College

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ryhoyarbie, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    Apr 15, 2009

    I'm always surprised by the number of parents/teachers who push students in going to college. The school district I sub for had a college week a month ago where teachers wore shirts and jerseys from the school they went to.

    The teachers in the classrooms or right outside the classrooms has their degree. The teachers will also have inside their classroom little signs like "college is your future", etc.

    However, as someone who has had a bunch of low paying jobs after college, do these teachers and principals not get the idea that you can have a 40,000+ piece of paper and be waiting tables, or working at some god forsaken retail store like Walmart making 9 dollars an hour?

    Why do teachers and parents push kids to go to college? I think teachers/parents/counselors need to educate kids better about college and how sometimes it doesn't work out for people who graduate.

    Take a look at the problems we're having right now. You can have a bachelors, masters, or a phd and not have a job, or take on a job at Starbucks or being a janitor.
     
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  3. nattles19

    nattles19 Comrade

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    I remember when I was student teaching and about to graduate, I wanted to do a little lesson with the kids on how important education is. My mentor teacher told to be sure and teach the kids that there are jobs they can get without a college degree, because she realized that college wasn't necessarily something all kids can afford or wish to do.

    I did a research project in college along these lines. It said that some kids may actually be better off not going to college. These are the kids who start working someplace when they're 16 and work their way up to management at a relatively young age. In the long run, they make just as much money as they possibly could have with a college degree, they just took a different route.

    Depending on what job you want, a degree may be a necessity. I think that's what parents and teachers want kids to know. But there are much less expensive ways to do it. I took my basic classes at a community college and I think I got a much more quality education than sitting in a classroom with 300 other students.
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    While what you say is true, if you don't have a college degree or some kind of advanced training, your only options will be those low-paying jobs.

    There's more to college than just learning a skill, of course. It's a place where teenagers become young adults and (we hope) learn how to become responsible individuals.

    I do agree that traditional college is not the only route, and that we should give more attention to other types of post-secondary education. A couple of my former students are training at UTI as auto mechanics and will be out-earning me shortly!
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    :agreed:
     
  6. indigo-angel

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    I think it is important that educators encourage their students to think about and plan for college, however, I think we do it backwards. The focus is always on getting into college and college access, when it should be on career preperation. Once students have planned for their careers, then they will know where and how to go to college. Also, a lot of college students underestimate the job market; they think that just having a degree will make them stand out. The degree itself doesn't really mean as much as we think it does, a lot of the time it's just a foot in the door. If more college students realized this, they would be able to better plan how they will use their degree.
     
  7. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Two sides to this coin for sure. My brothers did not graduate from college and always made more than I. My dad worked for GE and did what engineers did but made much less.
    If he had the piece of paper he would have done MUCH better.
    I see lots of people in college because someone says they should be there. I see smart kids that never go. It ALL DEPENDS on what you want to do or be in life.
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    With that college degree there are a lot of doors that may open if you choose to knock.

    Without it, they're locked shut.
     
  10. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Funny. My experience was exactly the opposite. My school counselor pushed military service or trade school. I chose art school and later, Delta State University, MS. Now, I'm an art teacher. I feel I made a good choice.

    I agree that higher education isn't for everyone. I've even read articles that express opinions about the trade off of getting loans to pay for University versus entering the job market straight from High School. Is 10 to 15 years of perpetual debt worth the possible increase in income over not having a large, non-credit building, debt and working yourself from entry level to journeyman pay or middle management? It seems a gamble for a majority of those that try to go to college.

    However, it's like going to Hollywood. Not everyone that goes will be a star. Not everyone that goes tries to be a star. Not everyone who is a star intended to be a star.

    1% of 1% of those that dream of and try for a professional sports career make it. Still, some people dream and try.

    I guess, the hope is that those funneled into higher education will increase their chances of being successful despite the cost/debt ratio.
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We spent some time with the grade 8 class this year looking at statistics relating income with level of education. The numbers for those with only a high school degree were, in fact, quite eye-opening for some--those for less than a high school degree were terrifying!

    My own children know that post-secondary education of some type is an expectation. I don't care if it's university, college or something else. They will need the variety of skills that post-secondary education will provide them with in order to do what they want with their lives; further education will provide them with options.

    That said, post-secondary isn't for everyone but, I feel that we are doing our students a disservice if we don't leave that door open for them.
     
