How important is the social part of college?

I am taking courses online from WGU. A lot of people I know say that this isn’t worth it, and that the social aspect of being on campus is more important than what you learn in class. Is this really true? I do like my classes, and am learning a lot. But I am missing out on having classmates to interact with.

Serious students don’t do much “interacting”. They also loose all track of what is going on in the outside world (all their time spent studying).

Might be interesting to compare a “party school” (Like UC Santa Barbara) with a highly rated university (Like UCLA) and see what the differences of their graduates are.

Social life is quite important. Practically speaking, the contacts you make in college become the network that connects you to jobs and opportunities. Folks also tend to make lifelong pals in college. It’s still where many people find their wives/husbands.

I didn’t make lasting friendships in college. But I don’t have regrets because I still got to make some cool memories with people that I will forever cherish.

I don’t think the social stuff is more important than the coursework. You aren’t going to get a degree based on how many keg parties you attend or how many friends you make. But the social stuff shouldn’t be ignored completely.

How old are you? Because if you’re the typical age of an undergraduate student (i.e., 18-22), attending a residential college and living in on or near campus, there can be a great deal of socialization. But I think there is less of that in commuter schools and among older students.

What gives you that idea? It’s wholly dependent on the students themselves; some are cut in the medieval monastic academic mold, and others are party animals who happen to study in between and still make good grades. There are others who study like fiends and still suck at their classes, and others who hit a balance somewhere in the middle.

The truth is that the social aspect of college is really useful for two reasons. First, it’s a great networking tool- both with classmates, and with alumni, assuming your school is prominent and has a well-developed alumni association and pride in having gone to the school. East Bumfuck Community College networking opportunities are going to be useful when you move from Cheddar’s to Applebee’s, while somewhere like UCLA is going to have a much more far reaching alumni network.

Second, it’s a really unique time in most people’s lives. You’re young, thrown together with a bunch of people your own age, and (for most) don’t quite yet have the responsibilities of holding down a full time job and being totally on your own. It really can be the best time of your life, and is an excellent time to figure out who you are and what you like. You can try out a lot of different interests via student groups, you can have romantic relationships, and you can just do mildly stupid stuff with no consequence, unlike the real world. I mean, in college if you want to stay up all night playing the video game du jour, you can, and maybe skip a class or two. In the working world, that shit sucks the next day for sure.

Other than that, it’s just school. You get out what you put in for the most part, in both knowledge and your grade. But you can do that anytime; “college” is for when you’re young and silly.

I dispute this. Most marriages based on college end in divorce. None of my jobs have had anything to do with college.

Cite? The one marriage from college which I know led to a divorce was from a pre-college relationship. The others have been pretty solid. I’m at 38 years myself.
You’d have to show that college relationships fail more often than non-college ones. Since I believe divorce rate is correlated with income to some extent, and college grads have relatively more, I’d guess that the opposite is true. But I have no data.

I had expected that my kids would have reported more social activity during their college years but the impression I have is that it was all work. No lasting friendships that I am aware of either. My nephew was the opposite, networking with old college buddies has driven his successful career.

I worked very hard on coursework in college, and I also enjoyed a lot of really great social time. A *lot *of really great social time. The fun part wasn’t essential to professional success, but I don’t regret a moment of it. (Well, the one night with the White Russians, but I digress…)

Having an opportunity to live on a college campus is great luxury. But, it is only a luxury.

Doesn’t have to be parties; try engaging in some of the extra-curricular activities your online college offers, such as the football team, the cheerleading squad, the glee club. Those offer plenty of opportunities for social interaction.

If you’re not exceptionally shy, you could try out for one of the online plays, or if you are exceptionally shy, you could volunteer for backstage work, such as lighting crew, or stagehand.

How old are you? Socialization is more important 18-22 than if you’re an older student. I didn’t partake much; part of being particularly anxiety-ridden at the time.

The #37 school in the country is dismissed a “party school”? (no, I did not go there) I know it might have that reputation, but we’re talking relative terms here, nobody thinks it’s a bad school. UCLA is 23.

I didn’t start off as a particularly good student, but I eventually got my shit together, worked hard and did well. But my last 25+ years of career success were because I hung out with some other kids that were into music, who got me a job at the radio station, which led me to meet the newspaper guys, which led to a job as production manager there, which led to my first management job post-graduation, and so on…

I didn’t say anything about marriage longevity, so what exactly do you want a cite for? That many people marry someone they met in college? Why would you dispute something as non-controversial as this?

I, too, would like a cite for this.

