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DaveInDenver
07-02-2009, 09:36 AM
Read something today that I think is interesting.

Is a college degree worthless? (http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/CollegeAndFamily/CutCollegeCosts/is-a-college-degree-worthless.aspx)

What do you young people think about this? Are you going to school because you truly feel the pull for more education or is it just a degree, a stepping stone?

Having gone through the system and with Kirsten in the system, I happen to agree largely with this article. Our 3 year experiment with her going back to grad school has put us backward by almost 10 years financially and I can't see how it will make us better off economically ever. By interrupting her work flow at 35 and eating up all of our savings means that we will now have about zero chance of retiring from working in our 50s (we might have been able to call it quits in 10 or 15 years). It is entirely likely that if she gets a job in architecture (which is dubious currently), that she will never reach the same salary that she would have reached probably in her early 40s had she stayed in the market on her career path.

So I look at the grad degree as something she felt she had to do personally and I can respect that. But when combined with my same mistake, to quit a career path to go back to school, I think professionally education sure looks like a loser.

FJ 432
07-02-2009, 09:54 AM
An interesting subject. Many years ago I received my BS in Marketing from UNC in Greeley. I can honestly say that it only helped me when it came to jobs that required a degree to be considered. Maybe that's all it was intended for and I guess I'm okay with that but it added nothing to my knowledge base.

I had a great time in college and I came away with developing more social skills and very little book knowledge. One could argue that a marketing degree has very little real world basis (easiest business degree out there) but I wouldn't trade my college years for anything.

If I had to do it all over again I would probably take only the courses that I enjoyed the professor. I can't remember the degree title (liberal arts maybe) but these were the classes that I came away remembering. I took a basic Geography class and the teacher was so inspiring I still want to travel the world.

Financially and the potential of earning more, I believe that unless it's accounting, law or medical you are postponing the inevitable.

ScaldedDog
07-02-2009, 10:16 AM
Having spent 10 years teaching and having accumulated just shy of 300 semester hours, I feel some level of qualification to comment on this...

For recent HS graduates - Going to school full time makes a lot of sense. I'm not sure where the author got his numbers, but if you get a 4 year degree to get into a field that tops out at $52K (in today's dollars, I assume, but I didn't read the entire article), you got the wrong degree. A teaching degree will net you a job that tops out about $75-80K (today), and teaching is, to me, the very definition of an average paying career. The trick is to keep one's debt level low or non-existent, and that means working.

For adults - Leaving the workforce to obtain a degree is probably a losing financial bet, even if you plan to dramatically increase your income as a result of the additional education. If you can bust tail and get another degree while maintaining your income, though, it can work out great!

The anecdotal experiences of myself and my ex wife are telling: We each decided to change careers in the late 80's. (We were both teachers.) She stopped working and took a year off to get into med school, followed by 4 years of med school, followed by 3-4 years of residency, during which she earned less than she *was* making as a teacher. IIRC, when we divorced, she took her $60K (way less than average) debt with her, into a field where she'd likely end up with a government job, but still one that pays much better than teaching.

I got a computer degree from Metro during this same time, by loading up during the summers and taking a couple of classes per semester during the school year. I graduated with zero debt, and ended up in a field that pays much better than teaching.

I don't know what ever happened to her, but I bet my financial position today is at least as good as hers, and likely better.

The lesson isn't that education is not worth sacrifice, it is. To get it to pay off, though, the sacrifice needs to be in additional effort, not in keeping ones effort level the same, while sacrificing income.

Mark

MDH33
07-02-2009, 10:41 AM
If you can attend college for free (parents footing bill, scholarships, or a job that pays for it) it's a great thing. If you have to put yourself deeply into debt to earn a degree, it's not worth it IMHO.

Dr. Schlegs
07-02-2009, 10:52 AM
Well I feel I have shot myself in the foot at times furthering my education (2 Masters and a Doctorate). I saw my undergrad buddies landing jobs and pulling down some big money after being out of school for two years. Due to my field, I feel like I am just starting out in the world. I often look back and wish I would have gone a different route, but I am happy with where my life has taken me. I figure in the end it will all pay off. At this point the problem is the economy and universities attempting to be all things to all people. You have these universities that have ads sandwiched between personal injury lawyers that play during reruns of Little House on the Prairie. You also have the online programs (which are great for individuals in rural areas), that cater to individuals that have poor social skills, and would not make it in a cubical environment. The reason being is that they have not had the chance to interact with a peer which is its own selection process, and thus lack the chance to learn how to debate a point or accept critical feedback. By far the classroom is the best learning lab.

Any school of higher education will stand on its own merit, without the need of advertising on websites, television, and/or checkout lane magazines.

