The value of a college degree

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ryhoyarbie, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    Let's take out the bad economy for the moment and pretend it's not happening.

    What's the importance of a college degree in your opinion, aside from getting a job in a high end demand area like the medical profession or in the engineering profession?

    Yes there are jobs that require a college degree like being a teacher, a lawyer, social worker, an accountant, etc. But what's the importance if you get one but don't use it and end up getting jobs that require a high school diploma paying about 10 or 11 dollars an hour? Would it be your fault for not trying to get a better job?

    I myself, when I graduated in May of 2005 with a bachelor's degree in history, have been doing jobs that only pay 9 or 10 dollars an hour. The economy wasn't a mess in 2005 or in 2006 either. The jobs I've been doing haven't allowed me to use my degree. Even the last job I had before I decided to substitute had another guy who was just hired making more money than me and he was only 20 with a high school diploma, and I had been at that place for a year, had more working experience in that job and other jobs, and had a bachelor's degree.

    Perhaps I should have learned a trade instead............

    So aside from obtaining more knowledge or knowing how to study better or write papers better, what's you opinion of a college education if it doesn't help in the long run?
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I think it depends on WHAT you get your degree in. If you get your degree in a field that is growing (no matter what the economy is doing), then of course you'll be using for more than wall decoration. If you get a degree in a field like history, there is just so much you can do with that degree and it limits the opportunities you have.
     
  4. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    The intrinsic value of my degree makes it priceless. Even if I was pumping gas, I would value what I learned in and out of the classroom during my college experience.
     
  5. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    My degree is priceless as well. I grew so much as a person throughout my college education. It was a marvelous awakening.
    Philosophy, sociology, psychology, religion, anthropology, history, geography, art history, mathematics, biology, chemistry, English, etc...are you kidding? Absolutely priceless!
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Overall, a college degree is indeed invaluable & of course can never be taken away from us. It not only teaches us book knowledge, but helps us w/ life in general in the aspects of discipline w/i ourselves as well as emotionally, socially, & psychologically.

    However, people really have to choose the right field to get into or else, they may never get the opportunity to use that degree to the fullest extent. One has to know what's in high demand & not only that, but in high demand in their area of residence.

    I love to learn new things & I love school & if I won the lottery, I'd get into anthropology, but ordinarily would I ever get a job in my area w/ that? No way. There aren't really any museums or other facilities out here that would really cater to that degree. Maybe if I moved to LA (as in Los Angeles).
     
  7. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    In my next life, I want to be a cultural anthropologist! Sigh...
     
  8. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    I think it really depends on what you want to do. I have a real pet peave with the whole, you have to go to college to make money thing. Especially with the type of students in my district. I work in a really low income, high minority district and it bothers me that college is pushed so much. I would much rather see college AND trade schools pushed equally. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a certificate rather than a college degree. My dad doesn't have a college degree and he makes more than twice as a much as me and I have a masters! College is not for everyone and not always necessary.

    In fact, my husband dropped out of college and is going to school to become a chef (he loves it). We were laughing saying that he will probably end up making more than me with his certificates than I will with my masters.

    So it really depends on what you want. I also think people should take a bit more time before deciding on a major in college. Every single person I know except for one have all changed their major at least once while in college. And one person even double majored and is not using either one of her degrees. She went back and became a yoga teacher.
     
  9. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    The cost of education is outrageous these days, and it is easy to question the value of a college liberal arts education if you don't intend to pursue a graduate degree. The type of debt kids accumulate today is truly shocking, and guidance counselors and advisers need to caution kids of the potential consequences of amassing in excess of 100K of debt from college loans. The combination of predatory lending practices and lack of awareness really saddens and pisses me off.
    :mad:

    So why bother?

    With a vocational job, you have a fast track to a specialized trade that can potentially get you a good paying job. If you have no interest or ability to attend college, this is a good option. The downside of a vocational education in the place of a college degree is the lack of flexibility in the long term. If you're a tradesman for a few decades, your options are more limited if you need or want to change careers later in life. Today, a number of older workers are really in a bind when their factories close, their industries dry up, and their vocations become obsolete. Vocational work can be lucrative, stable and rewarding, but they are not flexible in the long-run.

    The real value of a college liberal arts degree is the flexibility and options it offers. To make this flexibility work for you, however, you really need to be very proactive. Many career changers possess college degrees or advanced degrees and are able to leverage their education plus their work experience to make changes later in life. Changing a career or getting work as an older person isn't easy, but the odds are better, in the long-run, when you have a college degree.

    If you're interested in further reading, a great well-regarded guide for jobseeking in the private sector is this wonderful book by Richard Bolles:

    http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Yo...=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248929553&sr=1-6
     
  10. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    My BA is in history. It, in my opinion, is priceless. I value the trades greatly. A lot of my students will go on to trades. If one persues a BA or BS and is doing it for OJT purposes, he or she is making a huge error. I guess we sort of got that in teaching....,kinda...student teaching....you know...but, I am a more well rounded person after the fact, than I was going in...I can market those general skills to a wide variety of areas. This is why those people are more marketable in the long run....I had a history prof. say..."I thought you went to college to be a better person." As far as that history degree goes, I can certainly organize vast amounts of information...something I learned from having to deal with it....learned how to cipher through the bull if you will and know what was relavant. I am more aware of the world around me...its origins and the cultures within it that have shaped who and what we as a people have become. As a result, I respect and appreciate other cultures and traditions a lot more than what I did as a high schooler....If you want to use that history degree more directly...like work in a museum and historical society, you need graduate work. There was a book I got from my college's career placement office, what to do with that history degree.....they also had english and others.....it was an interesting read.....Look at those general skills and apply them to other areas.....
     
