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Post Reply "Free" College isn't necessarily a good thing?
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21 / F / Oslo
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Posted 5/8/15
Hey y'all.

I feel like I just need to post my opinion on some things because my friends on facebook, who are mainly from the U.S. keep posting and complaining about college tuition.

I was really happy to get the opportunity to live in a country of where my college tuition is already paid for by the government, but as I have studied for almost a year now at Norway's top university I can't help but think of the many downsides to this "free" college system.

DON'T GET ME WRONG. I love the idea of a "free" college and the fact that I will most likely enter the next stage in my life pretty much debt free, but this is what I've experienced so far:

- College professors don't care about you as much as they should. I have now experienced MULTIPLE times of which I have had the opportunity to receive help as a newcomer to uni but all of the times I had this opportunity, college professors have let me down by "forgetting" to read my paper or only giving me 10 minutes of guidance when, in reality, they could have spared 30 when student's didn't even show up and gave me very basic advice.

- Students are EXTREMELY lazy. No one cares about work ethic here because if they fail a class, they can always try again next year in order to not have to pay the equivalent of normal college tuition (basically everything is free up until the moment you don't pass the class). I kid you not, IN EVERY. GODDAMN. SEMINAR I have been the only student, amongst very few others that actually show an interest in attending. On average, at the very end of each class it's roughly only 3-5 students out of 40 that bother to show up. Which brings me to my final point:

- I feel like I don't even need to show up to class. I can just read the assigned books they give me and still pass, which makes me think: what exactly am I going to university for? This isn't truly "free" if I can essentially just pay (yes we do need to pay for the books, which are VERY expensive) to be "self-taught".


My thoughts are basically this: what's the point if I'm basically on my own here? In some ways, I would rather want to PAY for excellent professors and an awesome college experience than be thrown out to sea where it's sink or swim. I'm basically just blindly attempting my best at college with so little help from both professors and students.

Thoughts??????
Posted 5/8/15 , edited 5/8/15
Well, coming from a private university in the U.S., I can't fully understand the differences, since i've never been to college in Norway, but most of what you say seems to be the case out here as well - with some caveats.

For your first point, depending on what college you go to and what classes you take, you can quite easily get professors who don't care about you here as well. Even if its guaranteed that you don't out there, it's still kind of a dice roll out here, but we still have to pay the massive tuition anyway. Plus there are some professors who are just... bad at teaching. They're brilliant in their field, but just can't teach to save their life, and so sometimes they can have trouble helping you even when it seems like they're trying.

The attendance thing is definitely different though. People are certainly showing up to classes (at least in the classes i've attended). Maybe that really is because we'd feel like we're wasting money if we don't. There are still plenty of lazy students who don't attend seminars. I've never had it that bad where it's 3 out of 40, but maybe something like 25 out of 50 I've seen happen.

Your final point, I feel, is more a problem with the modern education system in general. I can tell you that it's the exact same in the classes I've attended. I've even had some professors say "the book is your teacher" and they just clarify specific points about it. There are also some professors who just straight-up teach from the book (almost chapter by chapter using the same examples). I think i've had two or three professors over my entire college experience who gave significant insight that couldn't be found just from reading the book. One professor in particular almost taught completely separate from the book, and taught really interesting, useful, and practical stuff as well. Sadly, he was one of those professors who was just bad at teaching, so it was of limited use.

Now, as I said, I don't really know how it is out there since the U.S. is all I've known, but it seems like you're basically getting the same thing for free - which I didn't even know was a thing, but now that I do, i'm actually quite jealous.

However, i'm pretty disillusioned with the whole modern education system in general, as I don't think it does much to encourage true learning in the sense that I was expecting, so perhaps i'm not the best person to ask about this sort of thing.
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Posted 5/8/15
I know that in the UK part of being able to pass a course depends on attendance. If it falls below 80% attendance for no good reason (this needs to be put in writing with doc notes etc), it doesn't matter if you've handed in all work and turned up for exams. You won't pass.

