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If you've been thinking about attending a college or university, consider the type of classroom activity offered and what that will mean to you in your learning. Classes that focus on individual learning are great, but the best way to learn is to interact as much as possible with other students. By working in groups, you get the benefit of the student teaching experience. Everybody has something important to bring to the table, and we can all learn from each other.
Top culinary schools don't get that designation by allowing their students to stagnate behind cooking books. They get the students out on the street where they can meet restaurant owners, pastry chefs, sommeliers, etc. Once a student becomes an apprentice chef, the learning goes that much deeper because now the student is getting some real-world experience.
Some learning takes place in the classroom, but top culinary schools understand that so much more learning can take place outside of the classroom. Hands on practical work is what it takes to become a top chef. Mentoring from the best of the best and having access to culinary diversity is where true learning comes from.
If this is the kind of learning style that interests you, don't overlook New York City as a place to get your culinary education.