-law dropped that plan, used his medical-ish bachelor's degree to sell medical equipment, and wasn't doing too poorly doing so.

I said that sounded like a much better idea and she agreed.

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21 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

Still, I'd be in favor of making State Schools free to go to for those who are residents of the State, but that tends to be an unpopular opinion among many.

I'm actually in favor of this.

I don't mean to sound all social-ish, but sometimes I think if we're already paying these taxes, let's get something out of them.

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On 9/7/2019 at 1:55 PM, JohnsonJones said:

  If kids stuck to their state schools it could be a LOT cheaper for many of them (depending on the State). 

There is a considerable advantage in job hunting to gained by attending a college/university in the region in which you want to work. Useful contacts from fellow students and instructors can help you get that first job. 

By attending the same school as the people interviewing you and with whom you will be working, you have an immediate connection. When you work with people from the same school you have a network and a community. Also, local people often resent incomers from the big fancy schools not in their district. Kids from the nonlocal big school can be perceived as spoiled kids who had everything given to them while the local kids are perceived as having worked hard for their education. Every hear all the abuse heaped on MBAs from big schools? 

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My wife and I got married and took off to BYU-I. My parents didn't give me a single penny. Not that they could if they wanted to, we were a tad on the poor side, but I never expected it either. We got $100 from my wifes parents but other than that we were on our own. I worked part time at the railroad as a conductor and for the college outdoor department running heavy equipment and welding. My wife worked at a call center and at a hotel cleaning rooms. Also together we worked for a vet clinic cleaning and what not. Not all the jobs at the same time but always had at least two jobs while also going to school. We got a pell grant or two but when we graduated I had a bachelor in business and we had just under $20,000 in student loans to pay off. The debt was enough but not too bad. I tell my kids all the time though to not expect any help at all for school. I just tell them that so they don't expect much but in reality I would help them a bit because life has been good to us and we are able to assist. I wont pay for everything though by any means, but I will certainly help and would want to. Trade schools are often overlooked which is very unfortunate because an excellent living can be made with the trades. College is great for some, but a total waste of money for others. Although I came out of school with a 4 year business degree I still didn't have a clue what to do for a living. Not a clue. So I went to work for the railroad and started a business eventually and 20 years later things for us are great but those first few years of our marriage were financially tight man! I remember a fond memory from our college days which my wife and I reminisce on fairly often is most weekends for a date we would go to the Wendys in Rexburg and get a 5 or 6 piece chicken nugget (cant remember how many was in it now for sure) and we would share it because that is all we could afford haha. That is the only time we would ever eat out. Hmmm its funny the little things you look back on with fondness. Well that was longer than expected...

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On 9/3/2019 at 6:12 PM, NordicSisu said:

My high school sr is inactive and doesn't want to go to BYU.  It is, however, what we can afford.  Have been looking online, it's hard to beat that tuition. Have you found another school that is affordable?

community college.  

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A few more ideas:

1. If the child has a strong high school record, wants to go to college, but not a highly religious school, then some state schools offer low tuition and various "honors college" programs. We're looking at Southwest Minnesota State University. They charge no extra out-of-state tuition and have an honors college. I believe their tuition/room/board rate is around $17K a year, and it's not to difficult to get $2500-$3000 per year scholarships. That brings the price down to less than it would cost to get a 1-bedroom apartment in South King County, WA.

2. Military service. This is honorable, can offer some free college courses and tuition subsidies. Also, veterans have preference for all federal jobs.

3. Law enforcement. Police departments, TSA, jails and prisons, etc. are all recruiting hard and heavy in our area. Many police departments are offering near-six-figures. My facility just approved a bonus for all staff so we won't be tempted to change agencies.

4. AmeriCorps, or something similar. It's low-pay, but often offers college subsidies and great experience.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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5 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

then some state schools offer low tuition and various "honors college" programs

I would strongly suggest to friends that they avoid so-called honors programs in most cases. Especially at the high school level, but also at the college level, honors programs too often are merely an exercise in vanity for the student and an excuse for a teacher to get paid for an extra class. In my experience in high schools, honors classes were always—literally 100% of the time—inferior to just the regular classes in the same subject. Their grading was far harder, ridiculously so (especially for high school, where the standard grading is absurdly easy). And I have never seen anything approaching the amount of busywork "honors" students have to do. Much worse than merely a waste of time.