In reality nothing is free. The education is funded by taxpayers who are most likely your parents, you (if you work part-time and haven't applied for a student tax waiver), neighbours, family and acquaintances.
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34 / F / US
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Posted 5/8/15
I also don't know how Norway's system fully works of course but here was very similar in some ways. I figured things would change after the MCATs and people got picked up by med schools.....nope. I had third year peers who did nothing but only chat and not care but they had gov't grants and figured they'd get passed because of it. But they'd get failed by the end of fourth year and then complain like they were owed. It was insane.
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30 / M / Waterloo, Ontario
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Posted 5/8/15
Norway's system is hand's on vs theory in north america is what I am told.
49109 cr points
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Posted 5/8/15
I couldn't tell you about Norway.It certainly wasn't that way in the US when I went to college,especially if you were seeking a professional degree.I must say though as an undergraduate that many classes were taught by graduate students.
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21 / F / Oslo
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Posted 5/8/15
Thank you for your very detailed response :)

I guess in some ways it's nice to know that the college system and it's many flaws are similar in the U.S. as well. I suppose I've always been getting the glorified version of it through my friends who always post about how wonderful and inspiring their university is but also wish for a free tuition.

Like you said, I guess it really depends.
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13 / F / California
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Posted 5/8/15
Most professors I've had pretty much phone it in. The worst case was a professor that was still handing out paperwork that the original copy was older than most of the students and it wasn't even a master copy, it was a third gen Mimeograph that was abused then switched over to photocopiers.

For those that don't know what a Mimeograph copy is, they where phased out in the late 70's and instead of black and white, the words where purple and fuzzy and the paper smelled like cat piss.



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18 / M
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Posted 5/8/15
Well you see I just want to get in get my degree and get out. I feel I learn better on my own time.
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22 / M
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Posted 5/8/15
I also attend a free government funded university, which, is also the largest and best in western Saudi Arabia.
College professors always have differing personalities and work ethic, all stereotypes over nationality or place of education fail, everyone is just different.
Students in the first year are a HUGE number in my university, however because of the large number and because acceptance to majors is based on your first year GPA, only ~5% get accepted to engineering and even less for medicine and dentistry. In the first year, yes a lot of students are terrible, but once you get in a good major everyone around you is hard working.
As for attendance the policy is if you attend less than 75% of lectures your not allowed to sit for exams (DN) so yeah almost everyone attends
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19 / M / Future Gadget Lab...
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Posted 5/8/15

mesomuffin wrote:

Hey y'all.

I feel like I just need to post my opinion on some things because my friends on facebook, who are mainly from the U.S. keep posting and complaining about college tuition.

I was really happy to get the opportunity to live in a country of where my college tuition is already paid for by the government, but as I have studied for almost a year now at Norway's top university I can't help but think of the many downsides to this "free" college system.

DON'T GET ME WRONG. I love the idea of a "free" college and the fact that I will most likely enter the next stage in my life pretty much debt free, but this is what I've experienced so far:

- College professors don't care about you as much as they should. I have now experienced MULTIPLE times of which I have had the opportunity to receive help as a newcomer to uni but all of the times I had this opportunity, college professors have let me down by "forgetting" to read my paper or only giving me 10 minutes of guidance when, in reality, they could have spared 30 when student's didn't even show up and gave me very basic advice.

- Students are EXTREMELY lazy. No one cares about work ethic here because if they fail a class, they can always try again next year in order to not have to pay the equivalent of normal college tuition (basically everything is free up until the moment you don't pass the class). I kid you not, IN EVERY. GODDAMN. SEMINAR I have been the only student, amongst very few others that actually show an interest in attending. On average, at the very end of each class it's roughly only 3-5 students out of 40 that bother to show up. Which brings me to my final point:

- I feel like I don't even need to show up to class. I can just read the assigned books they give me and still pass, which makes me think: what exactly am I going to university for? This isn't truly "free" if I can essentially just pay (yes we do need to pay for the books, which are VERY expensive) to be "self-taught".


My thoughts are basically this: what's the point if I'm basically on my own here? In some ways, I would rather want to PAY for excellent professors and an awesome college experience than be thrown out to sea where it's sink or swim. I'm basically just blindly attempting my best at college with so little help from both professors and students.

Thoughts??????


Unless you go to an American private school or a top IVY league school (which has a 3% acceptance rate, if you're lucky), and I cannot vouch for that since I'm not going to a private school, what you are describing will occur whether or not you pay for college, and even then, you still have your lazy rich kids with no work ethic that most likely exist there.

