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What if you could be just as successful without going to college? Dale Stephens, author of the soon to be released book “Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will,” believes young people shouldn’t be asking, “‘How can I get a college degree?’ Instead,” says Stephens, “we should ask, ‘How can I get the things a degree promises?’ ”
In a San Francisco Chronicle article, Stephens advocates for unschooling, dropping out of school to continue education in other ways. He says that unschooling “provides another alternative to standard education where students will learn outside the classroom, find like minded peers and inspiring mentors, and incubating ideas and starting a business.” Stephens quit formal education after the fifth grade. “When sixth-graders were sitting in school and learning geometry,” he said, “we were making quilts to learn geometry. When other kids were taking P.E., we were taking skiing lessons. We designed our curriculum to make sure we were learning according to the state standards, but we did it very differently.” Stephens received his high school diploma through a program that allowed him, and similar students, to create their own curriculum.
In his book, Stephens tells his own story and guides find success following an individualized pathway. He tells the Chronicle, “University does not exist to train you for the real world. It exists to make money. The professors are researching; the students are partying; and the administrators are building new state-of-the-art gyms. Of course, if you want to be a doctor, medical school is a wise choice – I don’t recommend keeping cadavers in your garage. It would be ridiculous to say that no one should go to college. However, for non-licensed professions, college may no longer be a good investment.”
With the release of his book approaching, Stephens has been contacted by both the Today Show, and Katie Couric. When asked what he is trying to accomplish, he says, “What I’m working toward is for us to get to a place where we don’t ask where will we go to college, but we ask why am I going to college?”