Shop ‘Till You Drop?

This time of year we think about shopping. Christmas presents rank high on our to-do list. But millions of young people are shopping for one of the most expensive items imaginable: an undergraduate education. An undergraduate degree costs a lot. How can people be sure they’re getting their money’s worth?

The standard answer of matching interests, cultural setting, and various preferences seems to evade the main question—this is college, after all. Ask the schools hard questions: what is the intellectual climate like, their commitment to students, and scholarly atmosphere? Do students come to learn, or party? And there are hard questions for the students to ask themselves: am I smart enough; can I work hard enough; are my standards high enough?

Taken to an extreme, such questions are demoralizing. But the more common danger is self-congratulation. We all tend to walk when we don’t need to run. Reputation is useful, but beware of big name professors who fly in for lectures in courses really taught by TAs. Intellectual culture isn’t nurtured off-site.

While the American research university is the envy of the world, we have an awkward system where the highest prize in academia is the endowed chair that requires no teaching: scholars with no disciples. Fortunately, there are thousands of schools that pursue the dual mandate of doing original research and teaching undergraduates.

But they’re only available to those who ask. And choose wisely.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Hit reply if you have any questions—I read them all!

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By | 2014-01-08T15:48:42+00:00 November 7th, 2010|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

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