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Thread: The Importance of College

  1. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    #1

    The Importance of College

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    I've been having a discussion with my sister...by which I mean she called me to vent her spleen. She has a lot of spleen.

    She's a recent graduate (double-degree, no less) and getting very frustrated at the business of finding work for herself. Meanwhile, here am I - no college, but multiple qualifications through apprenticeships and skilled trades. She's got her heart set on white collar. I'm fairly firmly blue. SKILLED blue, but blue.

    Her venting has made me think, and I'd be interested to hear what others have to say.

    1) The often repeated line that a bachelors is what a high school diploma used to be, and you need at least a masters to be truly competitive...do you agree with this? Do you NEED a college education to get a good job? SHOULD you need a masters? Have we devalued college by mistake, if everyone must have it?

    2) What about the perception of college as the best path to a good job? Even if it's not necessarily accurate, a lot of people seem to treat it as gospel, and God knows a lot of kids get into horrendous debt over it - to my eyes there's very much a perception/value judgement thing at play here. Would YOU ever consider trades work, or encourage your kids to pursue it? Why/why not?

    3) Where do alternate pathways (like the apprenticeship I did, or real world experience in general) fit into this? It's not college, so how should it be valued on the "job" vs "career" scale?
    Last edited by Matchbox; 04-10-2017 at 12:35 PM.
  2. Senior Member
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    #2
    Unless you're going for a trade, yes, you need college. Because it's a SCAM and nobody will hire you for any sort of job that's going to pay a livable wage.
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    I kind of am an advocate for both.

    I had to have the trade school, it was not an option, but while trying move around in my field so many opportunities are not available unless you hold a B.S. so I obtained that after I finished the trade school and was working to keep the student loans minimal.
  4. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    Unless you're going for a trade, yes, you need college. Because it's a SCAM and nobody will hire you for any sort of job that's going to pay a livable wage.

    Of course, the trouble with pushing college as the only rational path is that people are less likely to even CONSIDER the trades. Because it's not college, and you've been told for years that you need college to get anywhere, and...it forms a kind of self perpetuating loop.

    Certainly the very bright kids aren't considering it as an option as much. We are not and shouldn't be a ghetto of the dumb, unless people want idiots building their houses and doing all their electrical work!

    I kind of am an advocate for both.

    I had to have the trade school, it was not an option, but while trying move around in my field so many opportunities are not available unless you hold a B.S. so I obtained that after I finished the trade school and was working to keep the student loans minimal.
    I'm very much with you, I think.

    It's just an interesting thing to explore for me, because I get to see people who've had the expensive college experience (culinary school isn't cheap) AND people who've done it in the more hands-on way like me, and they're often quite different in how they work.

    Out of curiosity, what do you do?
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    To me it depends on what you want to do as a job. There are lots of jobs/careers here that don't require university, but for those that do, well... you absolutely need to go. Like, I'm a teachers and you can't do that without getting a teaching degree.
    I think that if you have the grades and the motivation to study, you should go to university, but most universities are free here so that makes it easier.
  6. Regular Member
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    Of course, the trouble with pushing college as the only rational path is that people are less likely to even CONSIDER the trades. Because it's not college, and you've been told for years that you need college to get anywhere, and...it forms a kind of self perpetuating loop.

    Certainly the very bright kids aren't considering it as an option as much. We are not and shouldn't be a ghetto of the dumb, unless people want idiots building their houses and doing all their electrical work!


    I'm very much with you, I think.

    It's just an interesting thing to explore for me, because I get to see people who've had the expensive college experience (culinary school isn't cheap) AND people who've done it in the more hands-on way like me, and they're often quite different in how they work.

    Out of curiosity, what do you do?
    I was a Deputy Sheriff (hoping to return to that), currently work for the government in a another type of law enforcement position.
  7. Team Rocket
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    #7
    1) The often repeated line that a bachelors is what a high school diploma used to be, and you need at least a masters to be truly competitive...do you agree with this? Do you NEED a college education to get a good job? Should you?

    I think in the US, this is very much true. Not sure about other places. I've worked in academia my whole career so far and it's very true here. My mom also works at Mayo clinic and they won't even hire an admin assistant or front desk staff member without a bachelor's anymore. Non-profit research and healthcare are quite different compared to other types of careers though.

    2) What about the perception of college as the best path to a good job? Even if it's not necessarily accurate, a lot of people seem to treat it as gospel, and God knows a lot of kids get into horrendous debt over it - to my eyes there's very much a perception/value judgement thing at play here. Would YOU ever consider trades work, or encourage your kids to pursue it? Why/why not?

    I think overall college is still the best bet, especially if you get into a highly in demand area like infrastructure architecture, nursing, biochemistry, human-computer interaction, accounting/statistics, and a few others. You're not even going to get hired in these fields without a bachelors and there's basically no way to acquire experience without a degree/internships first anyways.
    Would I personally ever do trade's work? No because I have a lot of medical problems, am technically disabled, and anything requiring physical prowess would be impossible to me. I do just fine at my office job though. I think if we want people to be contributing members of society, we have to be realistic that trade work isn't gonna work for a lot of people and they wouldn't come close to thriving in it. The same can be said about college though too, I know. But I think this is especially a pervasive problem in trades. My older cousin, after dropping out of college twice and listening to everyone say "go into a trade!!" became an electrician. But the state he works in has an huge surplus of electricians due to it's conservative, anti-higher-education policies, and no unions, so he was working for like minimum wage, some weeks had 0 work, couldn't get a consistent contract, etc. It was a shitshow. He couldn't move either as he was the primary provider for his girlfriend, their kid, and her 2 elderly parents.