In regards to parents paying for college, in my undergrad whose were the kids that were parting every weekend. I paid my own way and was able to manage my school debt by working two part-time jobs while going through undergrand. I have a full time job whilst finishing the rest of my education as well. I am really proud of the hard work it took me to get where I am today. I also have become a believer in the idea of the "Journey". Sure it costed me a marriage and a home payment but I am happier now.

jettaglxdriver
07-02-2009, 10:56 AM
I think it depends on what career you want. You cannot become a Dentist or Engineer without going to school and before you decide to follow that path you need to look at your current age/how much you like what you currently do or what your current options are/ and what the payoff of what you are interested in doing is.

I wouldn't suggest a person with a good job making $65K a year put them selves back through school to get a arts degree or business degree to only start at entry level in that field 4 years later and make $40k a year. However my GF who was an expanded duties Dental Assistant is 1/2 way through Dental school at 36 years old and in 2 more years she will be a licensed Dentist. Yeah the cost for her is huge now but she will have a rewarding career that can actually pay the bill the education made.

I am not college educated (as you can probably tell by reading this post LOL) but have worked in the skilled trades my whole career starting with Electronics then electrical maintenance and now Quality Assurance for DPS make enough money where I am and have good enough benefits and job satisfaction that considering finally going to school for a degree at 34 does not show a pay off. I have considered mechanical engineering or electrical engineering but the payoff time for me would be significant considering what I currently make.

I the value of a degree is too dependent on the situation to say its good or bad.

Red_Chili
07-02-2009, 11:29 AM
If you can attend college for free (parents footing bill or scholarships) it's a great thing. If you have to put yourself deeply into debt to earn a degree, it's not worth it IMHO.

And of course there are nearly infinite options between those two extremes.

This also touches on an old debate: whether a degree's value is determined primarily economically, or more intangibly such as a liberal arts degree. One side (the liberal arts side) decries the other's (everything from vo-tech to higher hard-science-oriented degrees) tendency to have a reductionist view of humankind; that is, we are reduced to our economic value and so evaluate most things on that scale. :rolleyes: Like that is what we really live for (quality of life, or the 'good life' as ethicists describe it).

The other side retorts, "What does a recent 4 year graduate with a history major, from a good university, tend to say daily?

'Would you like fries with that?' " :lmao:

I am (gee what a surprise) in the middle. I have an MA, an MS and a BA so where else would I end up. One is in Human Development and the other in Counseling, and the 'other' other in Information Systems.

I have found in my life - and, I think, most employers you would want to work for have found - that my liberal arts degree gives me the broad background of knowledge needed to evaluate situations from many different perspectives, with many different goals, cultural aspects, phenomenological aspects, historical background, and ethical concerns. Perhaps most importantly, it taught me how to think logically and defensibly. I can draw on and extend this background, and invent well thought out solutions to novel situations just a little bit better than I would have otherwise. In other words... groundedness.

The science degree taught me a specific application of knowledge and the working through of practical challenges. It, too, taught me how to think, which concerns are more central than others, the flow of information through an organization, financial management... you get it. In other words... more groundedness, in a different way, but no less important.

One is incomplete without the other. I shudder when I hear advertisements for degrees that brag about not having to 'waste all that time' pursuing silly core classwork. Oh great, a society of mindless techniboobs whose thoughts never go beyond the immediately practical, and their personal career concerns. Lemme know how that works out for ya. Career is quite important, but never forget that your education should prepare you for careers that haven't even been invented yet.

I think this is the best way to evaluate the worth of a degree: how does it contribute to your overall development? Of course, you also gotta make sure the area of study is a good match to your gifts and challenges. A perfectly good degree mismatched to the person is pretty worthless. So is one that is completely unrelated to practical realities of sustaining oneself (aka paying the bills).

If you address all these in your choices, in balance, in my experience the economic benefits (over a lifetime, not just what you've experienced in as short a period as a decade) of higher education are hard to dismiss. I use every bit of my education every single day, and it has been the difference between starting as a Senior Whatsit with an organization versus just a Whatsit. It has also allowed me to change careers many times - try that with a narrow area of study.

Economic concerns are like trying to be in love: if you focus just on them, they escape your grasp and what you are left with, disappoints. If you focus on all the other stuff... you get the economic benefits too, and it tends to take care of itself. As a central tendency, over the long haul.

nakman
07-02-2009, 12:24 PM
I wouldn't be where I am today had it not been for what I learned in college, and my growth in that time period. Every day I draw on something and can name the class I was in when I learned it... I even refer to a couple books from college.. huge benefit and I wouldn't trade the experience of that 8 year long 4-year degree for anything.

