Colleges can be cheap in the sense that they often take shortcuts so that the administration can waste funding on self-aggrandizing schemes nobody else knows or cares about. One of the ways they cut corners is to put graduate students into the same classes as undergrads but make the former write more papers, which typically means reading more outside material on the same basic stuff covered in lectures and class discussions. Typically these grad students then make some kind of presentation to the rest of the class.
My college education record is far from typical, but I never tried to get above the baccalaureate level. Instead, I pursued my own outside readings of things never assigned for course work or tests. Even for research papers I felt driven to read well outside the range of what was required. Something I might find in a footnote turned into reading an entire fat tome or two that simply held my interest, never mind whether it helped me make any grades. Whether or not that made me any sharper or wiser is for others to assess, but I read way more than most of my peers in college both times that I attended formally. More than once an educated person assumed I had a master’s degree, at least.
Click this link and read the rest at Kiln of the Soul.