  11. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Agreed.
     
  12. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    Coming from getting low paying jobs after college, I question the value of that piece of paper. It cost my dad 40,000 dollars for 3 years of me going to school, and he barely was able to afford it. I don't know how someone can say their college degree is priceless if they are working at a gas station for 8 dollars an hour or flipping burgers at some place after they've tried getting better paying jobs. The money that was spent on that college degree could have been used for something else, if they still can't get a good paying job after x amount of years. But that is just my opinion on the matter.
     
  13. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Knowledge is power.
     
  14. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    I have over 65,000 in student loans, and I would not give back an ounce of my education to alleviate my debt!

    How can we as educators question the value of education?

    How far have you reached to find a job? Mesa, Colorado....Mississippi Delta...these places have teaching jobs.

    As I said above, knowledge is power. It is your job to find a way to use that power.
     
  15. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    I myself am returning to College in a few weeks to attend an adult degree program at a local private college. I chose Psychology because I plan to lateral entry as an EC Teacher and this is a relevant degree in my state. I can also use this degree in many other “human services” fields such as social work, police, correctional facilities, etc… The associate’s degree that I have in Business is basically useless except for the fact that I will enter college as a junior. My tuition is awful (3,400.00) per full time semester but it’s (2) 8 week sessions with only 2 classes every 8 weeks. This is a locally prestigious private college and they roll out the red carpet for their adult students. College is imperative in today’s world.
     
  16. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Wow - I would LOVE, LOVE to be paying only $3,400 per semester. I pay about $5000 for a public university for my daughter.

    Good Luck with your program
     
  17. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    WOW INteacher! This is an adult program with some perks too i.e. parking, free sporting events, and a YMCA membership. I guess I shouldn’t complain. The on campus kids pay a great deal more because of housing and all.
     
  18. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    OHHH that $5000 is only tution :( add on a whole lot more to cover dorm and those mysterious fees that show up every billing quarter.
     
  19. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    INteacher- That’s terrible….I guess I do need to stop crying. Lol. My niece lives in upstate NY very near Syracuse University ( I’m talking a mile) and she is actually planning to pay out of state tuition here NC because it is actually cheaper?? State schools are suppose to be less expensive, so I thought.
     
  20. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Yo...=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248929553&sr=1-6

    Get this book, read it and apply the wisdom in it. A degree isn't a free pass to getting a job in the private sector. You need to hustle and earn it. For teaching jobs, the experts on the board will have plenty of great advice.

    :D
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I wasn't trying to offend with using history degrees as an example. I would love to get a degree in some kind of history. Dh is currently in school for a history degree. And I agree that my degrees are priceless. I learned and continue to learn tons of stuff from the classes I take.
     
  22. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    :thumb: I agree...someone mentioned that a college degree is not a free pass for jobs in the private sector...I also agree with that! My father worked as a manager of a Burger King franchise for two years after he received his business degree, meanwhile, he worked hard and actively looked for other opportunities that met his own career goals. That opportunity came up. A degree is not OJT or a free pass.
     
  23. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Unfortunately, in this area there is a big push for high education, but no real jobs that require higher education, and certainly not enough of them. Many people find out that after getting one degree, they either need a degree in something else, or end up working jobs that do not require a degree. Many of my friends have gone back to a trade school to learn repair skills after getting a Master's degree in something like English, biology, or even business! And the old, "Well, if I can't find a job in corporate America, I'll just teach" attitude isn't working in most parts of the country right now.
     
  24. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    ryhoyarbie, it stinks having a degree and not being able to use it. I'm afraid there are a lot of people flipping hamburgers with a college degree.

    My son-in-law recently finished his masters in hospital administration, and he has another masters in physical therapy. He works as a admin and therapist at a small clinic. When he went back for the second degree he'd hoped to land a job or a fellowship at a large hospital. Well, they doing any fellowships right now due to the economy and heaven knows whats going to happen with the health care issues going on now. The clinic he manages now will be closed in the next year or two because the main hospital is shutting down some doctor's clinics which are his feeder clinics. So, he's looking for another job... not much out there at all.

    Times are tough and may get tougher. Substituting is a smart thing to do, get your foot in the door in a district, prove yourself worthy, and maybe you can get hired when there's some type of opening. You'll probably have to pick up some more hours along the way.
     
  25. Señora Lorenzo

    Señora Lorenzo Rookie

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    I wouldn't trade my degrees in for anything. I tell my students all the time that my education and my degrees can never be taken from me. I take a lot of pride in what I accomplished coming from a teenage, single parent living in the projects on welfare. I don't care how much debt I am in or if I am working in my field, I achieved something that will always belong to me no matter what! I am not doing what I wanted to do after college but I am using my degree (I have a BA in Spanish and a BA in Psychology...working on my MS in Education). I encourage my students to go to college or at least take a class or 2 after high school...just to better themselves.
     
  26. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I can only imagine how rigorous his educational career was! I'm working towards my 2nd Masters, which I still need to be accepted & then it's a 3-yr program. It's an excellent, high demanding field to get into despite the state our country's in, but I just hope that by that time I'm finally finished that there's just as much a promise of having a great career as it's been originally said. :unsure:
     

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