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What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise | Reply
I study at Computer Engineering. This is my second year. I met some graduates, they said that "you will not use what you have learned at school". oopps . Why I am going to school, just for a piece of paper?What do you about that?

What is the importance of GPA, there are some courses which I have to take, but I don't like, such as electric circuits. I have not decide what I will do after my graduate.I can see two options.
1-)find a job and work
2-)continue to academic career

For both of them, which skills of mine, I should improve, I am sure there are a lot of people who are working for a company or doing master science.For example in order to accepted from a good university in Usa what do you I need(GPA, something else)? Or a good job with long holidays and big checks :)
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by metdos) | Reply
University first teaches you how to learn, one way or another. Then you take classes full of material, most of which you will forget (although it's easier to learn the second time) and not need in the "real world" anyway. But... I have problems with ultra-focused curricula; at that point, you might as well just go to a vocational school or something. University is and should be more generalized.

Yes, there will always be classes you don't like, that's just the way things go. But, for the most part, it's not as if the topics taught aren't useful or interesting. Sure, it may not be directly relevant to whatever you're going to go into, but I feel like you shouldn't be able to consider yourself educated unless you have familiarity with a lot of things, so you really should give the classes a chance.

(I said to myself three years ago, "Oh no, electrical engineering! I hate it and will stay as far away as possible!" As it turns out, that was a complete lie. I'm still not any good at it, but it is growing on me.)

The way I see it, university is four years in which to learn as much as you can. For me, this actually means branching out into a bunch of different fields. Too bad I didn't realize this earlier on.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by antimatter) | Reply
Also, you'll have an easy opportunity to meet people who might be your friends for a very long time! =)
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Larry) | Reply
>> ....who might be your friends for a very long time! =)

I feel it is friends for life time ? :)
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by metdos) | Reply
Benefit of undergraduate degree is a job. Pretty big benefit there :)

Do you mean graduate school?

Do graduate school only do it if you're sure you want to. If a job is your end goal and you're really not that interested in graduate school then don't do it.

I'm in graduate school AND a job is my end goal, but that's because I really like doing what I do, so if I like it then why not do it? If I didn't like it, I wouldn't.

Importance of GPA? It shows dedication, but don't stress over it too much. Anything 3.5+ looks fine.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by cep21) | Reply
I'd say a 3.0 is enough at a reasonably reputable University to at least not be harmful. Being in industry now, I'd say that the kind of dedication a good GPA shows is the character to do things that need to be done even if they aren't particularly interesting (because as much as there are interesting things to do in industry, sometimes you have to get things done that aren't as "fun").
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Kawigi) | Reply
GPA is meaningless. While I was school my math teacher always set me scores like 4 from 5 and in one year I even had 3 out of 5 in one semester. It was really strange - as during same semester I was 2nd level diploma winner at National Math Contest and I think was absolute 1st (or 2nd - never placed less then 2-nd) at Regional Contest.

Is not that strange that winner in math contests unable to get perfect score in class-room ? Probably it was boring for me to do routine tasks and sometimes I did mistakes in calculations (BTW, once I did two mistakes in solution to one problem - and those has negated each other and nobody has noticed ;-)
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by TAG) | Reply
Exactly!

I once read a quote in a UVA problem which says:

"I do believe that we are creating students with good results who are not creative. Those who are creative are not always ranked first in our system."
/* Rezaul Alam Chowdhury in his farewell speech */

Even most of the contests do not mark out the creative ones. At last, you gain as much as you train. But who is the creative person who can change the whole world with his simple ideas? That may be impossible to be marked out through a traditional "teaching -> grading" system!

PS: in my past math course, they generally did not deduct marks for calculations :D. They just check that if you had plugged in the correct numbers, calculated correctly, you should have got the right answer. The professor told us, "I assume you passed mathematics in elementary school". :))
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by mohamedafattah) | Reply
Are there any jobs, for creative people who doesn't like teaching-grading system?
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by metdos) | Reply
If you mean those people who are creative. There couldn't be! Because a job is getting in a whole system, where everybody should fit with the others. BUT, there is exceptions. One of them is that you can be creative and earn money in your way. Be your own boss. I just remebered that big idea in the million dollar home page: http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com/
It does not require deep knowledge about anything. It is simple in application. But indeed it is very hard to be created.

