The way that we see education is becoming a bit distorted. You go through school and then on to college, all the way being told that it’s all about the degree that you come out with at the end. That’s your golden ticket that gives you entry to the world of work and without it, you’re going to be in trouble. Naturally, we assume that people with college degrees are more knowledgeable and qualified than people that don’t, but that’s not always the case. Everybody seems to have forgotten about the most important part of education, the actual learning. We’re all so focused on the piece of paper that we forget to judge people on what they actually know.
There are so many people that have never been to college that probably have far more knowledge than their peers that do. For example, somebody that got an entry level engineering job and then spent their entire career progressing might not have a degree but they’ll know the job inside out and all of that knowledge will have been put into practice in a practical setting. Now take a college graduate that has just finished their degree and has never worked in the field. On paper, that college graduate is more qualified for engineering positions but, of course, common sense dictates that the other guy is infinitely more capable of doing the job.
The point I’m trying to make here is that a formal college education isn’t the be all and end all. There are so many other ways to get that knowledge without going through the formal process of attending college and being awarded a degree. The benefit of this is that it’s going to be so much cheaper, however, you’ll run into more obstacles because you don’t have the right paperwork. It’ll be harder to get your foot in the door without that degree but if you get the opportunity to interview for a job, you can demonstrate your knowledge and prove to employers that you’re just as capable. The fact that you’ve taken the initiative to learn all of that stuff off your own back will also impress employers and can actually make you a more attractive prospect.
If you’re finding that a lack of college education is holding you back, but you don’t have the time or money to do it the traditional way, here’s how to get a college level education for free.
Get The Books
The teachers that take your classes are going to give you good information but the lion’s share of the learning at college comes from reading books. These aren’t some magical books that you can only access once you enroll in a college course, anybody can buy them online anytime they want. The only issue you’ll run into is that they can be pretty pricey. Not as expensive as a four year college course though. You can save money if you buy used textbooks online, they’ll usually be a year or so old but most of the time the information is pretty much exactly the same as the newer editions. While you won’t have the benefit of a teacher to help you understand bits that you get stuck on, you can still learn most of the stuff on a college course by reading all of the textbooks. If you do a few quick google searches you can usually find out what the main textbooks in a given subject are. Get some used copies and work through them and you should learn everything you need to know.
Job experience is fast becoming more important than degrees when employers are hiring anyway, so it’s often a better alternative than a college degree. Four years is a long time and you can learn a lot through working in that time. When you finish school you’ve got two choices, you either go to college or get a job. Somebody that goes straight into an entry level job when they leave school can work their way up in those four years. When their peers graduate college, they’ll be able to enter the industry at a higher level. However, the person that went straight into that job could easily have worked their way up to a higher level in the four years that it takes people to get a degree.
More importantly, you’ve got experience of using that knowledge in a practical sense. Employers are increasingly focused on this because regardless of what you learn at college, that doesn’t necessarily prove that you can do the job effectively. While a lot of jobs require a degree, employers are starting to be more flexible on that and hire people that have proven themselves in the job instead of going to college.
Online resources are completely changing the way that education works and it could make college obsolete in the future if people embrace it properly. There are so many great resources out there where you can get a college education completely free. A lot of them even have live streams of the classes as well as resources for reading etc. If you’re doing it this way, you’re getting everything that a normal college student is getting, but you aren’t paying for any of it. It’s also far more flexible because you can just do it online whenever you’ve got the spare time.
One of the most popular sites is Khan Academy. They have so many lessons in Maths, Science, Computing, Arts and Humanities all the way from high school up to college level. There are so many great resources on there and it’s all completely free.
Coursera is another great one that you can actually get a certificate from as well if you want. They have two levels of membership; the free one gives you access to all of the video lectures and learning resources, but you won’t get a certificate at the end. However, if you pay $49, you can get an official certificate at the end to prove that you’ve passed all of the assessments.
There was a time when you needed to go to college to get where you wanted to be, but that’s just not the case anymore.