• How to Acquire an Elite College Education for Less Than $7000

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    After attending
    college in the late 80’s I became skeptical of the "received
    wisdom" approach to education I encountered there. I strongly
    believed that real truth and understanding could only be found through
    a Socratic
    Dialogue of systematic doubt
    . Instead each course was taught
    as if the facts presented were truths handed down by God to be memorized.
    After reading the very revealing Deschooling
    Society
    by Ivan Illich, I gained confidence in attempting
    a Socratic Dialogue directly with the immortal books. This approach
    has taken a long time and is still ongoing. However I believe I
    have discovered a straightforward approach to achieve an education
    level that is the peer of any elite undergraduate college in the
    modern world. This wouldn’t have been the case 70 years ago
    when colleges were far better, but it is now.

    This will take
    4 to 5 years. Pick a season and work for 3 to 4 months to pay for
    living expenses for the rest of the year while studying. If you
    have to live at home or with roommates to afford that then do so.

    Your study
    plan will be based on 7 books. Each book will take 4 to 12 months
    of intensive study to work through one at a time. You will study
    to completely master the material in each book. You will seek out
    inexpensive tutors that are easily found on college campuses to
    help with this task. They often charge $10 to $20 an hour. Interview
    tutors until you find the right ones for each book. If possible
    try to find a tutor who will read or hopefully reread the books
    at the same rate as yourself. Meet with your tutor every 1 or 2
    weeks for a couple hours to go over corrected homework and engage
    in a Socratic Dialogue. If you need to fill in gaps from your high
    school education, that will become apparent while working through
    the 7 books and your tutor will assign supplementary reading. During
    these 4 years you will also want to do some networking for intern
    and apprentice opportunities, if at all possible to be done during
    the 4 working months. If it’s not possible to work as an apprentice
    during the 4 years of study, that should be your goal after graduating.

    That’s
    the meat of the course. The dessert is getting a recognized college
    degree. You will do this by taking your final year of study in a
    distance program at either Empire
    State College
    or Open University.
    These colleges allow testing out of other courses, so you will do
    that for the other 3 years. You’ll want to be in communication
    with either of these 2 from the start about your plan and progress.
    Make a 4.5-year study schedule of the chapters of each book under
    advisement from your tutors and college. You may have to skip some
    chapters depending on your ability and commitment. Be sure to stay
    on top of this because these books will require a tremendous amount
    of work. Your payback however will be literally priceless.

    Here are the
    7 books, in the order they should be studied:

    1. Complete
      Works of Shakespeare
      or part of that in combination with
      a literary anthology to be assigned by a tutor. Be sure to get
      plenty of writing assignments. 5 months.
    2. History
      of Western Philosophy
      by Bertrand Russell. Engage in a
      lot of Socratic Dialogue. 5 months.
    3. The
      Making of the Modern Mind
      by Randall. Engage in a lot
      of Socratic Dialogue. 5 months.
    4. Man,
      Economy and State
      by Rothbard. Engage in a lot of Socratic
      Dialogue. 5 months.
    5. What
      Is Mathematics
      by Courant and Robbins. Work every problem
      and ask for additional ones. 5 months.
    6. Structure
      and Interpretation of Computer Programs
      by Abelson, Sussman
      and Sussman. Work every problem and ask for additional ones. 8
      months.
    7. Lectures
      on Physics
      by Feynman. Work every problem and ask for
      additional ones. 10 months.

    By claiming
    your inheritance of human achievement in truth, knowledge, science,
    virtue and art, you will also be well prepared for a glorious future
    of achieving freedom and prosperity.

    There should
    probably also be an 8th book that would be a general world history,
    including of art. Any suggestions? Reading additional books by Rothbard
    would also be a great idea, especially This
    one
    . Given current circumstances, everyone of every education
    level should read This
    one
    .

    March
    11, 2009

    Joe O’Donnell [send
    him mail
    ] is a Programmer
    from Buffalo NY.

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