But anyway, you say, "Are there any jobs, for creative people who doesn't like teaching-grading system?"
And the answer is yes. There are almost jobs for everybody.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by mohamedafattah) | Reply
Yes! It is difficult to get a creative job and a job will sometimes make you do something that u don't like. I do some boring teaching to earn my living and then set problems to do something creative. These two have conflicting interests but I guess we must sacrifice to do something creative. If I try to impose my creative ideas to my students may be most of them will flee.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by TAG) | Reply
I agree. GPA only measures your ability to do well in exams, to study hard, to memorize many things and reproduce them and to know what answer is expected from you. It DOES NOT measure your creativity or problem solving skills. Of course there is some correlation between the two. Students that have good problem solving skills are more likely to be patient and studious, so they are more likely to do better in exams. I don't think that people who are good in exams have necessarily good problem solving skills.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by dimkadimon) | Reply
Students that have good problem solving skills are more likely to be patient and studious
I would say it's exactly the other way round. Really bright students often don't study before an exam at all, assuming they would be able to figure out things on the runtime. Than they can utilize the time before exams for more interesting things, like playing the computer games.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by slex) | Reply
Or they might take the exam earlier and then have more time for computer games later. (At my school, there was a building at which one normally takes more than half of their tests, on their own time, over some general span of a couple days).
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by slex) | Reply
I would say it's exactly the other way round. Really bright students often don't study before an exam at all, assuming they would be able to figure out things on the runtime.

Not true. Sometimes student who read a lot of books and know much more then school program offer unable to pass exam because of oversimplifications done by professor.

Then in some proof professor omit parts by claiming it's obvious - you will be unable to answer this question on exam because you know that its hard to prove this part. Also then planning a course professor can pick different set of theorems and order of their base -> proof -> results from books you have read.
Also there are more likely be "ego" conflicts if professor do something wrong and student notice it.

Example - then solving system of 8 questions professor decided to save time and bring results he has calculated at home - I've did several future steps in problem (in mind) and found that something does not work well. It took me like 15 more minutes to revalidate my claim and then I've found error (it was typo 1/6 used instead of 1/60 in this system solution - I've not solved system - only has validated it's results). I has told this (including 1/60 value) to professor because he will not get results he is expected as end of problem. As it was late notice - and he has spend last 15 minutes using those results he has told me to shut up and simply write down everything from whiteboard without thinking much.
As you can guess - this was not left unnoticed during exams - he has asked extra questions unless I've failed to answer some. So he has proved to everybody that he is smarter then me ;-)
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by dimkadimon) | Reply
I think people are misunderstanding what I said a GPA showed. It's not about smarts, it's about dedication. Of course, there exist teachers that will give you a B no matter what you do, but 90% of the time if you just try hard and are smart you'll get an A. Sometimes being smart is optional. Showing that you try hard, even on the classes you don't care about, shows something like Kawigi was talking about.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by dimkadimon) | Reply
I agree. GPA only measures your ability to do well in exams, to study hard, to memorize many things and reproduce them and to know what answer is expected from you. It DOES NOT measure your creativity or problem solving skills.

I guess it depends on the school.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
I have to say that I've yet to meet anyone with a really formidable GPA that wasn't creative. They generally are really smart people.

I'm sure that high GPA, as a test for creativity, has plenty of false negatives, but I think as far as false positives are concerned it's probably not so bad.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
Don't say it is a test of creativity. Those students who made 4.0 GPA needn't to create anything! GPA can not be a measure of creativity any way!
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by mohamedafattah) | Reply
That is totally crazy.

We had an honors project, that did get graded, and quite strictly as well.

All of my upper level CS/Math classes required high levels of creativity to solve the bonus problems, which were basically required to get an A. There were interesting projects, where invariably the creative people would do well, and the dull people would do poorly, and they heard about it.