My own personal experience with college (BYU) honors classes is somewhat similar, but I have heard others say that their honors classes were the Best Thing Evar. So YMMV. But there's my input, for whatever it's worth to you.

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I only have my own and my daughters' experiences to go on. High school honors classes mainly served to weed out trouble-maker students, back in my day. The lazy kids thought it was more work so they would not sign up. Since the teachers had more motivated students to work with we tended to get better quality discussions and material. As for my daughters, they all participated in Cambridge Preparatory programs. Since the curriculum is standardized and teachers have some training to use it, the material tends to be more rigorous. My oldest found herself very well prepared for college after experiencing those courses. I suspect that the more common IB program is similar. As for colleges, I imagine it depends heavily on the particular institution. The ones I have read about promise smaller classes, more mentoring, more discussions, and some group projects. One program we are looking into, at a small Christian college, has a scholar cohort, and a separate budget for trips and experiences they will take (students pay no extra). In addition, those who qualify get the best merit scholarships. So @Vort's buyer-beware admonition is solid--examine any program to determine if the work level and extra cost are worth it. I would just suggest that they often are.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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11 hours ago, Vort said:

I would strongly suggest to friends that they avoid so-called honors programs in most cases. Especially at the high school level, but also at the college level, honors programs too often are merely an exercise in vanity for the student and an excuse for a teacher to get paid for an extra class. In my experience in high schools, honors classes were always—literally 100% of the time—inferior to just the regular classes in the same subject. Their grading was far harder, ridiculously so (especially for high school, where the standard grading is absurdly easy). And I have never seen anything approaching the amount of busywork "honors" students have to do. Much worse than merely a waste of time.

My own personal experience with college (BYU) honors classes is somewhat similar, but I have heard others say that their honors classes were the Best Thing Evar. So YMMV. But there's my input, for whatever it's worth to you.

It depends, but seeing honors classes if you include a H.S. transcript for a university application can actually boost one's chances of getting into certain universities that are more competitive than others.

In that light, I would not call it a waste...AS LONG AS YOU MADE GOOD GRADES.  If you flunked all your classes, it will not matter whether you took honors classes or not.

In that same light, certain school systems are favored over others depending on how they are rated and various other myriad factors.

I have seen students that had a 3.5 average be accepted for scholarships ABOVE those who had a 4.0 simply due to being from the right school system, or having Honors classes along with extracurricular activities.

I cannot speak much on Honors classes in H.S. because I don't have a ton of experience with them at the university level...but at the university they are made to challenge the student and many of their preconceptions.  They are made to help the student think and consider.  I'd imagine many H.S. honors classes try to do the same thing, especially for students that are already exceptional and may be bored with the standard H.S. fare.

I'm not endorsing Honor's classes, but I do not think they are a waste either.  I think it depends on the student and what they get out of the class. 

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18 hours ago, Vort said:

I would strongly suggest to friends that they avoid so-called honors programs in most cases. Especially at the high school level, but also at the college level, honors programs too often are merely an exercise in vanity for the student and an excuse for a teacher to get paid for an extra class. In my experience in high schools, honors classes were always—literally 100% of the time—inferior to just the regular classes in the same subject. Their grading was far harder, ridiculously so (especially for high school, where the standard grading is absurdly easy). And I have never seen anything approaching the amount of busywork "honors" students have to do. Much worse than merely a waste of time.

My own personal experience with college (BYU) honors classes is somewhat similar, but I have heard others say that their honors classes were the Best Thing Evar. So YMMV. But there's my input, for whatever it's worth to you.

Honors classes in University is stupid.  No company picks their future employees by the honors classes in their resume, and if they do, run away from that company.