I consider people with degrees on a higher level, only because it proved they could take something on and see it through to the end. 2 classes away from graduation is about the worst thing you could put on a resume, IMO. However, the real stuff in business and life that separates the good from the mediocre, and the methods and ideas that are transformational not merely transactional, all have been learned outside of college- my sales and marketing programs, our workflow procedures, quality practices... all that was learned either through experience our outside education, mainly professional training classes, conferences, consultants, and experience & networking. But they were all easier to understand, digest, and implement because of the foundation I received in college. I think I just said the same thing Bill said..

And I actually do a guest lecture at CU Boulder every November, if anyone wants to see the next one let me know!

DaveInDenver
07-02-2009, 01:04 PM
Completely tangential, but funny that Garrison mentioned in passing similar themes to this thread. A little eerie to be honest.

It's time to stand up for homemade potato salad (http://www.salon.com/opinion/keillor/2009/07/01/potato_salad/index.html)
By Garrison Keillor

"So let me speak up for an endangered menu item this Fourth of July weekend and that is homemade potato salad.

When the family meets this weekend to hobnob and burn burgers, the family member assigned to bring the potato salad is likely going to walk in with a couple of gallon plastic buckets of yellowish muck bought at a convenience store, the price stickers still on them, and set them down on the table with no apology whatsoever.

Or, if they have more disposable income, they'll bring paper containers full of brownish muck from the natural organic sustainable united empathetic co-op.

If you bring garbage to share with your family, the least you can do is tell a lie and say, "I couldn't make the potato salad myself because I am bipolar and my lover left me and my dog has leukemia and I have an oozing leprous sore on my mixing hand."

It is not that hard to make potato salad, people. Take half an hour away from your Facebook page and do the job right. Boil some eggs, chop the celery and chives and green onions, boil the potatoes, make your mayonnaise, maybe toss in a little sour cream, use plenty of dill, and sprinkle paprika on top. The eerie-yellow store-bought stuff in the tubs was manufactured at Amalgamated Salad in Houston by undocumented 12-year-olds from the hills of Michoacan. Worse, it is teaching our children that accomplishment doesn't matter.

A child served yellow slop from a bucket is being told that it's OK to plagiarize a term paper off the Internet just so long as it's poorly written.

What if Thomas Jefferson had been too busy hobnobbing to write the Declaration of Independence so he just downloaded a bunch of stuff he found Googling "independence" and coming up with stuff about indolence, pendants, incontinence, but hey, close enough, and he pasted it together and they all signed it and went out to a movie? Not good."

4RunrFTW
07-02-2009, 01:57 PM
Interesting thread, made me think for a minute. When I got out of HS, the last thing I wanted was to spend any mroe time in classrooms learning at someone else's pace, and learning only what they thought was important. This led to the inevitable career mashup. I started out in construction, then moved to food service, then to landscaping, then to computers. That one stuck, thank god. Along the way, I learned a lot about what I DIDN'T want to do. I was pretty sure I wanted to be a horticulturist or a landscape architect when I got out of HS, but spending 6 months landscaping told me that it just wasn't my thing. So I looked around, and having had a computer since 1982 figured maybe that'd be worthwhile. That was 1996. Since then, I've had 11 computer jobs, most with companies during the dot-com era who were here and gone in a flash. I job-hopped (and state-hopped between CO and CA) once or twice every year between 1998 and 2001. I finally settled down in 2001, and spent 6 years at my last gig. Now I live in Denver, and don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. Here's my take:
I got where I am today because I told people I could do something I didn't have the ability to at the time. Then because I'd said it was possible, I went out and bought every college or trade textbook I could find on the subject and read it. Usually twice. I figure I've probably invested more in textbooks than if I'd actually gone to college to get an MIS degree, but I went through the process and had to APPLY the knowledge I'd picked up immediately. Reading that voraciously, I was able to complete projects with the promised specs, usually on time. I've learned a HUGE variety of skills in the industry, and wouldn't have that breadth of knowledge if I hadn't had all that career experience.
That being said, I always thought I should go back until I'd been in the career for 5 years. At that point, experience was able to get me past the lack of college education, and I've never looked back. Someday, I might go back, but only to get a degree in theatrical lighting design or photography. I figure trying to get a CS or MIS degree at this point is a huge waste of time and money.
I think that the key is to find something you like doing, and preferably find it early in life. I was 19 when I got into the PC game, and I rode the dot-com bubble for all it was worth. But if I hadn't burned through all the other careers (I'm on job 17 since I left HS), it would have been harder to find that focus. I think most folks get into something they find interesting, but get discouraged for some reason. in any career, I believe you have to work your way up in order to really see the rewards that everyone talks about when you enter the field. Be it technical, medical, engineering, or education the only way you really get that long-term payout is to stick with it.

