Dale Stephens, founder of UnCollege, a movement that challenges the notion that “college is the only path to success,” has some advice for students who are willing to take the nontraditional route between school and work.
In his book, Hacking Your Education, Stephens outlines a path that he says will allow students to “ditch the lectures, save tens of thousands, and learn more than your peers ever will.”
Below, a few excerpts from the book, among many useful ideas called “Hack of the Day” that are sprinkled throughout the book among personal anecdotes.
Crash a Class
This hack is pretty easy; I want you to do what I did at community college and what Kirill did at Stanford. I want you to go to a university that you don’t attend and show up for a class. It doesn’t matter which university, and it doesn’t matter what class. I can’t guarantee what you’re going to learn, but I can guarantee that you’re going to learn more by crashing a class than you would sitting at home on Facebook.
1. Identify a university near you. CollegeBoard is helpful for this.
2. Go onto the university’s website and look up the course schedule. Choose a class that interests you and note the time. You can find the course catalogs on the university website that will list the time and location of classes.
3. Be sure to choose classes that are in big lecture halls so no one will notice or care that you drop in.
4. Show up to the next class. Participate in class. Pretend you’re a student. Ask a fellow student what last week’s homework assignment was.
5. If you enjoyed the class, go again. If not, choose a different class and repeat until you find a class you enjoy.