mengwong (mengwong) wrote,

Advice to a Young Lady on the Choice of a Major

I have an 18 year old niece in Australia, just graduated high school, now contemplating university.

I fear she has not been given a good map of the territory. "What's an MBA?" she asked. "What's an MFA?"

Even if grad school is several years away, it's still a good idea to get a sense of things early.

Has anyone produced a visual guide to higher education? Showing the difference between a diploma and a Bachelor's, between a Bachelor's and a Master's? Showing the different routes one may take to become a lawyer, doctor, accountant, and how systems differ across countries? In some systems you go to med school or law school when you're 18. In some systems when you're 22. Personally I think 22 is better.

Her family has certain expectations of her. Turnabout would show her what educations her family have themselves received.

To solve this problem generally, I think a high-school class on Education would be very handy. Students have been in it so long, it seems only fair to give them a look behind the scenes, and show them how they, the sausages, were made. It would be incredibly eye-opening to learn that there are alternatives. The curriculum could include readings like Newman's The Idea of a University and Postman's The End of Education.

Anyway, I ended up writing my niece a letter extolling the benefits of a liberal arts education. I might buy her Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton – a wonderful introduction.

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Tags: coco, education, john henry newman, liberal arts, neil postman

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