Success can be found along many different paths! Why a college sheepskin may not be for everyone!
With the cost of a college education soaring beyond the reach of many Americans, is chasing a four-year advanced education actually worth the financial pain that goes along with it?
It's been discussed at TPC before that the answer to this question may depend to a large degree on the actual degree is that a student is going to be receiving.
For example the spread between the lifetime earnings power of a liberal arts major versus a computer science major has been shown to be significant, without even taking into account the opportunities in the job market!
So despite the traditional college dream for a large number parents and their kids, would it be better in some cases to head straight into the working world or to some type of vocational school after high school?
Guest Post: Four Reasons not Everyone Should go to College
Not long ago, Rick Santorum was chastised for calling President Obama a “snob” in response to Obama’s wanting everyone to go to college. Of course, our entire culture is premised on social mobility, which often presupposes getting a college degree.
At the same time, one thing that’s wrong with our education system is that access has become too easy. Millions of dollars are spent and wasted on young adults who either do not want to go to college or do not have the acumen to succeed. Here’s a closer look at why Santorum might be right about everyone going to college:
1. Full access lessens the value of a college degree.
A few years ago, having a bachelor’s degree actually meant something, just because not everyone had a degree. Now, since bachelor’s degrees are a dime a dozen, their value has dropped substantially. Once universities become more selective about admitting students who are prepared for rigorous academic work, only then will a bachelor’s degree actually signify something.
2. It makes it more difficult for bright and ambitious students to succeed.
When so many students are attending college, classes are bigger and professors do not have the time to give bright and hard-working students the attention they deserve. Professors often must lower their standards to teach an entire class, which means teaching to the students who don’t care about school, instead of challenging the students with great potential.
3. College does not prepare all students for all careers.
Several decades ago, vocational work was respected in this country. Now, since so many students who’ve displayed acumen for vocational work are being funneled into colleges that don’t suit their talents, there’s a huge deficit in fields like mechanics and carpentry. We have hundreds of thousands of students who know Latin but can’t fix a car to save their life. This needs to change by encouraging vocational training as a viable alternative to college.
4. The cost of college is exorbitant and not worth it for many students and taxpayers.
For the first time in history, student loan debt has exceeded credit card debt, totaling close to a trillion dollars. The ostensible purpose of getting a college degree is to eventually find a job, but now it’s not unusual to hear of a PhD holder working in the service industry. Michael Robertson examines the ROI of a college degree, and it’s remarkably low. Why encourage so many to spend their lives mired in debt? And then have us, the taxpayers, foot the bill when loans are defaulted on? More than just this, state university budgets are so bloated with taxpayer dollars precisely because so many students are going to college.
Of course, this is not to say that college shouldn’t be a viable option for those who do want to attend university and have the skills to succeed. But it’s time that we understand that some people are simply not cut out for college, and there should still be plenty of options for them, too.
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