Personal Education vs. Formal Education

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We’re going to be up-front here. One hesitation we had in creating a community like Sans the Degree was that we are dismissing the value of an education. We’re not.

We do, however, empower our peers pursuing the no-college-degree-route. We also discuss the value of education, whether formal or Personal. On this site, we regularly talk about the importance of your Personal Education. This term defines the the actions you take to enhance your knowledge of the world and your field.

When a formal college education is not your cards, you are still responsible for educating yourself. Hence the term, Personal Education.

There are many non-traditional avenues in which you can personally educate yourself. Here are a few of them:

1. Non-collegiate classes/programs

Aside from college courses, there are classes and programs that provide certification at completion. They are also a fraction of the cost.  As a professional, Sans the Degree, you must continuously add to your resume and skill-set. Perform a search for classes or certifications specific to your field. See what kind of recognition the program has regionally and nationally.

2. Scholarly Articles and Peer-Reviewed Journals

Not all information is created equally. Indeed, it’s easy to read sources that are inaccurate and narrow. With the prominence of digital technology, it is possible to surround yourself with information that doesn’t challenge your world-view. Sources should be analyzed before reading. Learn more about evaluating a source HERE.

3. Trade/Vocational School

Trade School CAN be expensive and require time and energy. However, it will be a valuable to your tool belt and resume. Research trade or vocational programs available in your area. Certification is a fraction of the cost of a 4-year degree. You will also gain relevant skills that are in demand.

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4. Volunteering and Internships

Working for free is not ideal. When you are stuck in the “I need experience to get work, but I need to work to gain experience” cycle, these options can help. Additionally, if an applicant pool is down to two people without experience, an employer will choose the one with an ‘edge’. So, if you have experience through volunteering or internships, this sets you apart. These opportunities provide a unique workplace education. Indeed, knowing the etiquette, jargon and dynamics gives you an advantage when applying for employment.

Your Personal Education will be life-long. Discover education methods that fit best with your learning style.

Did we miss something? What can we add to this list?

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