  12. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I agree with you. However some type of post-secondary education is necessary, even if it is in the trades, and honestly, that's what we need in Saskatchewan right now. I have a friend who is an apprentice plumber and he makes more money then I do, between his regular job and jobs he does on the side for friends and family.

    Skilled labourers are in HUGE demand now, and so whatever post-secondary education kids get, whether its trade school or University, its become necessary.
     
  13. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Do you really think that a high school student is going to KNOW what their career will be for the rest of their lives????


    How many serious college students change majors before getting a degree? The VAST majority of college students don't graduate in the degree field which they started in.


    I think we push them way too hard to choose a path insanely early. I encourage my students to leave the doors open. Even if they don't plan to go to college, get the high school credits to get into college so you can easily change your mind if you want to. (It's much easier to keep doors open than to open them once they have been closed.)
     
  14. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    :agreed:

    I know many people who didn't go to school after hs that completely regret it. My df enrolled in a program 14 years after hs and he is now so glad he did.
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    My praxis writing topic was on whether I thought it was beneficial for students to have some life experience before going to college.

    I didn't say everyone should, but it did help me decide what to do with my life. I didn't use my first degree.

    I didn't say I disagreed with the way it is set up now. I'm just saying there is some benefit to life experience.
     
  16. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Apr 16, 2009

    For my own personal kids, I expect them to go to college, no exceptions. For the kids I teach, my hope is that they will pursue a career - not just a job, but a career - that they love, and will enroll in whatever sort of training enables them to have that career to the highest extent of success in it. That could be trade school, college, nursing school, military training, whatever.

    I think too much emphasis is placed on college for all. Not everyone is cut out for college - or has the financial means to attend college. And some people have passions (like firefighting, or auto mechanics) where college won't help you acheive your goal.

    Kim
     
  17. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

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    I KNOW that they do not know what they're going to be doing for the rest of their lives, that is why I think that they should begin planning. I do not think high school is too young for that; I think we don't give our youth enough credit. Also, choosing a path does not mean that they will continue in a field for the rest of their life, but it is best that they start thinking of what opportunities are availible for them while they are in high school. That is precisely why I feel that our students should be more educated on postsecondary education.
     
  18. TampaTeacher2Be

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    The problem with leaving all of the doors open is that if you leave them all open for too long (i.e. go to college and become a liberal arts major) you lack the skills to walk through any door. Then, you end up in the situation that a lot of us who are career changers to teaching - the only jobs we qualify for are minimum wage type positions - hence the reason why we have to go back to teaching.

    I'm not knocking the typical "college experience" I think that it is valuable for young adults to have that - living independently, being part of a learning community, having a chance to learn about a wide range of subjects. However, I think if I could do it all over again, I would have spent a year in Trade School (most likely to become an LPN) before I went to college - even if I changed my mind and never spent a day in my life as a nurse after I finished tradeschool, I think I would feel more comfortable now knowing that I had a marketable skillset I could fall back on in economic times like these...
     
  19. TampaTeacher2Be

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    I take an opposite approach - I do not want my children to go the traditional route and "go away" to college right after High School.

    I remember clearly what my first two years of college were like, and they were light on the studying and attending class, and heavy on the drinking, partying, and wasting my parent's money.

    When my kids graduate from high school, they will be working and/or attending tradeschool or community college for at least a year. Since they will be 18, I would like them to have an appt. (with roomates) so they can get at least a year of experience in independent living under their belts - paying rent, car payments, medical insurance, having a budget, meal planning, etc.

    If, after a year of working/attending tradeschool/community college, they are interested in persuing a career that requires a 4 year degree, I am happy to financially support them to acheive that goal. But I am not going to finance my kids's year-long party-fest that is freshman year at the vast majority of college campuses across the country.
     
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My son will be home from his first year at university on Monday. His average is higher than it was in his last year of high school; he has sought out and been hired for 2 jobs during this last semester (one for the summer and one for the fall); he has over $1000. left on the meal plan we purchased. I'm sure there has been some partying going on, but he has gained more responsibility and independence than I could have imagined.
     
  21. SSA

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    I know a lot of college educated people who are only slightly more responsible than they were in HS. College may make you are more well rounded individual and open the doors to a lot of different new career options, BUT college doesn't generally teach responsibility. Undergrad education can make you a more educated person, but it doesn't always improve other characteristics of a person. I remember applying for college in HS one college said we give you a great education, what you do with it is up to you. While most colleges go out of their way to help their students find their first job that pretty well represents the philosophy of most colleges.

