A couple of years ago, I was attending freshman orientation with one of my sons, who was just starting college. In the parents’ meetings, they described the health center, the counseling center, the health club, the dining halls, etc. It occurred to me that a lot of this infrastructure had nothing to do with academics, but was all about the fact that there were a lot of 18 to 22-year-olds living here.
In our society, people that age are not kids anymore, but they’re not quite adults yet. This is a time of transition and many of the facilities and services provided by colleges are supportive in nature, as opposed to academic.
It occurred to me that there are a lot of people that age who either don’t want or can’t afford to go to college but who would still benefit from this kind of infrastructure.
It gave me an idea of an “un-college”. At this point, it’s still just an idea – but I’m trying to figure out how to bring this to life. My mental image of it looks something like this:
An un-college won’t have:
- Traditional Classes
An un-college would offer:
- Training in job skills
- Hard skills (mostly technology related)
- Soft skills (how to make yourself “hire-able”
- Residence Life
- Social interaction with other people of similar age
- Connection opportunities with potential employers
The cost of college continues to rise. I think it’s inevitable that more people start to re-evaluate the attitude of “you’ve got to go to college to get a good job”. I think technology skills offer an alternate path. In my experience in the technology field, if you can do the more – most people don’t care if you have a degree.
Look for more information about this here going forward. If you’re interesting in discussing ideas, I’d love to hear them.
P.S. I know that careers in the trades are another alternate path. I think that’s a part of this discussion, but I’m a technology guy so I’ll leave that to others, like Mike Rowe and https://gobuildalabama.com/