Features

College Degree No Longer A Meal Ticket

Tatyanna Freeman

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Photo Courtesy of LearnProgram Academy 

 

In previous years parents and other adults would encourage adolescents to attend public college or universities. Commonly they say “Go to college,  it will all be worth it.”

Now, people may ask if college was honestly worth their while? The cost of college tuition is constantly increasing, student loan debt is constantly knocking at your door, job security is not guaranteed; also, dreams and aspirations are becoming a  more attainable goal without a college degree. Is achieving a degree such a great milestone in life now?

There are benefits and ill effects of attending a public college or university. Some benefits include the experience and intellectual advancement that public colleges or universities provide. On the other hand, a few ill effects of attending is a sea of debt, and the uncertainty of having a secured job post graduating. All the while that  attaining a public college or university degree has become a social norm, the requirements are rising daily. Some jobs are not only requiring bachelor’s degrees, but they are also inquiring about master degrees.

Some with postgraduate degrees who enter the workforce, do so without the required skills to excel in their jobs. As such, employers are beginning to degrade the value of  that  degree as well. For an employer such as Google, its main focus is not if potential hires have a college degree. Such employers tend to look past academic credentials, but for other characteristics that better predict job performance.

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Photo Courtesy of Carlin Spring Elementary School

Globalization’s Impact on Jobs

I recently wrote a paper on my potential global plan of action. In the paper I was asked to discuss and explain the ways globalization has impacted my field of study, public relations. In my response I gave the example of a prior class discussion my professor, peers, and I had, making my expected time frame I set for myself to go to graduate school change. “Would you suggest someone to go to graduate school or do you feel like it is worth it?” was the question a peer asked the professor. We did get into a very detailed discussion, where he thoroughly explained his point of view, but to summarize his response, he said:“go to graduate school when you feel you are ready, alert, and financially able.”

Globalization has not only provided jobs for many, but also taken away jobs. Globalization has provided a wide variety of target markets to be catered to. Now there is  a wider audience that needs to be catered to. But now being that we can reach a wider audience, there are jobs being provided overseas for lower cost rather than utilizing people that have gone to a public college or university to specialize in the needed areas. This leaves many graduates in a pool of debt and unemployed.  

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Pool of Debt

It is said that on average the cost for one full year attendance at a four-year public college or university is about 40 percent of a family’s income. This results in most families utilizing student loan agencies that later run their credit to the ground. That 40 percent was after one full year in a public college or university, imagine after four full years and hikes in Annual Percentage Rates of loan interest. The picture is  of swimming pool of debt.

According to Liz Seda from Lifehack.org “Middle-class families will have more debt from student loans than their upper-class peers, who can pay for their education outright, and their lower class peers, who often qualify for grants and financial assistance. You might even end up being the one paying $1,000 a month for 20 years just for four years of school.” Most will say college is a scam rather than a waste of time. Institution tuition and fees tend to rise 8 percent yearly. There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone.

Loans are provided to most eligible undergraduate and graduate students. But they are not the easiest to pay back. After graduation, you are given a limited time to pay back student loans. If those student loans are not fulfilled in the loan companies set time, interest rates will put one in deeper debt.

Student loans have to be paid regardless of where you are in life post college. No one is guaranteed their ideal job post college, but you are guaranteed student loan debt. The government provides us with loans, creating an imaginary helping hand that is only dragging today’s society to the ground. Loans have become a norm in society, putting America in unhealthy spending habits, but asking them to do the impossible all while living the American Dream. It seems as though we are in school, to later get a job, to pay the government back, instead of living our lives.

Many can argue that paying for an education with professors that are less qualified than those without a degree, is another form of wasting money. The system has created a set focus on grade point averages, and letter grades rather than making sure that their students fully comprehend and are able to apply what they learned in everyday situations. Many professors are far more interested in tenure and their research than they are about making sure you get the best education they can possible give you. They grade you on curves so you can’t possibly fail, and the curriculum never changes. In fact, one study showed that 45% of students  are no better at critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing after their sophomore year than they were when they began.