    When I talk to folks in high school I tend to avoid saying that one needs to go to college, but rather say that one needs to get additional training. It may be academic and it may be vocational, but most of the people that live a middle class lifestyle that don't get an academic degree tend to learn some type of marketable skill.
     
  22. SSA

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    One doesn't have to graduate from college with loads of debt. You can get your first two years completed at a community college for very little. Furthermore, it is still worth noting that while a college degree doesn't guarantee you wealth the gap in unemployment between those with a college education and those without is growing. I saw a chart with a breakdown of unemployment rates from the Department of Labor recently in the news that showed that those without a college degree have nearly twice the unemployment as college graduates. In this economy that seems a rather sobering statistic.
     
  23. TampaTeacher2Be

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    I wholehartedly agree with you on community college - I wish more students woudl consider that route, because it is a very cost effective option. And

    As far as the unemployment statistics for those with a high school diploma vs. those with a college degree, you are correct that individuals with only a high school diploma are unemployed at a higher rate - However as you can see from the data that gap is closing very quickly.

    Also, I am always dubious of these types of surveys - how is one definining unemployment? I would consider a college educated person who is working at McDonald's making $7 an hour because he got laid off from his corporate job to be unemployed, but according to this survey, he is not. And, in some cases, though he is working, he may be making less per month than an unemployed high school graduate who is drawing unemployment benefits.
     
  24. SSA

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    A lot of people with college degrees at least based upon what I have heard and read are more reluctant to take the first job that they can find than they were in past generations. I was listening to NPR interviewing various people who have lost their jobs in the last year and a lot of the white collar employees (ie. people who typically have college degrees) tend to spend 6-9 months looking for another job in their field before they take a job that they are overqualified just to pay the bills. One woman that they were interviewing that lived in NYC hadn't given up hope finding something in her field even though she had virtually exhausted her savings.

    Especially since in some parts of the country with high unemployment one can get 59 weeks of unemployment benefits there isn't as much immediacy to take a job. Being unemployed is demoralizing, but working a job that feels beneath can feel even worse to some people.

    You do have a good point though about rising unemployment amongst the college educated. I know the NY Times did a story investigating Harvard graduates several years ago back when times were better and found that even an Ivy League degree in a better economy wasn't a guarantee. They found a few Harvard grads who were on welfare! Unemployment amongst the college educated is amongst the highest it has ever been. Provided you don't go deep into debt, I still think a college degree still has a positive ROI despite a the benefits not being what they once were.
     
  25. Arky

    Arky Comrade

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    I expected all four of my own children to get a degree. I knew it would not hurt them to have it and it just might help get a better job.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    No college degree has EVER come with a guarantee of full and well-paid employment, not ever. Insisting that it does or that it should is a cherished belief, to be sure, but it's dead wrong.

    The point of a college education is to refine (where possible) or acquire (where necessary) thinking skills - the ability to reason and to read and write for understanding, set against a backdrop of awareness of the the world has come to be as it is (in a wide range of the ways in which "what the world has come to be" can be defined).

    I refuse to hold the college-educated McDonald's worker in derision. It is an honest job... and who knows what wonders that worker might be producing in her off hours?
     
  27. TampaTeacher2Be

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    I think you misunderstood my point.

    In this economy, I am sure there are many, many college graduates who have lost their jobs and have taken jobs at McDonald's or similar types of employment, because they would rather do something than collect unemployment. I don't discount those people - rather I applaud them for taking the initiative to go out and get a job like that, rather than continue to be a burden on the system by collecting unemployment.


    However, I do believe that this is phenomenon is skewing the statistics of college-eduated people who qualify as truly "unemployed" on the survey I noted above. I think if you looked at the numbers of college-educated people who are either unemployed and/or drastically underemployed, the numbers would be staggering.

    It makes me question why college is still being touted at high schools across the country as a "golden ticket" to the good life.
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

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    Well, the kernel of truth inside the hype is that a college graduate - especially one who really did get the education, and not just the paper - has options that most high school graduates don't.
     
  29. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    You see, this is what teachers and parents need to say to students. They don't need to put in kid's heads that if you don't go to college, you won't become something. They need to be honest and say things like "even if you graduate college, you might not ever get a high paying job", or "a college education does not guarantee a job, but it does help you to know what you're studying better".

    Been there lots of times. I graduated college in 2005. My first job after college was a temporary cashier at Best Buy for the holidays making 7.50 an hour, working with high school kids and some who were about 20 years with only a high school diploma. I hated it.