I wouldn’t have traded my time in college for anything. It definitely opened my eyes to a huge variety of people, and it made me infinitely more tolerant of those with differing views, cultures, etc. I would argue that it was almost as valuable as my studies. YMMV.

I don’t know. Are you? Only you can really determine that. Are you looking to have more of a social life in general or are you asking whether you are missing out on the “college life”.
There is the popular image of college as (at best) a work hard/play hard environment of drunken frat parties and orgies serving as a way station before entering the “real world” of lucrative jobs in corporate America, Wall Street banks and Silicon Valley startups (or grad school). And to a certain extent, my college experience mirrored that (20 years ago). I was in a fraternity. I played on a club sports team. We did all the stereotypical college social stuff - Fraternity parties, college bars, road trips, tailgates, drinking games, strip clubs, even the occasional random sex with sorority girls. Probably got drunk way more than we should have. Ultimately I met my wife through college and I’m still in regular contact with a number of my college friends.

There’s a negative side to that as well though. I found my college to be rather homogenous culturally in a sort of “great place to be yourself, provided you are just like the rest of us” kind of way. And that culture primarily consisted of “douchey frat guys and stuck-up sorority girls”. And this is pre-Facebook/YouTube so that kind of freed up a lot of them to be as racist and classist as you would expect.

If that kind of stuff isn’t appealing to you, then you aren’t really missing out on anything.
Although, I feel like that stereotypical college life is not as tolerated as it once was. Schools have been cracking down on fights, excessive drunkenness, hazing, destruction of property, inappropriate behavior, drug use since the 80s. And with all the smart phone cameras and social media sites, all it takes is one idiot posting a video online and now you are in the national spotlight.
As for whether the social aspect helps your career, the answer is “it depends”. I landed a job with the Big-4 through a fraternity brother. But I was also a recent MBA grad with several years of comparable work experience. I had plenty of other interviews at similar companies on my own.

From meeting a lot of older college and fraternity alumni, I feel like they had it a lot easier. It seems like their generation could be drunken idiots and by virtue of having a degree and a few contacts, they could land lucrative jobs. Nowadays, it’s a lot more competitive. Companies don’t want the drunken businessman who can take clients to the strip clubs.
Your best networking opportunities are going to come through alumni who graduated 5-10 years ahead of you, who you probably won’t know as anything other than a name on LinkedIn.

Networking with your peers won’t be useful until 5-10 years or more later, once you’ve established yourself in your careers. And realistically, how many classmates will you stay in contact with for 5-10 years?

Unless all of you have rich, successful fathers, a bunch of 22 year olds networking with each other is about as effective as a bunch of drunks trying to help each other home at 4am.

So bottom line - career-wise it’s probably better to be a nerd with credentials to get the interview, the social skills nail a job interview or reach out to older alumni, demonstrate their work ethic and discipline and sell them on taking a chance on you. I see plenty of idiots who think they have “good social skills” because they can get drunk at company happy hours. They often don’t last.

My college was also a party school, with about the same ranking. Those rankings have been falling though (although they have also be cracking down on the partying).

While it is regarded as a good school, it simply isn’t on the same level of Harvard, Yale, MIT or Stanford. Interestingly, the more I’m exposed professionally to alumni from those more elite schools, the more obvious the differences become.

I don’t know about you, but in my 7.5 years of undergraduate and graduate education, I never once heard of an orgy.

Drunkenness on the other hand, yeah, that was pretty much de rigueur in both levels of university.

A lot I think depends on the person. I didn’t make any friends or contacts in college but I didn’t in high school either. I wasn’t a book worm by any means; I worked a couple jobs and did plenty of parties and social events. But my circle of friends just never ended up based on/related to my education. So for me something like an online option would probably be perfectly fine.

The learning part in college is about the same where ever you go, Harvard and Stanford don’t have “secret classes” or anything. You can graduate with the same information from Ickydick Academy in Buttfuck, Montana.

There’s a hell of a lot more to the social life on campus than this Animal House example. There’s all kinds of clubs and societies and activities and many of them don’t involve dropping acid. Now, if you want your kid to be rubbing elbows with the children of the CEO’s and Congressmen while in college, then don’t send then to Blueballs Technical Institute of Mobile, Alabama … you send them to Yale or USC.

Why? Because the children of CEO’s and Congressmen tend to go on to be CEO’s and Congressmen … and those are good friends for your own children to have if a high paying job is the goal.

It’s not the things you learn at Princeton, it’s the friends you make and the connections to the Upper Classes.

I am not interested in drinking or frat shenanigans.