Attending a Liberal Arts University: Worth It?

If you’ve ever taken a college tour, you’ve probably heard a line similar to this:

“Our college will change your life. It will build habits of mind that will stick with you forever. You’ll get individual attention unlike anywhere else. When you graduate, you won’t just be a student – you’ll be a scholar.”

These are just a few of the promises that small, private liberal arts colleges use to sell students on attending. The implication is that colleges like this are worth the hefty price tag, since you can get things unavailable at large state universities.

But do these schools really live up to all the hype? Are you any better off at them than at a state university? Most of all, is it worth the extra money?
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The T-Shaped Person: Building Deep Expertise AND a Wide Knowledge Base

I dunno about you, but I’ve never been content just having one interest. I’ve always dabbled in lots of things. Over the years, these things have ranged from swimming to drawing to 3D modeling to rock climbing to essay writing to online business (to name just a few). Throughout all of that, however, writing remained my focus, the thing that I would tell people I was “good at.”

What’s more, I realized that the people I admire were also, generally, into lots of different things, even while specializing in a particular area. Take Henry David Thoreau, for example. People remember him for his writings on nature (Walden) and politics (Civil Disobedience), but the dude was into history, biology, poetry, botany, travel, land surveying, and more.

It wasn’t until recently, however, that I learned there was a name for this phenomenon. I first came across it in an on the Buffer blog, and I’ve since seen it all across the internet (an example of the priming effect in action). What is this magical term? It’s called the T-shaped person, and I think it’s one of the most powerful concepts for anyone who wants to build a diverse skill set while still having valuable specialization. Read More…

Use the Dreyfus Model to Learn New Skills

If you read College Info Geek, I assume that you’re not interested in remaining static. You want to progress and improve yourself. Self-improvement can take a lot of forms, including getting up earlier and beating procrastination. But one of the most powerful forms of self-improvement, in my experience, is learning new skills.

Unfortunately, the process of learning new skills isn’t always clear. It’s easy to Google “learn yoga” or “learn to play the guitar”, but this sort of content can only take you so far. What you need is, and what I’d been searching for a long time, is an approach to keep you going once you get past the early stages of learning. I’m excited to report that I recently found such an approach, and I’m going to share it with you in today’s article. Read More…

Why the “Learning Styles” Concept is Wrong (And What to Use Instead)

I first learned about learning styles from my middle school guidance counselor. Standing before the class in our monthly “guidance” session, she gave the following proclamation:

“There are three learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. This test will help you determine which style comes most naturally to you.”

We nodded our heads, picked up our pencils, and took the test just like any other. Once the counselor guided us through the test’s complicated rubric, I found that my learning style was visual. I carried that knowledge with me through the rest of school and never questioned it.

I’ve always loved this neat explanation of three learning styles, and I’ve even used it to justify why I struggled with subjects such as math (“it’s just not visual enough,” I’d complain to my mom, even though the very visual subject of geometry was one I struggled with the most).

So you can imagine my surprise when after nearly ten years of believing in it, I learned that the traditional idea of learning styles is wrong.

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7 Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

When I was in 7th grade, my U.S. history teacher gave my class the following advice:

Your teachers in high school won’t expect you to remember every little fact about U.S. history. They can fill in the details you’ve forgotten. What they will expect, though, is for you to be able to think; to know how to make connections between ideas and evaluate information critically.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my teacher was giving a concise summary of critical thinking. My high school teachers gave similar speeches when describing what would be expected of us in college: it’s not about the facts you know, but rather about your ability to evaluate them.

And now that I’m in college, my professors often mention that the ability to think through and solve difficult problems matters more in the “real world” than specific content.

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4 Lessons I Learned From Jullien Gordon’s “The Other 4.0”

Editor’s Note: Hey guys! This is Ransom’s first article as a full CIG team member. If you enjoy it, let him know in the comments!

Do you ever get the feeling that you could be getting more out of your college experience?

That perhaps you’re only scratching the surface, only using a fraction of the resources available to you? As a College Info Geek reader, I’m sure you’re already way ahead of your peers, but if you want to do more to set yourself up for success, today’s post offers some actionable advice from college success speaker and author Jullien Gordon.

Gordon recently visited my school and gave a presentation titled “The Other 4.0: How To Maximize Your College Experience and Get More Than An Expensive Education.”

Gordon’s presentation touched on everything from debt reduction to networking to living a meaningful life. Read More…

The Student Success Triangle (Ok, It’s More Like The Life Success Triangle…)

How many students do you know that only focus on their grades?

When you’re spending years of your life and taking on debt to invest in your success, this is a terrible practice. When I interviewed Wine Library TV/VaynerMedia founder and all-around brilliant guy Gary Vaynerchuk, he had the same opinion:

“I’m completely baffled as to why people think amassing debt to get a piece of paper that everyone else has and doing nothing else to set themselves up for success is a good idea.”

As I’ve thought more and more about this, I’ve come to the solid conclusion that students who do this are massively limiting their potential. In fact, they can only reach 1/3 of it by sticking only to the books. That’s because they’re neglecting two other areas of equal importance. Read More…

How To Avoid Black And White Thinking: A Marriage Of Heuristics And Precision

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize again and again that black-and-white thinking is one of the most unproductive and misleading ways of looking at the world.

“Political Party X is wrong. College is always a good investment. Notes must be taken on notebook paper. You’ve got to take a stance on this issue. Decide now!

One of the many problems with this approach is the issue of precision. When asked for an opinion on a certain issue, how can you make that judgement without knowing the issue’s details?

Many issues are deceptively simple when presented in the form that humans understand intuitively; that is, when they’re presented in language. Read More…

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