College may not be such a great idea after all.
The value of a quality four-year college education can not be denied to those who obtain it and use it to their advantage. Clear, focused, purpose-driven study will prepare an individual for a lifetime of endless possibilities, especially if they are fully elaborating themselves using their own natural set of talents and abilities.
Just like owning a home, a four-year college degree has become part of the American dream. A certain line of thinking has become ingrained in our culture—gain entrance to a great university, graduate with a degree, grab a fantastic job and you will be happy and set for the rest of your life.
I think there is an important question to ask here. Is this the final outcome for all who enter the hallowed halls of higher learning? Does this paradigm still work for every student?
Today, unless you want to work in highly technical fields such as physics, mathematics, engineering or medicine, most intentional and highly motivated individuals do not need a college degree. I submit that a large portion of students attending college shouldn’t be there. Here are nine reasons why.
1. You don’t need a college degree to become successful.
Some of the richest men on the planet, many of the hottest entrepreneurs, and hosts of savvy internet business owners have no college degree. By whatever metric you wish to use to gauge success, it is an unexceptional myth that you need a college degree to become successful.
How many college graduates are now back living with their parents either because they can’t find work or are having trouble making ends meet with the job they have? Degrees are no guarantee of success.
2. There is no sacred knowledge anymore.
If you have access to a computer or a data phone you have the world at your fingertips. No longer is knowledge restricted to a privileged few. All information is available all of the time over the internet, most of it free. You do not have to attend a university to obtain it.
Study a subject two hours a day for six months and you will be an expert on that subject. Then, someone will pay you for what you know.
3. Most people obtain jobs in areas outside their chosen field of study.
A survey in 2013 showed only 27% of college graduates have a job related to their major. Only 62% of college graduates had a job requiring a college degree. If 63% don’t need their particular degree for the job they have, tell me again why they needed the degree in the first place?
4. College degrees have become too expensive.
Students are graduating from college with a mortgage and no house, something otherwise known as a student loan. How good is a degree which can take you 15, 20, 25 or even 30 years to pay for it after graduating?
The better question is: how good is the university which conferred it? Where is the ROI these days?
5. Students are entering college with no clear understanding of what they wish to do or be when they graduate.
This gets back to the statistics in #3 above. How does this make sense? They are supposed to figure it out along the way? It seems to me that poor planning is being subsidized here.
Either entrants are choosing the wrong major or they are opting for useless majors because they are easy choices to make if you don’t know what to do. Bottom line, if a student does not know precisely why they are going to college, they shouldn’t go until they know because <b>they aren’t ready</b>.
6. You risk becoming an academic snob.
Subtly or overtly, college graduates look askance at non-graduates, unless of course they make more money than they do. The non-graduate is seen as somehow inferior in terms of their education.
Let’s see, you go to college where someone stands at the front of the room reciting information which is already known. You receive the information, retain it, and recite it back to them in the form of a test or an exam. Then, you get a certificate (diploma) saying you did so while going into debt for the privilege. Exactly how does this make one superior?
7. No one other than your potential employer will ever ask for your academic credentials. Ever.
Well, unless it’s an academic snob. They love to tell people where they went to school. Especially if it was an ivy league school. Few others will ever ask if you graduated, from where and with what degree, and no one will ask to see the old sheepskin. No one else cares.
The hiring landscape is changing. Google has moved away from considering degrees, GPA’s, and brand name schools when searching for talent. Others will follow. The new economy doesn’t require you have a college degree. Parts of the old economy which desperately need to be revitalized, the trades, don’t require them either.
8. Many universities have become intolerant of diverse viewpoints.
Many professors now seem hell bent on presenting one-sided arguments or single-minded positions. We now have “safe zones” on university campuses where certain viewpoints or words can’t be uttered. Speaking on various unpopular or non-politically correct topics, speakers are being shouted down by students intolerant of opposing viewpoints.
Gone are the days of free and open debates, civilly arguing on the merits and strengths of one’s position. Should you willingly pay for your child to go to one of these bastions, not of higher learning but, of idea intolerance?
9. Some college degrees are nearly worthless compared to other fields of study.
The worst college degrees to obtain in 2015 were Fashion Design, Liberal Arts, Fine Arts, Theater Arts, Microelectronic Engineering, Criminal Justice, Communications, Psychology, Sociology, Hospitality and Tourism. Do you think the universities conferring these degrees are advising their students to avoid them? No way, not if you have the tuition to pay.
For these reasons and more, a college degree for everyone is an idea which has outlived its usefulness, if ever it was useful in the first place.
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