In High School, though, it can clear out the competition for your preferred university.  But, not all honors classes are equal.  In Florida, AP classes are tested - you pass the test, you get the AP credit, otherwise, you're credited a regular class.  College-credit high school classes are classes that, if you pass, can be used as credits for Florida public college (so you won't have to take those classes in college to save money).  IB classes have to pass IB testing and gets an IB diploma separate from the standard High School diploma.  IB diploma gets you into several international schools - for example, my kids are dual citizens, so they can go to the internationally acclaimed University of the Philippines as Filipino citizens (free tuition), and if my kid graduates with an IB Diploma, he is very well positioned to get accepted in UP even with a foreign high school transcript.

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On ‎11‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 10:57 AM, anatess2 said:

Honors classes in University is stupid.  No company picks their future employees by the honors classes in their resume, and if they do, run away from that company.

I'm old school and went to school to become wiser, or at least more knowledgeable. My college did not give credit for AP classes, but I was allowed to take a sophomore composition class rather than a freshman one. Did it help me get job? Probably not. I liked it better though. It was more challenging. For me, that was enough. Likewise, students who enroll in honors college programs aren't looking for an extra $10K+ salary, or even a place in the employment line closer to the front. They want smaller classes and deeper learning. The better education may make them more marketable, but, if not, they learn more and can appreciate life on a bit deeper of a level. That may not be so practical or pragmatic, but I wouldn't say it was stupid either. :itwasntme:

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2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Likewise, students who enroll in honors college programs aren't looking for an extra $10K+ salary, or even a place in the employment line closer to the front. They want smaller classes and deeper learning.

If I felt this were always or at least often the case, I would be a champion of honors classes. In my experience, honors classes are very rarely a better learning experience, and often (ironically) the opposite.

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3 minutes ago, Vort said:

In my experience, honors classes are very rarely a better learning experience, and often (ironically) the opposite.

Do they have honor classes in college? I can't remember UNH having them. 

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55 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Do they have honor classes in college? I can't remember UNH having them. 

BYU has a “university honors program” (or did, in 1998).  If you took a certain number of “honors level” courses and did an “honors thesis”, you got a special certification on your diploma.  Honors program participants could also use dedicated facilities and study rooms (mostly in the Maeser Building), and could apply to be housed with other honors students. 

I enrolled in the program freshman year and took a couple of courses (that were great); and my dorm floor was designated an “honors floor”, so my local student ward was probably a little more goals-oriented than an ordinary student ward would have been.  I dropped out of the honors program—don’t remember if it was after my first or second semester.  The classes themselves were fine, but I believe I just decided I didn’t want to fuss with basically having to do a bachelor’s-level thesis for a sticker on my degree that wouldn’t get me into a better job and might not even get me into a better grad program.  

In hindsight:  In applying to law schools I was waitlisted at BYU but accepted outright at U of U.  Maybe finishing the honors program would have given me the extra “oomph” I needed to be accepted outright at BYU Law—if that had happened, I probably would have chosen BYU over the U.  But I doubt any other law school would have found it particularly impressive.  And given the way state bars are going all PC, before my career is over I may well consider myself (professionally, not personally) fortunate that my resume does *not* include BYU Law.  :( 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1 minute ago, Just_A_Guy said:

 If you took a certain number of “honors level” courses and did an “honors thesis”, you got a special certification on your diploma.

Fascinating. Most employers don't care though. As long as you graduated college, that's good enough for them. Honors is nice, and good for you (I graduated in the top third of my class, I think I barely missed out on actual honors) but in the long run no one cares but you (generic!). 

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On 10/31/2019 at 5:19 PM, Vort said:

I would strongly suggest to friends that they avoid so-called honors programs in most cases. Especially at the high school level, but also at the college level, honors programs too often are merely an exercise in vanity for the student and an excuse for a teacher to get paid for an extra class. In my experience in high schools, honors classes were always—literally 100% of the time—inferior to just the regular classes in the same subject. Their grading was far harder, ridiculously so (especially for high school, where the standard grading is absurdly easy). And I have never seen anything approaching the amount of busywork "honors" students have to do. Much worse than merely a waste of time.

