My New College Alumni survey:
Doing well relative to the class curve was no longer the evaluation criterion. Now, I had to contend with the idea that I am always competing with myself.
So I failed. But I got back up, and continued learning.
I got chewed out by another student at NC for asking uninformed questions about computers. The criticism definitely had merit, and I took it to heart. Why should I take someone's precious time when those intellectual burdens can be borne simply by reading documentation?
Unfortunately, I believed that I would need a graduate degree in economics or foreign languages to make any money in my post-NC life, and I didn't want to immediately go back to school.
Luckily, one of my classmates earned $10k working during the summer of '95 as a programmer. I resolved to take nothing but computer science classes in the spring and then after graduation, to work as a then-in-demand programmer.
At other schools, I would have run into prerequisite hurdles, as I had not taken any computer science classes previously. But at NC, I was able take classes in Perl and Java, and create tutorials for Smalltalk, Linux System Administration, and TCL/TK.
After graduating, I returned to my home state of Vermont, and immediately found a job as a entry-level Perl programmer and Linux system administrator.
If you are considering other schools, I recommend comparing the academic strictures of other schools with the range of options available to you at New College. I believe you will find that other schools claim academic openness while silently stifling such notions in their departments and classrooms.