How to Pick a College

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8 mins read

So you’ve done the Dad thing and it’s almost time for your kid to go to college, to graduate, to fly off and make something of himself.

There’s an assumption snuck in there that most of you probably caught, especially if you read Commie College Want Your Kids last week. Maybe the kid has to go to college, and maybe not. That’s a decision only you can make. If he wants to be an auto mechanic, there are many options available, and a college certificate program might be the best. If he wants to be a pharmacist, there’s no way around six or eight years in a classroom. If he wants to learn English Lit, the Carnegie library rather than college should be his home for the next few years while he works out his issues. College should never be a default decision and it is seldom an absolutely necessary one.

The hard truth is that modern college is not primarily for education — education is free. College is the purchase of a credential, a ticket, to a given job. And one should only buy the ticket if it’s absolutely necessary to get where your heart is set on going and if it will be worth the money you must spend to get it.

But once you’ve decided that there’s no way around college, you’ve still got to deal with the commies and the cost. Here are a few ideas to help reduce both:

1) Look long and hard — and everywhere — for the specific program of study you need. If you want a program in polymer chemistry, don’t settle for the private East Coast universities because of the pretty buildings; there are plenty of state colleges in small towns that offer a similar program at a fraction of the price.

But you’re going to have to look deeper than a DuckDuckGo search. You’re going to have to move past the US News and World Report “Best of” lists. Check the Regents websites of your state and all the states that surround it. Dig through the catalogs of every 2-year, 4-year, technical, and business college you can find. If you can’t find fifty colleges of the 4700+ in the US that grant your degree, either you’re not looking hard enough or you have the wrong degree in mind. You can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in this step. Do not cut it short!

2) Do your general education at a community college close to home. With America coming apart at the seams, there’s good reason to stay close to family for the next few years. There’s also the fact that community college is generally cheaper than university, and mom’s cooking is cheaper (and better) than dorm food. If the kid decides that college is not for him, this is the time to find out, not after you’ve dropped $40k on room and board half way across the country. This will also help eliminate the temptation to abuse one’s new found freedom far from home.

Just make sure — and this is critical — that junior college credits will transfer to the university you’ve chosen. If they are both public colleges in the same state or near a common state border, there’s generally no problem. If you’re trying to transfer to a private, and especially a for-profit college, transfer credits may be very limited. Plan this out before you start writing checks.

It’s probably a good idea to complete an associate’s program of study as well. But the Gen Eds are critical to get out of the way.

3) Find a university with a conservative, technical, or professional culture. “But higher ed is filled with commies,” you say. It’s effective rhetoric, but simply not true*. Expensive liberal arts colleges are filled with commies. Liberal arts departments in large state universities too often are. But your kid isn’t going to a liberal arts college (see the bit about Carnegie’s gift above), and he’s already done his general ed credits… even as he steps foot into the university, he should be generally safe from art professors and other lunatic influences, if only because he’s not in those kinds of classes.

This is especially true if the college is overtly Christian. It’s probably true if the college has a large ROTC program. Bonus points if it has on on-campus shooting team, concealed carry**, or if more than half of the vehicles in the parking lot are pickup trucks.

Look at the school catalog in areas other than your major. If it offers degrees in women’s studies, gender studies, or vague “religious” studies, beware. The catalog should be filled with programs that teach people to do something, not to become something. Only then should you start looking for what scholarships and grants are available. Loans are something upon which I will not offer advice.

There are some careers for which the purchased college credential is a necessity. That does not mean that you have to play Russian roulette with your kid’s future. The main danger in college indoctrination is a bitter or lonely child isolated in a radical culture. He (or usually she) will quickly take on the attributes of that culture. That must be avoided at all costs.

On the other hand, if you train up your child correctly, focus him on the goal after college, then place him in a college environment that supports that goal, his study years at college can be an invaluable step toward a lifetime of friendships, mentors, and a successful career.
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* I’ve worked at a small Midwestern college for 15 years and know our commies. They are not even a tithe of the faculty and are concentrated in the arts. Are most professors liberal? Compared to me and probably most of you reading this, absolutely. But a rural Kansas Democrat is generally more conservative than a suburban Maryland Republican. These things are relative.
** A not-small percentage of our commies retired or left when we finally got concealed carry on this campus. It was glorious.

El Borak is an historian by training, an IT Director by vocation, and a writer when the mood strikes him. He lives in rural Kansas with his wife of thirty years, where he works to fix the little things.

2 Comments

  1. Yup. Spot on. Eldest is now doing her last year of HS with voc-tech credits while working. Aiming at a very good culinary arts school with a large ROTC program. Hopes to be able to do enough locally that it’ll be a bachelors in only three years of the high-tuition place. Depending on the details of what she manages to work out with Army reserve or ROTC she should be able to graduate with little or no debt and a useful degree that will also server her well in home-life. Just wish there were good culinary arts programs closer to home.

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