My own personal experience with college (BYU) honors classes is somewhat similar, but I have heard others say that their honors classes were the Best Thing Evar. So YMMV. But there's my input, for whatever it's worth to you.

Honor's class in high school are amazing for my son. He will be able to take 2 years of college math in high school because of them. I pay next to nothing for each credit and he should graduate with high school with his associates degree. 

I never wanted to go to byu or have my kids go. Too many church members told me that it's  the only college to go to becuse it's the church's.  It's fun to watch them get their butt's kicked in football.  I will say they aren't a bad school, but not the only one out there like so many people act. 

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18 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

I'm old school and went to school to become wiser, or at least more knowledgeable. My college did not give credit for AP classes, but I was allowed to take a sophomore composition class rather than a freshman one. Did it help me get job? Probably not. I liked it better though. It was more challenging. For me, that was enough. Likewise, students who enroll in honors college programs aren't looking for an extra $10K+ salary, or even a place in the employment line closer to the front. They want smaller classes and deeper learning. The better education may make them more marketable, but, if not, they learn more and can appreciate life on a bit deeper of a level. That may not be so practical or pragmatic, but I wouldn't say it was stupid either. :itwasntme:

If your university offers a "smaller classes with deeper learning" to some students but not to all students in a degree track... you have a bad university program.

If you are in college to "learn more and appreciate life on a bit deeper of a level" and you have to go to an honor's class to get it... you have a bad university program.

Edited by anatess2

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@anatess2 Even as a fresh-out-of-college elementary school teacher I remember the workbooks offering Remedial and Enrichment options. If I knew a student was struggling I could give him/her the remedial problems. He got to the same place, but the problems were more broken down, and built to the ultimate learning goal in smaller steps. The enrichment option would allow students who already grasped the material a chance to reflect or apply more. I understand the BYU has religion classes tailored for those who are non-members. I suspect that the basic material is the same, but that instructors do not assume a certain background that members have (i.e. no seminary in high school). Some college students only want the basics--especially their first two years. Others want to go deeper. How is that bad?

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2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

@anatess2 Even as a fresh-out-of-college elementary school teacher I remember the workbooks offering Remedial and Enrichment options. If I knew a student was struggling I could give him/her the remedial problems. He got to the same place, but the problems were more broken down, and built to the ultimate learning goal in smaller steps. The enrichment option would allow students who already grasped the material a chance to reflect or apply more. I understand the BYU has religion classes tailored for those who are non-members. I suspect that the basic material is the same, but that instructors do not assume a certain background that members have (i.e. no seminary in high school). Some college students only want the basics--especially their first two years. Others want to go deeper. How is that bad?

The purpose of Grammar School and High School is to learn to learn.  The purpose of University is to become a theoretical expert on the field of study.  Otherwise, you don't need a degree.  You can take a class you're interested in from any tutor - no need to pay the high cost of a University diploma.  Honor's classes to get a degree means that getting that degree from that University is a crap shoot - there's expert and expert-er... that doesn't make sense.

And if you're in that field of study and you're needing a "slower class" for remedial... you're wasting your money - go find another degree your aptitude is more suited for.  You will not make it in competition with other people in your chosen career field.  If you're taking "slower class" in religion for remedial, you're wasting your money.  Go attend Sunday School or Institute - it's free.

 

Edited by anatess2

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There is a lot of media bluster about whether college is worth it or not. Additionally, many moderates and conservatives are alarmed at the radical leftist bent of some schools and programs, and the anti-free-speech tact many liberals have embraced--all in the name of social justice and racial/cultural sensitivity. Buyers must beware--more so than in the past. However, the cynicism and ledger-book mentality that some conservatives have adopted is concerning. I am a social and economic conservative, yet majored in uber-left fields (Education, History/Political Studies, and Divinity). I fear that the liberal and fine arts are becoming far too scarce.

