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Torskion OP wrote

Do you have any idea if those alternative thought places tend to congregate in specific higher-ed institutions over others? i.e. Junior College vs Graduate programs or etc


LostYonder wrote

Admittedly, I am not too familiar with junior colleges. The basic idea of community colleges though is to provide particular training and skill sets and thus tend to be more oriented towards learning for a job. Again though, I know in different states the community college systems are quite different, in some they are pathetically bad, in others they are in fact places of quality education.

As for liberal arts colleges (granting BAs and BSs mostly) and universities (that offer graduate degrees, MAs, MBAs, JDs, PhDs, etc.) there is such a huge diversity of possibilities and programs. A place like Evergreen in Washington state is one of the few that holds to a liberal education where you can design your own major and participate in self-made study programs. Private liberal arts colleges tend to be super expensive, but you can get an amazing education with all kinds of opportunities. Some however, like Bowdoin college are for pampering rich kids who didn't get into Harvard. I would avoid anything and everything in the NE except NYC. A lot of the midwest colleges are in extremely boring places, but have some amazing programs with highly committed and engaging faculty.

State schools offer the most diversity and possibilities, but also the most rigid and bureaucratic of experiences with a lot of the student body not even interested in learning. If you can avoid those or overlook them, you can find some fascinating things going on. Much of the BDS movement is driven by university students, BLM has huge networks across universities, and many universities are struggling to support various LGBTQ movements and spaces.

Ultimately, think about what sort of things you want to study, the type of activities you want to be engaged with, where you think you want to be in 5 years and beyond, and what is practical - admissions, costs, location, etc.

I went to college with a warped mind thinking I wanted to go to law school (which fortunately I was saved from by a thoughtful professor!), decided to major in economics, rejected that and ended up majoring in Asian studies so I could travel and study abroad! In graduate school I became more focused and disciplined, but that was also some years after completing my degree, traveling and working abroad, and realizing what I wanted to do.

College should be a place opening up opportunities, not closing them off...