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I think the difference is between learning the material and having the certification.

It's really hard to learn the material, for one thing. Reading a history book or a calculus book by yourself is not at all the same as taking a class with a teacher. But there are free online classes with teachers if you have sufficient motivation.

But in any case if you don't have the official degree then you're still not in a good situation. Part of schooling is the socialization that goes along with it--living away from home in a dormitory, doing your own homework, not getting distracted--these are tests that come along with formal schooling. And then when you've proven that you can grind out a ten page paper regurgitating what the professor said, then you have been sufficiently lobotomized to work in the real world. That's what the degree paper shows.

by asdf on Thu Sep 1st, 2011 at 01:06:52 PM EST
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There are serious limitation (sometimes by law or requirements of professional associations) if you don't have formal degree. So you need it no matter what your knowledge may be. There are professions that would not ask for certification that much but not many of them are "serious".
Education here in Australia is a lucrative industry with all those foreign students that have to pay double or more of what Australians are paying. They actually made "carrot" for foreign students because once they complete their education here and if they manage to find job they will be granted permanent residency. And in this "basket" you could find almost any kind of education (short courses, even for hairdressers etc.).It has been change now and they are allowing just serious professions that are needed here. Industry suffered and some private schools have been closed.
Lately I hear that Chinese and other Asians now prefer to go and study in USA ,cost wise,  because it is becoming too expensive here (Australian dollar too strong and USA dollar is weak recently).

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Sep 1st, 2011 at 08:33:21 PM EST
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People from all over the world like to come to the U.S. to study. Partly because our streets are paved with gold and we are the Land Of The Free, but mostly because a degree from Harvard or MIT or Stanford or whatever is like a medal of honor.

They miss the point, of course. The whole thing about Harvard and the other Ivy League schools (and I assume similarly prestigious schools in other countries) is that you make contacts that will be valuable in later life. You might not learn much economics, but having a room-mate who is destined to be the Secretary of the Treasury in 30 years' time is a huge advantage.

And the problem for the foreign students is that they are, well, foreign. To fit in at Harvard/Yale/Princeton/etc. you need to have gone to the right prep school first. And have gone to the right church, and been in the right yacht club as a young tyke. The Chatham Yacht Club on Cape Cod is not a bad place to start... You will have of course arranged to have a grandfather on the nomination committee...

by asdf on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 12:10:22 AM EST
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Yeah...but I am not talking about children of the rich people that were and will find their way to Harvard and the other Ivy League schools anyway. I am talking about a bit better then average Chinese and Indian families capable to pay for their child education abroad. They used to come to Australia in masses. Australia has quite a few very good public, state Universities and not that many of private ones.

The whole thing about Harvard and the other Ivy League schools (and I assume similarly prestigious schools in other countries) is that you make contacts that will be valuable in later life.

That's right...same with high schools here. Actually people here spend a fortune to put their kids trough private secondary schools for that reason. Once they start university parents feel massive relief.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 01:11:25 AM EST
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They have come and still do come to the U.S. in masses, across the entire range of regular colleges. (Not so much the two year schools.)

The University of Colorado, for example, gets the bulk of its funding from out of state tuition which is almost as expensive as an Ivy. They are gradually turning the big state colleges into private schools.

http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=23006

by asdf on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 02:38:43 AM EST
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