Perhaps my own story will help. I was a first-generation college student, graduating from Seattle Public Schools. As a result, I received relatively generous scholarships from Whitworth University, and entered with a business major. Two years in I realized business was not for me, and I was able to change my major to a double: Elementary Education and History/Political Studies. I did two exchange programs (Hong Kong and Korea), and still graduated in four years. Entering college I had no family guidance, and obviously did not initially know what I wanted to do or become. Whitworth (a Presbyterian liberal arts college) worked for me because it was liberal arts, and had the flexibility to allow me to explore for awhile, before I settled on my specialties. I would not change my background. However, I also would not steer perspective students towards my alma mater. It's climate has changed. The political antics I participated in there (as a young person learning what I believed and how mature, educated people should communicate) would probably have had me under discipline today.

So, I still value a flexible liberal arts curriculum. I love the idea that a student can take a couple of years to explore a variety of subjects before finding his/her specialty. At the same time, university is 3X more expensive than when I went. The pressure to make the studies count, to not waste time on unnecessary courses, and to live a debt-free life as quickly as possible all combine to undermine the classic liberal education model. Honestly, many students probably should veer towards trade schools, apprenticeships, or even military service after high school. However, I hope the liberal arts remain for some. In an age where analysis and calculation rule, we need some broader thought and beauty to temper us.

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19 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

There is a lot of media bluster about whether college is worth it or not. Additionally, many moderates and conservatives are alarmed at the radical leftist bent of some schools and programs, and the anti-free-speech tact many liberals have embraced--all in the name of social justice and racial/cultural sensitivity. Buyers must beware--more so than in the past. However, the cynicism and ledger-book mentality that some conservatives have adopted is concerning. I am a social and economic conservative, yet majored in uber-left fields (Education, History/Political Studies, and Divinity). I fear that the liberal and fine arts are becoming far too scarce.

Perhaps my own story will help. I was a first-generation college student, graduating from Seattle Public Schools. As a result, I received relatively generous scholarships from Whitworth University, and entered with a business major. Two years in I realized business was not for me, and I was able to change my major to a double: Elementary Education and History/Political Studies. I did two exchange programs (Hong Kong and Korea), and still graduated in four years. Entering college I had no family guidance, and obviously did not initially know what I wanted to do or become. Whitworth (a Presbyterian liberal arts college) worked for me because it was liberal arts, and had the flexibility to allow me to explore for awhile, before I settled on my specialties. I would not change my background. However, I also would not steer perspective students towards my alma mater. It's climate has changed. The political antics I participated in there (as a young person learning what I believed and how mature, educated people should communicate) would probably have had me under discipline today.

So, I still value a flexible liberal arts curriculum. I love the idea that a student can take a couple of years to explore a variety of subjects before finding his/her specialty. At the same time, university is 3X more expensive than when I went. The pressure to make the studies count, to not waste time on unnecessary courses, and to live a debt-free life as quickly as possible all combine to undermine the classic liberal education model. Honestly, many students probably should veer towards trade schools, apprenticeships, or even military service after high school. However, I hope the liberal arts remain for some. In an age where analysis and calculation rule, we need some broader thought and beauty to temper us.

In the Philippines, liberal arts degrees lead to starvation for the majority of people.  So, most people that go spend the money on a liberal arts degree are those who have more money than they know what to do with.  The exception, of course, is those entering Catholic priesthood.  But then, the Catholic Church pays for their education.

But, even then, the Philippines is chock full of creative artists, philosophers, historians, writers, etc. etc.  The producers of the play Miss Saigon could not believe it when they went to the Philippines to find some "Vietnamese looking" artists and found a giant throng at auditions from all walks of life, all with at least 5 years of experience performing infront of at least 10,000 people.  They settled for then 18-year-old Lea Salonga for the lead role - a singer/actor who has been performing on stage for 12 years.... and she was in pre-med school!  They casted a bunch of Filipinos for supporting roles and back-up roles in one day.

