September 7, 2004


The New College Entrance Exam (Douglas Kern, 09/07/2004, Tech Central Station)

Why should hapless high school seniors have to apply to colleges? Why shouldn't colleges apply to them?

College is a massive investment of time, energy, and money. Ordinarily, endeavors that require massive investment try to make themselves appealing to the consumer, and not vice versa.

Forget those stupid brochures and meaningless entries in college guide books. It's time for America's colleges to load a fresh sheet of paper in the typewriter and get to work.

Colleges must answer three of the following 15 questions. Space limit is 250 words.

Remove federal money and make students genuine consumers and this will happen.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 7, 2004 9:22 AM

In order to do this, we have to get away from the myths that we have created as a society about education and alleged intellectuals.

There is absolutely no good reason for anyone to be subsidized by taxpayer money to study the so-called 'humanities', along with most of what are laughingly referred to as 'social sciences.' There is also no good reason for anyone to be subsidized on taxpayer money to become a professional parasite, i.e. lawyer or public administrator.

The vast bulk of work product of most academics is useless crap. When I got to grad school, I realized that I was never going to add anything of substance to the world of probability theory and if I were in fact able to, I'd be living in a penthouse suite at Caesar's in Vegas, with hot and cold running gorgeous babes. When you enter academia, you teach 6 hours a week at most and spend the rest of your time 'writing.' How this benefits the taxpayer is beyond me. If we taught 20-25 hours a week, and created special institutes for the small number of really talented people to do the heavy lifting in scientific, mathematical and engineering research without the pressures of teaching, we'd be better off.

Learning is a lifetime exercise, not restricted to 4 years of isolation. Lots of people would be better off if they spent time learning a trade at a DeVry or an ITT Tech, getting a library card and surfing the net, than wasting 4 years of their lives at crappy liberal arts colleges studying nonsense.

Learning is only of real value if it helps you do stuff and understand the world around you. People should learn foreign languages but should not waste their time parsing literature in those languages on the taxpayer's dollar. They should instead focus on matters of daily intercourse, commerce, and matters of state. It is nice to be able to read Cervantes in the original, but no one needs to subsidize your thesis on his really being a Black lesbian, trying to pass himself off as a Castilian Hidalgo.

Posted by: Bart at September 7, 2004 9:45 AM


Posted by: ed at September 7, 2004 10:37 AM

Regarding point #5, athletic vs. academic scholarships: As irritating as it may be to those of us who view colleges as centers of learning, and not as professional football and basketball's minor leagues, it's true that for many schools, sports are money-makers.
Even if the schools don't make an actual profit on the games themselves, (and some schools' elite sports teams do), a successful sports team can work wonders in prying loose donations from former students.
Therefore, it makes sense at many schools to offer far more sports scholarships than academic ones.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 7, 2004 10:52 AM


Good catch.
I'm old enough that it made sense to me.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 7, 2004 10:58 AM


What really makes sense is for colleges to use sports teams as an investment like an apartment complex or laundromat. Let's end the student/athlete fiction in revenue-producing sports. Who cares if a linebacker is an illiterate felon as long as he can tackle people on Saturdays? If we eliminate the expectation that the athletes will have to do college work and live among the college students, but instead have them treated like other university employees who get paid for their efforts, we would eliminate the hyprocrisy and the exploitation that make revenue-producing college athletics such a cesspool. If a player wants to stay there for 20 years, if the school will have him that shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by: Bart at September 7, 2004 11:41 AM

Michael- I've still got two somewhere in the house.

Posted by: ed at September 7, 2004 1:01 PM


Sounds good to me, but it won't happen in the next few decades, if ever.
Schools like not having to pay their athletes.

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