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How to Leverage the end of the traditional University to most wisely spend your Education Dollars

Take Home Point: You can leverage technology trends to minimize your tuition costs and save for the most important parts of education.

The traditional University model of how education is delivered through sagacious professors in physical classrooms, was set up over 100 years ago when approximately 1% of the population – only the wealthiest – went to University. 

Rapid changes in technology coupled with out-of-control tuition costs are quickly bringing about ground shaking and fundamental changes in an increasingly outdated University model.

To me, technology is bringing in a hurricane of fresh air into a university system that has become bureaucratically bloated.  Only a small portion of tuition is going to actually paying for education of students, whereas the vast majority of it is going to pay for non-education related costs.

Universities are now finding themselves needing to lower their tuition costs, and even Ivy League schools are offering online classes as they are realizing they no longer can claim to have a monopoly on college credits.

As a parent, if you want your child to obtain a high-paying job, you need to be thinking that they’re getting a Bachelor’s Degree is far from the end of the line.  After that, they will obtain a Master’s Degree and or a professional degree: MD, JD, PhD, etc.  Even if they are going to become a tradesman such as a plumber or electrician, and they are seeking a trade degree of some kind, you need to be aware of the options for your student to earn any credits they may need through Internet delivered educational methods.

The smart parent will optimally leverage their child’s ability to earn college credit in the most economically efficient way possible, so that your family saves the most money for higher level degrees where physical interaction with professors will be more critical. 

Moreover, cutting-edge schools like BASIS are radically disrupting an aging educational system that is finally waking up to the fact that now in high school a student can complete several years of college through Advanced Placement courses in high school.  The BASIS system is spreading like wildfire all over the United States as parents realize there is no need for your child to hold off on earning a certain amount of college credit in high school. 

Within the next 5 to 10 years, attendance at physical classes the college is likely to continue declining.  Your job as a parent is to think critically about what kinds of courses your child actually needs to be physically present for verses which ones would be okay to earn online. 

Here in Tucson, AZ (USA), an increasingly common maneuver is even for the brightest students – to attend a community college to obtain credits in basic kinds of courses, and then transfer over to the University of Arizona to take the more advanced courses where learning from the expert professor is more important.  As a college and career mentor, I applaud students who are thinking innovatively; why should they spend more money on taking basic courses when they are going to be going to medical school???

Texas A&M University is currently debuting a first of its kind online lecture, which will replace the mandatory introductory economics lecture.  While only 50% of professors support e-learning, this is an unstoppable hurricane of change.

Would some students do better with more human interaction as they are learning? Absolutely!

The University of the Future is likely to be a highly diversified menu of options which includes courses being offered online, or in person, depending on a person’s preferences. 

Will there still be something beautiful and irreplaceable about the famed Oxford tutorial system, where young pupils crave lively debates with world-renowned professors? Absolutely!

But education as a system needs to evolve just like businesses have evolved.  The Quartz article points out: “General Electric looks nothing like it looked in 1975.  Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford look a lot like they looked in 1975”. In another 5 to 10 years, this will not be true.

The New Challenge for parents is to truly think about every college credit, which credits are best earned online and which one necessitate physical interaction. 

Think about preparing your child to enter the workforce.  As a three-tiered higher education system, where after your child has earned high school credit, there are up to three more tiers of education, the basic college degree, the advanced Master’s Degree or professional degree, and then the money they may need to pay for a residency, internship, or advanced training experience.  It is the latter two levels that you should save the most money for. Spend wisely.

Technology is allowing for online degrees, much more customization of the learning experience, and lowering education costs for parents who are smart about having their children earn necessary college degree credits through alternative means other than the traditional way of paying for your child to attend a physical class. 

This is not to say your child should not attend physical classes, as technology can still not deliver the kind of abstract learning experience that can come from a tutorial setting with a small group and a lively professor at the top of their game.  And let’s be honest, if your child’s degree is completely online, they may be more likely to not learn the interpersonal skills they need in order to work with others.  In other words, part of education is socializing your child. But not all children need that socialization from school.

Regardless of how much socialization your child needs, what is MOST IMPORTANT before they begin the dizzying journey of choosing their path through higher education, is to have a firm grasp of realistic career options.   They need to find careers that are aligned to their deepest passions, inborn aptitudes, which draw from their talents and gives them a sense of Meaning.  In order for this to be done, they need to go through a process that turns them inside out, vocationally speaking.

Your family, and your student, cannot afford to spend education dollars without confidently knowing that each education credit dollar is being invested in a thoughtful plan that will lead to a lifelong career.  That way, each step in their Education Path is a step closer to their entering the workforce through a well-suited career that is synchronized to the deepest parts of themselves.  Want to see this process unfold?  Watch our college and career guidance Movie where we reveal our personalized College and career matching process.


You can read the full article entitled “It’s the end of the university as we know it”, published (9/27/17), in the online publication Quartz here.




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Meet Doctor Brunner

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Brunner is a Tucson based psychologist and published expert who has a 20 year track record of clinical excellence, scientific research, teaching, publications, awards and podcast interviews.  He is the senior author of a psychological measure adapted into 14 languages worldwide, and has written over 250 blogs, many of them have gone viral.  He is revolutionizing the field of career guidance with his fresh and trademarked approach that is spreading like wildfire. Sign up here to be notified of soon to be published book, Find Your Real Me: Career Guidance Making You Truly Free.