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Below you'll find various resources that support or promote self-directed learning at the college level.

To suggest an addition, please send it to learn@ztcollege.com. Thanks!

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In this video ZTC founder Blake Boles explains one of the big reasons to consider skipping college.

Blogs & Websites

Black Mountain SOLE: Self-Organized Learning Environment for Higher Education

The Open Master's Program

College Rebellion


The Unschooler Experiment

Uncollege (blog and resources)

Edupunk's Guide to a DIY Credential

DIY U: Build a Personal Learning Plan course on P2PU.org

"It's My Life" Guide from the American Friends Service Committee

Roadtrip Nation

Resources from Better Than College

Funding ZTC

IndieGoGo and Kickstarter can help you raise money for specific projects.

Fund-raising tips from Unschool Adventures.

The Psychology of Self-Directed Learning

Read the four-part blog series: One / Two / Three / Four

Alternative Colleges

AERO maintains an excellent list of alternative (including low-residency, online, and campus-based) colleges.

Goal Setting / Dream Mapping

To learn to write highly specific assignments, read this excerpt from College Without High School that explains "Dream Mapping".


Resources from Better Than College: Assignments

Travel the World

Lonely Planet provides free introductory material to almost every country on their website. They publish highly popular guidebooks that you can purchase as PDF files instead of paperback. Search the "Thorn Tree" forum for up-to-date travel reports.

Let's Go is another publisher of excellent youth- and budget-oriented travel guides.

US Department of State offers up-to-the-moment safety information and required visas and vaccinations (relevant for all Western travelers).

A Google Search for "travel blogs" reveals a wealth of websites. Search for travel blogs within the specific countries that interest you.

A Google Search for "online skype language tutors" reveals many options for one-on-one, inexpensive language coaching. Add your desired language to the search term.

Couchsurfing has 3+ million members worldwide. Stay with local people for free!

WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms) connects you with small farms that will give your room and board in exchange for a few hours manual labor each day.

Help Exchange is like WWOOF for all kinds of basic services. A real gem.

Become a Public Intellectual

There are about a million websites and articles out there that offer advice for starting a blog, podcast, or vlogger (video blogger). Read the book Content Rules or do a Google search to get started in virtually any medium.

Find a professional editor at the Editorial Freelancer's Association or Scribendi.

Teach a Course

To learn about a few different places where you can teach a course either online or in-person, browse the "Community" section of the Uncollege resource list.

Start an Enterprise

NOLO offers great introductory books for small business.

Explore the World of Ideas

TED Talks, of course.


Browse many more resources at the "Knowledge" section of the Uncollege resource list.


Resources from Better Than College: Finding Support

Finding Peer Community

To find a room in an off-campus house (with other college students), browse the "rooms/shared" section of your local Craigslist or Roommates.com. Local campus bulletin boards may also have options.

To find a rental house, browse the "apts/housing" section of your local Craigslist.

The fantastic website Padmapper lists both rentals and shares on a neat Google Map.

To furnish a house with used or inexpensive couches, mattresses, futons, tables, and chairs, search Craigslist and Freecycle, and look for local Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and used furniture discounter stores.

For a basic overview of consensus and other democratic decision-making systems, start here.

Social ways to meet other college-aged students include LivingSocial Adventures (in large metropolitan areas) and Meetup.com.

Finding Mentorship, Advice, and Guidance

Visit the "Network" section of Uncollege resource list.

Finding Structure and Accountability

Read more about accountability partnerships.

Stickk.com, of course.


Resources from Better Than College: Marketing Yourself

Example Portfolios

Do you know of a portfolio that belongs here? Please let us know; we'd like to compile a huge list! Send suggestions to learn@ztcollege.com.

Portfolios of self-directed learners who did not attend (or finish) four-year college:
Tara Dean
Brenna McBroom
Sean Ritchey
Maggie Levin
Jessica Barker
Allen Ellis
Weezie Yancey-Siegel

Portfolios of entrepreneurial college graduates:
Vi Hart
Thomas Thwaites
Blake Boles

Sites for easily designing your own portfolio and/or blog:

Learn the basics of reflective listening.


Recommended Article Archive

(We are no longer updating this list. See our Facebook page for more articles.)

Will Dropouts Save America? (October 22, 2011)

Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here? (August 22, 2011)

Money Lessons for Every High-School Graduate (May 22, 2011)

The University Has No Clothes (May 1, 2011)

45-minute podcast interview with ZTC founder Blake Boles (April 18, 2011)

Buying an education or buying a brand? (April 15, 2011)

Peter Thiel: We're in a Bubble and It's Not the Internet. It's Higher Education. (April 10, 2011)

An Anti-College Backlash? (March 31, 2011)

8 Alternatives to College (January 30, 2011)

Undoing College (December 17, 2010)

12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free (November 15, 2010)

Skip Graduate School, Save $32,000, Do This Instead (September 28, 2010)

Peter Thiel Has New Initiative to Pay Kids to "Stop Out of School" (September 27, 2010)

The Bubble: Higher Education's Precarious Hold on Consumer Confidence (September 13, 2010)

Some Say Bypassing a Higher Education is Smarter Than Paying for a Degree (September 10, 2010)

How TED Connects the Idea-Hungry Elite (Sept 1, 2010)

Seven Reasons Not to Send Your Kids to College (August 6, 2010)

Higher Education is Overrated; Skills Aren't (July 29, 2010)

Higher Education's Bubble is About to Burst (June 6, 2010)

The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education (as seen by a marketer) (April 29, 2010)

Does It Matter What You Learn in College? (January 2nd, 2010)

How Web-Savvy Edupunks Are Transforming American Higher Education (September 1, 2009)

The Great College Hoax (January 14, 2009)

Is College Worth It? (multiple articles, October 2008)

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education (Summer 2008)

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower (June 2008)

Recommended Books

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

ZTC-Related Insight: Intrinsic motivation works.

Great for: Learning why a work environment should give you autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Also for: Learning the difference between "now that" and "if then" rewards.

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

ZTC-Related Insight: Talent is built by deliberate practice, and deliberate practice doesn't require college.

Great for: Figuring out how to build mentoring, coaching, and teaching relationships that give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Also for: Figuring out how to get really good at something.

Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto

ZTC-Related Insight: School & college authorities don't always have your best interests in mind.

Great for: Getting introduced to the inspiration behind ZTC.

Also for: Reading stories of unique and successful individuals who skipped college and/or high school.

Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford

ZTC-Related Insight: Working with your hands, and working for yourself, can be much more satisfying than the paper-pushing "knowledge work" that colleges supposedly prepare you for.

Great for: Gaining philosophical insights into the nature of "work."

Also for: Understanding what jobs will be around in 10 or 20 years.

DIY U by Anya Kamenetz

ZTC-Related Insight: There are a gazillion innovative ways to "do college" today.

Great for: Understanding the history of colleges, student debt, the "college-for-all" idea.

Also for: Learning about neat websites and educational technologies that you've never heard of.

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig

ZTC-Related Insight: Entrepreneurism is the lifeblood of self-directed learning.

Great for: Hearing about Tina's hands-on entrepreneurism challenges to her Stanford students.

Also for: Learning to find the nexus between your passions, skills, and the market.