All of my upper level humanities classes required interesting thought and quality writing. I put a lot of work into each of them. When the papers came back I had a good discussion with the markers, who typically found my ideas to be thought-provoking and worthy of an A. The papers that bored him did not receive such a mark.

In my school, all the people in the honors class with a GPA over 3.7 received special recognition. I knew all of them very closely. Each one had written videogames, and plays music, and are incredibly lively and interesting to be around. They are creative people. They are all in grad school now.

At my school, creativity was required to get high grades. Maybe your school is different.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
Believe me, it does really depend on the university. My class toppers will barely be able to code the Div2 250 within the 75 minutes and worst of all they are just too afraid to try. There are good universities and bad universities and I'm sorry to say that mine would fall among the latter ones.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by shalinmangar) | Reply
In my first SRM, i could not solve a div2 250, too. I think after sufficient amount of practice, any student can code div2 250s with no trouble.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by vinay.emani) | Reply
That's the point. Any student will be able to code the Div2 250 after sufficient amount of practice. But as I said, most people are just too afraid to try.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
OK, that's right! But that means that All of those having 3.5 GPA need not to create anything in their projects because there are a lot of courses that does not need any creation. Moreover, those who had created something in their projects didn't necessarily get more than 3.5? If this doesn't sound correct, remeber all that countless courses as English Courses, Management Courses, Engineering Drawing. How often do you need to create an idea in such a course? Circuit Analysis course, which I prefer to make a computer program solving the exam for me? So, how GPA still be a measure of creativity?

By the way, it sounds you are defending your GPA. I am not accusing all those who made a high GPA by lack of creativity. Especially because I am one of them. ;) But I am trying to prove that there exists no correlation between the GPA, and creativity.

Much more, there are limitations of your creation in the university. There are boundaries that you should think of, in order to be acceptable. Einstein's ideas couldn't be accepted in his time, because of the old Newtonian physics. And he definitely did not get the 4.0 "your measure of creativity". But with just one and only one simple idea concerning Relativity, he could explain thousands of physical phenomena that had no comfortable expanation. However, that was not accepted and he did not get a Nobel Prize for his theory of Relativity. On the contrary, there are scientists who had no problems on getting a high GPA. As much as I remember, Heisenberg had always been ranked in his school / university.

Even in TopCoder, you are bounded by the Von Neumann architecture. Although one day another one can have his own working ideas that replaces that architecture.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by mohamedafattah) | Reply
I guess what I really take issue with is the claim that "no correlation" exists. What I have tried to say is that, in my experience, I have never found that a 4.0 GPA has failed to predict creativity. As I said, it rarely has false positives. This almost immediately destroys the idea that there is no correllation, or that GPA has 'nothing to do with' creativity. Those are very strong claims, and I stand by my statement that "they are totally crazy".

I probably sound like I'm defending my GPA because I'm pointing out that my grades required creativity from me. I have no surer data than this direct experience.

It's a common misconception that Einstein didn't get good grades because his ideas we not accepted. Actually he had quite a respectable average, and was an imposing student, but had the tendency to be sidetracked by his own projects (he was quite distractable, you see, there's even a fairly recent suggestion from psychologists that he had ADD). Numerous bright individuals have missed straight A's due to bad luck, inattention, indifference, etc. etc.

It's just that in most serious programs (that I know of, anyway) creativity is required to make excellent marks, and anyone who manages to do so for every single course is very likely to possess some creative aptitude. Therefore, GPA has 'something to do with' creativity and problem solving. There is a correllation. And in fact, high grades appear to be a very good predictor of creativity. It appears that you have confused this fact with another one: low grades are not the best predictor of no creativity.

Too often I hear pronouncements that something has 'nothing to do with' this, or 'is because of that'. The truth is nearly always more complex.

Edit:

To shalinmangar -- is this true? Does the university faculty know this? It seems to represent an incredible failing of the system if this is so... my 12 year old brother can handle Div2 250s, and he's not paying for the education. Perhaps it might be a good idea to offer a wakeup call to the university, by recommending some kind of TC event to the faculty -- perhaps it will shock them into action. TopCoder is a fairly objective measure of a certain type of problem solving aptitude. Maybe it would be good for the universities to have faculty aware of their failings in this area.