Take this example: my cousin, who we'll call Ted for privacy reasons, is going to a community college, which is the cheapest kind of education (which still costs a pretty penny) and you can get for general education ONLY for 2 years. After that, it's up to your grades and income as to whether or not you get accepted as a transfer student into a 4 year university (and eventually graduate school) to actually get a degree (you cannot get degrees as a community college).

Now Ted here had to drop out of a regular 4 year university several years ago initially because his parents kicked him out of the house and he needed a job to keep himself afloat, so after quite a few years working in the job market, he ends up back in this community college. Now Ted's a smart man and he's been studying really hard (and this was even true of him back then), but Ted can only go to college because he has a stable enough job and a place to live thanks to a friend allowing him to stay with him and pay for half the gas, electric, etc).

Ted could've stayed in his four year university prior to all of this if he had the funds to support himself, but colleges here require for the parents to chip in money and unfortunately for poor Ted, his parents aren't giving him any money. In truth, many parents kick their children out of the house after 18 to fend for themselves and many of them are not competitive enough to make it to college because they have to compete with not only their peers, but foreign students with better educations.

When Ted does get accepted into a 4 year university as a transfer student, if he can, he will still have to take out loans for thousands of dollars and not even his stable job will be able to pay them off for several decades. Even my mother, when college was significantly cheaper, had to pay off college tuition loan plus interest until she was in her mid forties.

True, there are students who are much better off, who can afford college and have their parents pitch in money willingly (via FAFSA programs) and they are just as lazy as the people you go to school with. Some of them never even make it through college because they are too lazy and get cut off. Meanwhile, the smart kid still has to compete with the smarter foreign kid and people with little income like Ted, regardless of intelligence, can barely afford to go to college without solid jobs.

And do you know what the irony is in all this? Ted was lucky in one regard: that he got a solid job. Do you know why?

Because they only tend to give solid jobs to people with college degrees.
Sogno- 
45762 cr points
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Posted 5/8/15
i always felt that i didn't mind paying if they worked with me on pricing. like "oh you (or your parents) make this much, we'll work with you on that" or something...
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(´◔౪◔)✂❤
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Posted 5/8/15
My college is being paid through FAFSA and TAP (as someone brought up). Most of my friends have to pay for college from their own pocket. Some of them have their tuition covered, but they have to pay for textbooks. For the most part, they are only concerned with leaving school. I want to stay in school as long as possible because the real world scares me
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20 / M / Sweden
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Posted 5/8/15


Sounds like Norway have some things to catch up on, in Sweden we have just like Norway a free education system. However we've got a government agency called CSN that keeps track on how many minutes and hours you spend in class. For instance if you skip a certain amount of time in one month then you might have to pay them for that month in return for being a lazy dim wit who doesn't go to school.

But if you think they're giving out too easy books then you might have chosen a education that's too easy for you, just because you're at the best university doesn't mean you chose the right education for you.

I suggest sending a mail to some politicians
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25 / M / Fredericton, NB
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Posted 5/8/15
I'd have to say these are pretty general issues with university in general. Canada does have better systems to afford college/university than the US, but would I ever kill to be able to attend free.

The problem with professors not being concerned is pretty widespread. It seems here that most of them are hired with the basis of research having a much higher priority than teaching, and to that point, many of them pay little attention, don't really care, and often enough are not very good at teaching at all. I assume this could be the same thing as Norway.

I'm in engineering too, and although some of those classes have mandatory attendance or miss 'x' classes and auto-fail.. some others, mostly from science being in chemical, have terrible attendance by the end of the year, and out of 300ish students, like 20 of them show up. On top of that, some of them that go don't even pay attention or sit in a place where they clearly have extremely limited view to the board, and I think 'why even bother.'

This is true, for many classes, especially my science ones, I could just read the book/power-point slides online, and not even bother showing up for the lecture, I only go showtimes for the off-chance that they do sometimes cover a few certain things extra during lecture which sometimes might help of quizzes or tests.

I would totally agree, I wouldn't waste my time of this useless education thing where I hardly learn much of use at all. Current education standards are a total waste of time. Alas the value of a shiny piece of paper saying that I studied Engineering for 4-5 years seems to mean a lot to employers.
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