In theory, "don't be a fool, stay in school" is great advice. In practice, however, as college costs continue to skyrocket, the prospect of jumping into America's pool of more than a trillion dollars in student loan debt may cause even the most curious of students to hesitate. Fortunately, there are more free or inexpensive educational resources than there have been at any time in human history – and they can take you further than you might imagine.
Autodidacticism, or autodidactism, is education without the guidance of masters (such as teachers and professors) or institutions (such as schools). An autodidact may have some formal education, but his or her main field of study is sometimes completely self-taught. And they're more than just hobbyists: some autodidacts have been responsible for major inventions and contributions throughout history.