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Melvin Roest

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Internships are better than a full university education

I'm curious what you think. I noticed a really interesting effect in my current job (but you could see it as an internship).

When I go to university I get lectures together with 100+ students or I get practical sessions with 30+ students. So the teacher to student ratio is 1:30 at best. I read about the effect of 1 on 1 instruction, and the last weeks I have experienced it.

I have experienced 1 on 1 instruction from experts in my field, and I have experienced what it means to figure things out for yourself and only learn what's relevant for you. These are two things that university education lacks in my opinion.

On the side of university education I have noticed that if you do it in the right way, it will broaden your thinking (i.e. do an honours program). Furthermore, you will get subjects that you don't like but will like afterwards, and realize that they were really useful.

Still I do not believe these 2 qualities weigh up against 1 on 1 instruction and learning only things that are relevant to a person (qualities which my job has).

I am curious to know how you see this topic, because I could imagine that I might be lucky in having such a job, or that I'm missing the point with what university education is for.

For reference: I completed a bachelor program, and currently study 2 master programs and another bachelor program, all in The Netherlands. The funny thing with my job, it combines all three things that I'm studying right now (computer science, psychology and games).

Edit @ 24 March:
Initially when I started the conversation I wanted to reply to all your comments, because your replies prove to be a valuable learning experience. And I did read all the comments, but I am having a beginning form of RSI (especially with typing, not with using the mouse). So I did not type for the past few days. So I am quite limited in replying.

Topics: university
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    Mar 20 2014: My experience of internships and university study is similar to you Melvin. However, I do not think one would be nearly as useful to the student without the other. Internships are what made me highly employable after graduation, but without my course work I would not have known about my field of study let alone had the opportunity to seek work.
    Consider the many degree fields and professional licenses that require x-number of hours completed in the field prior to graduation or sitting for exams. This shows that universities understand not everything is appropriate to lecture/lab set-up.
    Time spent at college does accomplish much more than hours in a library and exam scores; Maturity, ability to take instruction, teamwork, prioritizing, and dedication to name a few. I have often herd the saying that, getting a bachelors degree simply proves you can follow directions. I find truth in that statement, and maybe the reverse side to it is that internship simply proves that you can be productive.

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