Rite of Passage College: Where Adolescents Go To Binge, Fornicate, and Get an Indoctrination
Parents contemplating mortgaging their lives to send an adolescent to university might think long and hard about whether an 18 year old has a mature enough frontal cortex to deal with the institutional and peer pressure that will be pushing his mind toward mediocrity and conformity on campus. A better way of showing your child that you love them might be to prepare them better to face the world on their own terms, rather than throwing them to the wolves -- albeit at ruinous expense to your own finances. If a parent makes sure that a child's formative years are well-spent, by the time the child is 18, he should have the skills to create his own path.
Many quality schools offer online degrees, but most youngsters will not need to be in big hurries to get a degree. Al Fin has posted links to MIT's Open Courseware project, and other great online educational opportunities. Here is another good link to quality online educational materials: Lecture Fox. Lecture Fox includes MIT lectures along with lectures from many other fine universities on multiple continents.
Government schools have become taxpayer-funded babysitting institutions, so it is up to parents to expose their children's minds to the concepts that will allow them to be successful in tomorrow's world. If you are not already familiar with MERLOT, you should take a good look. Also check out Textbook Revolution for free online source materials for advanced independent classwork.
The number of online resources to facilitate home education for learners of all ages is multiplying beyond the ability of websites to keep up. But we will continue to try to update this information.
Rites of passage are meant to be initiations into a person's future as an adult. Today's colleges are instead initiations into a perpetual mindless adolescence and lobotomised dependency on authority. A large part of society's cluelessness in the face of modern economic problems can be traced to the academic lobotomising of students that has gone on in universities since roughly the late 1970s.
There is nothing wrong with sex when the participants understand what is happening and know what they are doing. There is nothing wrong with alcohol or occasional experimentation with recreational drugs if those involved know how to handle themselves, and know when to stop and "sleep it off" without endangering others. There is nothing wrong with professors presenting a point of view, as long as students are also exposed objectively to competing points of view, and are not penalised for expressing viewpoints that clash with those of the professors.
There is one good thing that universities provide besides good training in technical and professional areas: the opportunity for students to network with future colleagues and associates, and to begin creating a networking community for their futures. It is possible to create something similar online, but face to face contact is extremely valuable. Virtual reality and telepresence, in the future, will help.