A college education is not just what you learn from your textbooks or in your lectures, it’s also the life skills you learn that you will use for the rest of your life, the opinions of your peers that you’ll use to back up your own argument or that will make you see things a different way. The Internet can teach you a lot about a subject but not all of it can be trusted and sometimes it takes hearing it from someone else or someone actually talking about it for you to be able to truly understand it.
Take for example a subject like history, philosophy or any of the arts or humanities subjects. To get a degree in a subject like this, it’s not all about facts. You basically have to be able to argue your point of view and to be able to do that you need to firstly have your own opinion on the subject and be able to argue this well but also you need to understand and know about other possible opinions and understand the reasoning behind those so that you can defend your own opinion. This is what seminars and tutorials are all about. Lectures are facts and explaining something, tutorials and talking to your peers are about finding out what other people think about it and also how other people understand it, which can normally help you if you don’t fully understand something. For example I could explain to you the exact sequence that led to Hitler becoming leader of Germany yet may not understand it or the way I explain it however you might understand it if someone else talked about it, as they may talk about it differently or word it differently. In a world where everyone learns and understands differently you can’t just expect people to be able to learn everything from the internet, especially as it’s not always geared to that person and it’s not always reliable information.
Now take for example a subject like computer science, information systems or any engineering or science subject. Yes there is a lot of information to learn in these subjects but it means nothing if you don’t have the practical experience of using that information. In a subject which say has a lot of programming to learn, you can’t simply learn this by reading it you have to be able to put it into action and it’s also helped a great deal if you have someone on hand who does actually understand it fully to be able to explain to you where your going wrong or how to fix your mistakes, something the internet cannot do as it doesn’t know what mistake your making and as someone learning about the subject you may not always be able to explain or know exactly whatever your doing is called so say in Chemistry you may be putting too much of one chemical in and making the wrong reaction but you wouldn’t know that unless someone who fully understands the subject actually told you.
Also college isn’t merely about what you learn in your lectures or tutorials, it’s about college life. If you asked someone if they would have preferred to have just studied on the Internet and not gone to college a large proportion of them would say no, as as much as college is about your degree it’s also about the experience you have there. Like learning which alcohol is the cheapest, which will get you drunk fastest or how to make a fancy dress costume with only 5 pounds to spend. It’s the experience of living away from home for the first time for many students that many people will remember about college and that first step to independence. It’s sort of a halfway house between living with your parents and living completely on your own. As yes you do have the responsibilities you’d have if you were living on your own but you still have the support system around you and help on hand if needed.