    Worked at a appraisal center making 8 dollars an hour. The job wasn't that bad but no way did I want to work for 8 bucks an hour. But I did learn somethings about housing payments and whatnot.

    From July 2007 until July 2008, I worked at Lowes, the retail home improvement place. They started me at as a cashier making 9.11 an hour. 4 months later, they increased my wage to 9.45. I then moved to a few departents until the managers moved me in paint (the managers always moved people around). Working in retail, the hours changed. A few days I might work 5 am until 2 pm, another day I might come in 12 to 9, etc. I also might go 9 or 10 days without a day off too. I came in on time, did my job, managers said I was a good worker. However, during the summer of 2008, a new person transfered to the department I was working in, a 19 year old only there for a summer job before he went back to college for the fall. They started his pay rate higher than mine, and I had a college degree and 1 year of experience of being there, where as this person was 19 with only a high school diploma and only there for a few months. I put in my 2 weeks notice after that. The managers at that place could have cared less about me either way. It was a dead end job and I hated it.

    I've been at these dead end jobs before. They're not honest work. Sometimes I worked so hard that I started to sweat really bad or I was on my hands and knees cleaning things off the floor. The fact that someone with a high school diploma got paid more than me made me really depressed.

    College really can be a waste to some people that get a degree and find themselves in the same kind of minimum wage jobs they could have got with out the college degree. I have a bachelor's in history, but a business doesn't want to work with someone with a liberal arts degree. So you're left with having a college degree and no skills.
     
  30. TeacherGroupie

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    It's quite true: a history degree as such will open no doors. Neither will an English degree as such (that happens to be my undergrad degree) - unless it's grounded in rigorous liberal-arts habits of thought. And that is precisely my point. What opens doors is showing a prospective employer that one possesses mental tools that are valuable to the employer: the ability to communicate well and the ability to learn and to make connections.
     
  31. BioTeal

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    It's more that not having a college degree guarantees a student won't be considered for many non-menial jobs than having a degree guarantees them a non-menial job.

    Employers might not even need skills developed by a liberal education, but completing college is some assurance of a minimum level of intelligence as well as an ability to persevere at a task. Sure they can find intelligence and perseverance among candidates who have not completed college (I've worked alongside many such people), but many hiring coordinators don't consider that sort of search worth the effort. Especially in the current climate of ~600+ applications per entry-level position.

    It is a shame, because there are plenty of rewarding career tracks that really don't rely on any of the skills or knowledge students typically get from doing the work to earn a BA. A reliable alternate assurance of minimal capability, and a widespread corporate willingness to trust that assurance, can theoretically save a lot of kids from 4+ years of an experience they don't really want or enjoy.

    I think in general students should try to pursue something they sincerely believe can become really good at (assuming the hard work required), because being among the best at a vocation has its own non-monetary rewards. Knowingly going on a track to be a bottom 20th percentile MBA graduate, who finds business boring but thinks that's what they "should" do, and likely ending up with boring paper pushing jobs makes no sense to me. Especially if that MBA scenario is compared to a chance at being exceptional at a trade skill (eg. a good plumber can easily out-earn a low-level paper-pusher).
     
  32. INteacher

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    With my high school students I stress "keeping your options open" and "covering all the bases" with college, trade school, etc. . . The best place to be as a graduating senior is the ability to make choices about the next part of your life- not to have the choice made for you because you did poorly, didn't take the right classes, etc . . . So, I stress and encourage that working towards a 4 year university covers "all the bases" in that a student then has the option/choice at graduation of the 4 year college path, community college, trade school, military or the job market.
     
  33. indigo-angel

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    Apr 20, 2009

    Very good point. A poster said earlier that leaving all doors open can sometimes hurt, i.e. not choosing a specialization. That's why I believe that career planning is better than college planning. That way, students know how they will use their degrees, instead of just getting a degree then hoping some "good job" will follow. For example, a friend of mine has degrees in Political Science and International Business, but has planned on working in the non-profit sector. In school, he worked several low paying jobs with different non-profit organizations. Now that he has his degrees, he is an Executive over a non-profit organization. The work expereince he acquired over the years, coupled with his degrees made him an ideal candidate. I know someone else with an English degree working in hotel management, but before she got the job she's doing now, she worked as a concierge, hostess, and receptionist at different hotels and restaurants while still in college. In a lot of cases, work expereince counts as much as a degree.
     

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