Thinking and doing are of equal value. Places where you can help build a free society and contribute to a university’s sustenance with a clear and concise focus for liberty, passion and community purpose make a shared universe and a good university work. If you sense on campus a dismissiveness regarding trades, vocations and knowledge applied to some necessary and useful task, leave. They are not as smart as they want you to think. Family life and family structure are critical for a free and strong society. Understand whether or not the institution values the social and economic importance of family—families are first. If not, move on. The politics of people should rule, not the politics of process. The can’t-hide-in-the-shadows, face- to-face contact demanded in smaller schools, driven by local forces and real people, may be the most important factor in determining educational quality. People are always first. Processes exist for people; people don’t exist for processes. Only consider study options that put people first. Any university should be proud of the place in which it exists. If you visit a college campus and the people on the campus don’t appear to appreciate the place, have a commitment to it, know something of its history and its citizens, and demonstrate pride in being there, leave immediately. Seek to understand the value proposition the university provides. Any leader in any walk of life who tells any potential student that borrowing without qualification is okay displays ignorance and should not be trusted. Understand the relationship between the value of the degree, the cost of the degree, and the fulfillment it brings. These three are knotted together. Too many people in too many places for too many purposes tell students and parents, “Whatever the cost of the degree, it is worth it. It will all work out.” It’s a lie, and unless those individuals will cosign the note, it’s disingenuous. Get out while the “gettin’ out is good.”
I hope these insights have some value as you make a decision that is probably the third most important one you will ever make. They are the best I have to offer.
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