Most Filipinos don't learn liberal arts in college.  They learn them through life experience and apprenticeships.  For example - my father is one of 9 children.  Among them, there is 1 lawyer, 1 teacher, 1 doctor, 2 nurses, an architect and 3 engineers.  The lawyer is a historian and a linguist.  He published several books on Philippine History including Muslim/Christian relations and Political History.  He also founded a linguistic movement whose aim is to preserve certain Visayan dialects against the new culture of English-infused native tongue.  They have published several dialect dictionaries, become editor and publisher for writers in the dialects, etc.  But he makes his money in Law to support his artistic side.  The doctor is a writer.  He writes about philosophy and ideology and personalities.  Interestingly, he practices medicine (he is a general surgeon) for free, writes for free, and supports his family through his elected government positions all throughout the years.  The teacher is a beauty queen.  She used to do pageants until she got married and had children.  The nurse is a musician.  She is in a band.  The architect is a visual artist - drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.  My dad was supposed to be a theologian and enter Catholic priesthood - they were poor so he felt he had to make money so the rest of his siblings can go to college so he became an engineer.  But, he still continued to study theology and philosophy through his friendships with the seminary and habitual discussions with bishops and priests and gives lectures and speeches, etc. etc.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is - the "Bohemian life" of a lot of liberal arts students who tend to eschew the practicalities of life as it "inhibits their spirit" or some such is a byproduct of liberal arts studies.  They tend to think that other people in the practical arts should support their lifestyle as they are necessary to humanity and beauty and spirituality.  My experiences in the Philippines tend to draw me to a different way of thinking.  I believe one needs to develop the liberal and the practical within each of themselves.  The practical side of you keeps you from hunger, the liberal side of you enhances life.  But College is an investment for your future - if you can't get a return on that investment, you're going to end up in the red - so make sure if you're going to take courses that don't produce returns, don't take out a debt to pay for it - if you don't have the money, get that learning where you don't have to pay for it.  That's how you balance practical and liberal arts.

And as I say this, I am reminded of Nikolai Tesla in the movie I saw yesterday, the Current War.  Tesla was a genius - too liberal that he doesn't have room in his brain for the practical.  So he made these grand inventions and died in his hotel room in deep debt.  Tesla never finished college.

 

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In my humble opinion, liberal arts are exactly what I am teaching at the elementary level. Here's how to do math. Let's practice constructing coherent sentences. As one goes up things become more involved. They're good skills, but really ought to be mastered before college.

 

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28 minutes ago, Backroads said:

In my humble opinion, liberal arts are exactly what I am teaching at the elementary level. Here's how to do math. Let's practice constructing coherent sentences. As one goes up things become more involved. They're good skills, but really ought to be mastered before college.

 

"Liberal arts" are simulateously underrated and overrated. The true idea of liberal arts forms the foundation for our society, indeed for human learning. Its importance can hardly be overestimated. But as Backroads says, it should be inculcated into the minds of students long before college age. Liberal arts as taught and referred to at American universities today are marginally useful, often downright deporable. Math and science, the former foundation of much of liberal arts, are considered as a part of engineering or technical trades. Liberal arts as they are taught and considered today include linguistic study as perhaps the most rigorous (!!!) of topics.

A PhD used to mean something important, something substantial. Today, you can get a PhD in sociology, physical education, or women's studies. We have long ago crossed the threshold from the sublime to the ridiculous and downright absurd. This is what comes of commoditizing college degrees, turning them into devices (Nibley used the term "gadgets") for making money.

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I loved my three-month stint in the Philippines, and can easily see that so many found that great balance between practicality and paying the bills vs. cultivating art and beauty for life enhancement. Further, having studied and taught elementary education, I can agree that the foundations of a good liberal arts education are found K-8. Sadly, these skills are often sabotaged in STEM-dominant high-stakes-testing oriented secondary education.

BUT...since we're drawing on culture and experience, I recall Proctor & Gamble and other companies seeking out graduates of my liberal arts school. The reasoning? We don't need business majors who think they already know it all. We want graduates who can read, write, talk, analyze, and who will learn the way our company operates and then do their great work within our system.

It really is all good. Then again, some of the best liberal arts programs are taught at the more conservative schools, like Hillsdale College (which has free online courses, btw).

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