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April 2015 Archives

For-Profit Colleges

It’s not really surprising that Corinthian Colleges shut its doors. It’s also not surprising that there are students out there who are angry the schools are closing.

I see two things come from this event.

  1. Everyone with pitchforks who hate for-profit colleges want to see them all burn.
  2. Too many students are upset because they’re now without a completed degree, but don’t understand their degree probably wouldn’t land them a job in the first place.

When it comes to for-profit education, it’s easy to lump all schools together. However they’re not all alike. In the case of Corinthian Colleges, their “campuses” were really just large commercial/retail spaces that taught very specialized material. Everest College was strictly medial, and WyoTech was strickly mechanical. These schools did not provide general post-secondary education in high-demand fields.

You can typically tell what the overall end-goal of a for-profit college is by what it offers students. In Corinthian’s case, they jumped on the bandwagon carrying people who sat at home watching day-time TV and collected unemployment checks. I know, I used to be in that position. That was the only time of the day they advertised, likely for two reasons:

  1. It’s cheap to advertise mid-weekday in a market
  2. The best suckers are the ones who feel most vulnerable and use Jerry Springer episodes to feel better.

The second reason is likely a stretch and generalization, but there’s also a reason Jerry is only on mid-weekday in most markets.

The people protrayed in the ads are those who Corinthian likely hoped would see them: single men and women of all colors who probably had families to feed and insane amounts of debt. They just want to do something good with their life, so why not medial billing or fixing something?

That sounds great, but neither are careers unless you plan on working for a large facility at some point in your life. In order to even be looked at, though, you’ll have to have a full degree from somewhere accredited.

Problems start seeping through the cracks right about now.

Employers cared very little about Corinthian school educations. If two people applied for one job and had all the same qualifications but one got their education at Everest, you know which one the employer will pick.

This became a real problem for a lot of students because the faux job placement assistance ended up being garbage. I’m sure there are a few out there who got jobs, but I doubt they got good jobs. A good comparison is the IT world. There’s a big difference between fixing computers at Best Buy’s Geek Squad for a career, making $12/hour and working on one of Google’s many systems engineering teams, likely making $75/hour.

I do want to say that not all for-profit schools are a waste of time. Quality comes down to what they offer, like I said before. That sounds counter-intuitive, but let me give a great example.

Argosy University. It’s parent company has had their name thrown around before related to other schools in their organization being less than ideal. Argosy University as a school, however, offers actual accredited degrees, however. Some facilities go as high as Ph.D. and Psy.D. level education with industry accrediation. Everest wouldn’t have ever reached that goal with the quality of education they provided.

While I’m sure Argosy’s parent company has had their fair share of exposure for “meh” educational offerings, in post-secondary education, it’s not always appropriate to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Before I wrap up, I want to make it perfectly clear that I used Everest/WyoTech and Argosy as examples because those are examples I am familiar enough with to use as comparisons. I wouldn’t promote or sponsor any of the schools or companies mentioned in this post even if I was paid to, because that’s not right and that’s not what I do on this blog.

I will also make sure to point out that Education Management Corp, the company that owns Argosy University, hasn’t been without its faults, but the level of investigation and potentially shady behavior has been limited to specific schools in specific areas, not the organization as whole.

So with that out of the way, keep an open mind, but don’t be stupid. If it sounds like its too good to be true, it probably is. In the case of Corinthian Colleges, everything they said they did was too good to be true and what they actually provided couldn’t have been farther from what was advertised.

The Sad, Lonely World of Yik Yak

https://youtube.com/watch?v=O825ko-BK0k

So I downloaded what some are calling the winner of the Secret-Whisper-YikYak battle for anonymous sharing. YikYak works like Whisper and Secret, except there’s one thing very different about it, at least from what I can tell.

After spending just ten minutes on the app, a trend started appearing. Actually, several trends. If you struggle with any of the following:

  • Boys
  • Periods
  • Love
  • ADHD Drugs
  • General Sadness
  • High School
  • Drinking
  • High School Drinking
  • General High School Sadness
  • Awkward First-Time Sex
  • Awkward Butt Stuff

Then Yik Yak is for you. Ask your doctor about high-strength Yik Yak that involes constantly commenting on stranger’s life struggles with your own quips that likely have a nominal effect.

One thing I noticed with Secret is that people seemed to as least be older than 15. I never tried Whisper so who knows what whack stuff went on there.

So when it comes to YikYak…

Enjoy. I think…

The Vox Media Open Source Meme Generator

I spent some time scouring GitHub this afternoon looking for cool projects. One I stumbled upon was a tool created by Vox Media for creating Twitter cards and Instagram images that included text, source, and site brand logo. I thought it was pretty interesting so I gave it a look-see and started it up in my own space.

I’m not sure if it’ll serve me much purpose and I haven’t seen Vox use it much if at all lately. It might have been a one-time use tool, probably around election time. If you’re interested in giving it a whirl, check it out their GitHub page, their running example, or ~my running example~.

One thing I’m not sure they totally get is that these image aren’t quite memes. These are memes.

Like That Zappos Guy

A couple days ago I talked about killing in people relations, a.k.a kicking @$$ at customer service. I suggested a book by Dale Carnegie called How to Win Friends and Influence People. I also said there was a second book I recommend.

That second book is by the CEO of Zappos, the site that sells a ton of shoes. Delivering Happiness isn’t just about learning how to smooth-talk through the phone or how to close a sale. It’s about making people feel appreciated. The book outlines what Tony Hsieh (pronounced shay) did and still does to make Zappos as awesome as possible.

  • Pay brand-new employees $2000 to quit.
  • Make customer service the responsibility of the entire company-not just a department
  • Focus on company culture as the #1 priority
  • Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business
  • Help employees grow-both personally and professionally.
  • Seek to change the world.
  • Make money.

I took that list from Amazon’s description. They also feature a Q&A with Hsieh that’s quite enlightening and definitely worth checking out. If you have an Kindle or a tablet, I suggest buying it that way as it’s cheaper than the Hardcover and Paperback, and it takes less space. If you’re like me and feel like taking a nap when you read, get the Audible version.

If you’ve read it already, let me know what you think.

100 Books

Amazon came out with what equates to a bucket list for books. Their 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime features a load of great reads crossing all genres and categories. I’ve only read maybe a handful from this list, so perhaps it’s time to start a book club?

Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
 
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