A Degree Does Not Prove Your Personal Skill Set

Hiring managers are no longer taking hires based on degrees. Common questions in an interview and or application is, what skill sets are you able to bring to our company, and what experience do you have in this field, etc. Along with some jobs asking for portfolios of your previous work. They always say “actions speak louder than words,” and that is a guide that employers are sticking too when deciding on who is right for their company. Also, majority of hires are looking at personalities to help improve and or maintain their customer service.

Writer Isaac Morehouse produced an article on Medium.com discussing “Why Your College Degree is Worthless.” In the article he provides an example of three candidates for a job. Candidate one sends a resume declaring that they are a Marketing Major at a Least Common Denominator University. Candidate two sends examples of copy from three email drip campaign they created, results of their Shopify store, and the CPC they got on a Facebook ad set. The third and final candidate, sent an email describing how she made $100 one week in Amazon affiliation fees by doing a podcast episode about the writers book, a lengthy Amazon review also posted to her blog with an opt-in, and an email newsletter. She also noticed he has a 2D image of one of his books on his website, so she sent him a 3D rendering of it he could use for free. Which one do you think got the job? Better question. Which candidate would you hire? I use this example to show that regardless of what institution you attended and what you studied, if your competition is going the extra mile, the employer will likely go with that candidate. Not only did candidate three provide sampling of her work also for free of charge, she showed that she is determined and she would go the extra mile for the company and its potential consumers. I would hire candidate three.

Experience

There is not only bad that comes from a college degree. A college experience is one like no other, from the sleepless nights to its’ joyous moments. “You have your entire life in which to work: even if you end up being self-employed, work is never going to be as carefree as college was,” said Liz Seda from Lifehack.org. College is the only time you are able to experience dorm living, and receiving an education at anytime, make mistakes and not have the same consequences one would as an adult– the list goes on. This experience fundamentally changes a person’s mindset. Being that college is a constant train of life lessons, one will not be the same young adult one was entering college.

With the amount of information one learns on a daily basis in class, one’s mind is constantly being stimulated in a public college or university. Many undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students can all come to one common ground, that if there were to be one beneficial outcome of attending a public college or university, it would be the opportunity to network and connect with peers that one would have never imagined crossing paths with. There are numerous fields of study, many of which one may have no clue about. One simple conversation with a peer can enhance one’s insight on their desired field of study, and what that study is doing to enhance the world around us. As previously stated I was enrolled in a global societies course this semester as a requirement. Little behold the new world that was about to be brought to light. The information learned in Global Societies, has played a beneficial factor in other courses and future dreams and aspirations, I have set in the near future. For instance, now I have a moderate amount of knowledge on globalization and its impact on the world, institutions, and mass media. With institutions playing one of the leading factors in the spread of globalization today.  

Conclusion

Entrepreneurship has been on the rise for the past 10 years. Many go to school to study entrepreneurship, business management, marketing and so forth but many are proving that a degree is not needed to start and run a business. Today’s society has gotten into the mindset of making the world a more functional, tolerable place, rather than being controlled and draining environment. According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity (KIEA), the entrepreneurial rate in the U.S. is already well above the dot.com bubble of 15 years ago, although we have slipped a bit this year from the high point of 320 new entrepreneurs out of 100,000 adults in 2011. It still adds up to over 20 million non-employer businesses out there today, with more starting every day.

 College can be very time consuming and draining for a very uncertain future. Student loan debt is constantly eating away at post graduates pockets and to be more specific middle-class postgraduates. However, this study is not to show that a college degree is completely worthless but needless to say can be achieved in a different aspect. What employers want from workers nowadays is more narrow, more abstract and less easily learned in college. Needless to say, college is an amazing experience. It is an experience that one cannot enjoy, if one does not attend a public college or university, an experience that is worth the experience.  

Categories: Features, Opinion

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