But to be honest I suspect that it is not true. Given practice I think that most coders will be able to manage the Div2 250s.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
But to be honest I suspect that it is not true. Given practice I think that most coders will be able to manage the Div2 250s.

Please, don't be that honest telling him that he is suspected! Moreover, if all coders are able to manage the Div2 250s, why there exists DIV2? Div2 250 point problem is the most important difference between div1 and div2.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
I assure you it's quite true. I italicized the code in my post to mean that they sure can solve it but coding is another matter. Maybe I was exaggerating the situation a little but I am not saying this figuratively. I have organized programming contests in my college containing Div2 250s and Div2 500s and no team (two students in each) was able to get more than 3 250s in 3 hours. There were no successful solutions for the 500s. This has repeated itself three times.

The problem is not so simple to identify and correct. Given the huge amount of jobs in the Information Technology sector in India, any reasonably bright student with a college degree can land a reasonably paying job. Therefore, almost no students are willing to go for teaching as a career. Without good teachers who set and evaluate the exam papers, creativity cannot be fostered.

In my college's case, a central university drafts the syllabus and exam papers for all subjects. If these people set a test paper requiring creative answers, the answers would then need to be evaluated by people who have the time to understand and evaluate the answers we write. Given the shortage of such people and the huge amount of students in college this becomes extremely difficult. Hence the tests I write are reduced merely to creative writing competitions (yeah, I mean that literally) which are easy to grade since the evaluators can see how many pages you filled and they can spot the keywords easily.

Some of the faculty at my college are good but with the curriculum and test papers coming from the central university they don't have the freedom to change too many things. But they do foster programming skills by asking for assignments in code...to which most students divide the work among themselves and share the code.

In my college the students are placed in companies in their third year (junior year as the call it in the USA). After that, all they have to do is to maintain a certain level of marks till they graduate and start working where most companies like Infosys, Wipro etc have their own training period to teach them the things they need to do. So nobody tries hard in college because they can get a comfortable life without the effort. Everybody wants to work with companies like Google, Microsoft but they don't want to put in the required effort. It seems like they have just accepted their fate and I find that really disgusting. Again there are exceptions in people like me who are trying to break out of this but the going is not easy.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by shalinmangar) | Reply
To add to shalinmangar's post. This problem is not limited to the just the centralised universities. I'm in a deemed university where the professors can make all the decisions they want to. My institute is regarded amongst the best in the country, but the situation is equally bad here. There are a few briliant students, and that is despite of the institute.

The worst example of this was my Design and Analysis of Algorithms Paper in the third year. The questions were directly about writing down some algorithms which had been done in the lectures, without the teacher or the students understanding the basic mechanism being followed. Though it was called Design and Analysis of Algorithms, it was more of Memorization of some standard algorithms.

Shalin's case seems better where students divide the work. Here we have those brilliant few coding, and their solutions being submitted by everyone. And in the practical examinations, we will have questions only from those exercises which we have done. So its just a question of memorizing the programs, and then typing them out.

The B.Tech projects which are such an important part of the course, students instead of working on them throughout the year, the work happens only in the week before the submission. (Yes, the week! Its not an exaggeration), and still everyone gets an AB (we have a 10 point system, starting from AA,AB,BB and so on). I have personally suffered from it the last semester, and at times did wonder how useful it was to have put in so much effort.

Somehow I don't agree with the fact that GPA co-relates with creativity. The best coders of my institute are 6-7 GPA types.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
I'm not sure about the students but a large part of the professors at my university would do very poorly in SRMs.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by metdos) | Reply
"Why I am going to school?"

Well here are some of my reasons:

1. Meet new people
2. Learn new and interesting things. It doesn't matter if I don't use them later in life
3. Find out how I compare with other students
4. Get free food :)
5. Avoid having a real job and getting up early in the morning :D
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by metdos) | Reply
More and more companies (in the UK at least) require a univeristy degree as a pre-requisite.

Why?

You may be a very very good programmer but when screening resumes most companies don't have the time to assess each individual candiate on his or her particular strengths and a university degree is a very easy place at which HR departments can 'set the bar'.
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