You bring up some good points about quantifying CFAR’s relative impact, which I would like to see them address in the near-future, especially given their connection to EA.
It sounds like your own CFAR experience wasn’t exactly helpful in the way you expected it to be. Could you talk a little more about that? I’d be interested in hearing how your actual results stacked up with your expectations.
Lastly, as just a little note, university here in the US is more expensive than Canada, in case you were wondering.
A year at a public university for an in-state student is about $9,000, while a year at a private institution averages about $32,000.
(It is around $3,000 for 1 year at a 2-year college, but I’m not sure that’s what you had in mind when you talked about universities. The courses offered at the 2-year college tend to have less of the high-level courses in the fields you mentioned above, like CS, econ, and moral philosophy)
Link here (http://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/student-finance/how-much-does-it-cost-study-us)
Yeah, I went to CFAR for unconventional reasons and with unconventional expectations. E.g., I went for personal reasons without an expectation it would make my altruism itself more effective. I think CFAR is worth it for a lot of people, and I respect people’s preferences enough that if:
they’re not into EA
they wouldn’t have donated the money anyway
they’re a working college graduate
A CFAR workshop is probably worth it and more valuable than the next closest thing, like a professional development workshop or something. I mean, nobody is saying people should spend $4k on a CFAR workshop instead of rent, food, and bills, but if they’re in the position where their savings and lifestyle needs are covered, and they’re shopping around to spend on, a CFAR workshop is a decent bet. However, I think EAs in particular demand a higher bar to make the case for CFAR workshops, and why EAs in particular should go, and I think we as CFAR alumni should rise to that challenge. I’m part of both the CFAR alumni community and EA, and the overlap between the two isn’t 100%, so I respect the boundaries and norms of both, and switch which hat I’m wearing depending on the context.
I think the CFAR staff themselves have done a better job of making the case to attend their workshop than any written review by a CFAR workshop alumnus/alumna. However, a more rigorous review from someone not working for them is what the more skeptical/risk-averse aspects of the EA community demands before more of them attend CFAR workshops themselves. The above comment was a note to myself as much as it was to anyone else, in that I might very well be the person best suited to writing that review, if nobody else does it. There are actual several members of the EA community I think would benefit from a CFAR workshop, and would find what they learn and the skills they gain worth the expense, but I don’t think as many will go until their is a more rigorous evaluation.
Also, I’m aware university is more expensive in the US, and varies wildly. I was generalizing from my own experience as a Canadian because that’s what I know, and because it seems just as valid to use a non-US example as a US example, because there are roughly as many EAs outside of the US as there are in the US, and because the university systems of countries like Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and Britain are likely more like that in Canada than that of the U.S. This is relevant as CFAR has held workshops in Europe and Australia in the past, and I anticipate they’d do so again if they knew there was sufficient demand for it.
Awesome, thanks for taking the time to give more background on your thinking process!
It was helpful to see your overall thoughts on ways CFAR can make a case for EA’s to attend, given their understanding of measuring impact.