    3) Where do alternate pathways (like the apprenticeship I did, or real world experience in general) fit into this? It's not college, so how should it be valued on the "job" vs "career" scale?

    Realistically, this isn't an option for many people. Apprenticeships are super rare in the US (we call them unpaid internships ) and are not supported on a wide scale. Real world experience CAN be useful but you get into the feedback loop of needing experience to get an entry level job, but no job with hire you without lots of previous experience/a degree.
    My husband, who has taken a whopping 1 college class in his life, has a very good "blue" job but he works for a German company that follows the apprenticeship mindset and really invests in training. He's had a lot of highly intensive, technical training which about equals a Master's degree in optical engineering. Very very few companies in the US will invest in their workers this way though.
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  8. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket_lizz View Post
    1) The often repeated line that a bachelors is what a high school diploma used to be, and you need at least a masters to be truly competitive...do you agree with this? Do you NEED a college education to get a good job? Should you?

    I think in the US, this is very much true. Not sure about other places. I've worked in academia my whole career so far and it's very true here. My mom also works at Mayo clinic and they won't even hire an admin assistant or front desk staff member without a bachelor's anymore. Non-profit research and healthcare are quite different compared to other types of careers though.

    2) What about the perception of college as the best path to a good job? Even if it's not necessarily accurate, a lot of people seem to treat it as gospel, and God knows a lot of kids get into horrendous debt over it - to my eyes there's very much a perception/value judgement thing at play here. Would YOU ever consider trades work, or encourage your kids to pursue it? Why/why not?

    I think overall college is still the best bet, especially if you get into a highly in demand area like infrastructure architecture, nursing, biochemistry, human-computer interaction, accounting/statistics, and a few others. You're not even going to get hired in these fields without a bachelors and there's basically no way to acquire experience without a degree/internships first anyways.
    Would I personally ever do trade's work? No because I have a lot of medical problems, am technically disabled, and anything requiring physical prowess would be impossible to me. I do just fine at my office job though. I think if we want people to be contributing members of society, we have to be realistic that trade work isn't gonna work for a lot of people and they wouldn't come close to thriving in it. The same can be said about college though too, I know. But I think this is especially a pervasive problem in trades. My older cousin, after dropping out of college twice and listening to everyone say "go into a trade!!" became an electrician. But the state he works in has an huge surplus of electricians due to it's conservative, anti-higher-education policies, and no unions, so he was working for like minimum wage, some weeks had 0 work, couldn't get a consistent contract, etc. It was a shitshow. He couldn't move either as he was the primary provider for his girlfriend, their kid, and her 2 elderly parents.

    3) Where do alternate pathways (like the apprenticeship I did, or real world experience in general) fit into this? It's not college, so how should it be valued on the "job" vs "career" scale?

    Realistically, this isn't an option for many people. Apprenticeships are super rare in the US (we call them unpaid internships ) and are not supported on a wide scale. Real world experience CAN be useful but you get into the feedback loop of needing experience to get an entry level job, but no job with hire you without lots of previous experience/a degree.
    My husband, who has taken a whopping 1 college class in his life, has a very good "blue" job but he works for a German company that follows the apprenticeship mindset and really invests in training. He's had a lot of highly intensive, technical training which about equals a Master's degree in optical engineering. Very very few companies in the US will invest in their workers this way though.
    Does the fact they're funnelling their DROPOUTS to the trades play any part in that problem, do you think? The Germans send a lot of the smart kids through the apprentice pipeline, and look at what they can do.

    Speaking of the Germans...SHOULD American companies be investing in their technical training like the Germans do? Would that be better, or is there something that would make it not work so well outside Germany?

    (Note, I have no real formed opinion. I'm just questioning to see where this leads)
  9. Dancing Backwards in High Heels
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    I'm pro-college, even for trades. DH is a diesel mechanic and works alongside several people who went to the school of hard knocks. He has an advantage of going to businesses because he already has the training, so they don't have to start at square 1. They also know he was trained on the basis of everything, so you don't have re-train from a different business.

    My mom works in elder care and has worked he way up through the field for the past 30 years, but it's been tough and she's reached a plateau. She has trouble transferring jobs because she doesn't have that magical piece of paper saying she went to college. So she really pushed us all to get SOME education, if nothing else so that we had that piece of paper.
  10. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    I think that for the most part you need some sort of post-high school education to have the best chance of success. That doesn't necessarily have mean college in the traditional sense, just some sort of education or training. High school teaches you nothing. That doesn't mean going to college will guarantee you a good job.

    I also wouldn't agree that you need a master's to be competitive. It very much depends on what you want to do. I got a masters straight out of undergrad because you have to have one to work in my field, but I'm still not terribly competitive in the job market because I focused too much on the education and not enough getting good experience when I was in school. There are plenty of areas where a bachelors will be just fine to get a good, high paying job. I'm not a fan of seeking higher education just for the sake of having an advanced degree. You should get it if you need it. If you want it and can afford it, go for it! But I see no sense in going into debt or struggling financially to get a higher degree just to say you have one.

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