My $.02,
Cale

Chris
07-02-2009, 02:10 PM
I think that the key is to find something you like doing, and preferably find it early in life.

This was the primary educational advice we gave our kids. Secondary was don't chase the dollar. I'm happy to say both of our kids took our advice and are happy with their careers and their family life vs one or the other which too often is the case.

Mendocino
07-02-2009, 02:38 PM
College/University is fundamentally good; particularly if you complete it shortly after high school. As others have pointed out one really needs to find what one enjoys doing or work is miserable. I have a BA in Anthropology and went to grad school and never finished my thesis, which sits at 331 pages and will never be completed. I worked as an archaeologist for about 10 years and made a good living. Along the way I discovered satellite navigation and geodesy, fell in love with it, and am now a bit of a "GNSS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_navigation) Super-Freak."

These days I am out of the technical side for the most part and on the corporate business side. I had a chance to do an executive MBA a few years ago and did not. I also had a chance to go to a big name business school this year and did not largely due to the financial crisis.

At 45 I really regret not having gone to B-school earlier in my life, but at that time I really did not know what I loved or have the maturity to take full advantage of an advanced degree. These days my personal and work life are so busy and complicated that going back to school is really not an option.

Even without the advanced degree I find that my work experience is much more important than the Ivy League education some of my colleagues have. This stated, thier education opens doors easily.

In summary, a four year degree demonstrates the ability to complete something. It does not really matter what you do as long as you have heart for it, do it well, and it affords you a standard of living you are happy with.:thumb:

ElliottB
07-02-2009, 04:56 PM
In my opinion, education shouldn't have a direct correlation to wealth. I went to school for 5 years at Univ of North Carolina and obtained a fairly technical degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology. Even with 3 years experience, the typical job that fits my background ranges from 30k-38k per year. My buddy who is a welder for John Deere is making $50k+ a year. A trade is far more valuable... err.. marketable than a formal education.

Granted, when I get done with medical school it will be a different story. But purely for the dollars and "sense" of it, most B.S./M.S. degrees do not hold the same value as they once did. A career and education should really be about passion for a particular field, not the dollar signs attached to it. If one lived by this creed, debt would be irrelevant to job satisfaction.

lfd270ben
07-02-2009, 10:44 PM
Worthless yes and no I got my dream job without a college degree but some company's use the lack of any degree as a way to filter canidates because of the economy there is plenty of people out there with a bachelor's degree in business willing to manage a McDonald's

Romer
07-02-2009, 10:51 PM
Many companies will pay for your relevant higher education while you are employed. I got my Master degree by going to school at night for two years while working during the day. I also worked with people who received their Doctorate that way.

I would not recommend dropping out of the work place, instead move to an employer who will for your education while your still working and making a paycheck and progressing on your career path. You bust your ass for a few years, but its mostly free and you don't lose anything from a career or financial point of view.

As a side note, I put my self through college working fulltime, with Grants and student loans to be an EE. It was worth every penny of it. I got to do really cool stuff that I never would have been able to do otherwise. Maybe in 25 years I can talk about it, but at least I can say I designed the central computers 20 years ago for satellites that are still flying.

Corbet
07-02-2009, 10:59 PM
An argument could be made either way. As a high school grade who dropped out of college (Architecture school) to go skiing many years ago I can honestly say I wish I would have finished even if I never got a job as an Architect. I've worked hard and made good money without a college degree.

But I think I could have a higher quality of life had I finished college and got a more normal job. Sales is good but I don't get weekends to spend with Marianne or my soon to be son. I'd have more open doors with a degree. The article also assumes that the fresh out of high school student invests his money rather than spend it. How many would actually do that? College grad more likely IMO.

But for me to go back to school now in hopes of higher income? Don't think so. But could I gain a better standard of living. Definitely maybe.

corsair23
07-02-2009, 11:37 PM
Personally I definitely believe in a college degree for those that have the desire but also that it is important to get your first degree right after high school and go from there...What surprised me back when was that it really didn't matter what my degree was in (it was TOTALLY unrelated to the job I was interviewing for), just that I had that degree...The harsh reality is that in many fields not having a degree can be a career stopper, regardless.

After that I agree with Ken's and others approach to staying in your career and getting your graduate degree (or even a different degree) while working...Hard work for sure but financially I believe it will work out for the better...

On the flip side, the reality is that college is not for everyone and that is perfectly fine. I know plenty of people that never went to college and in fact didn't do so great in high school that have basically learned on the job what they could never have learned in college and at a minimum have 4 more years of real world experience than others. A lot of these people I consider WAY smarter than me, especially in what they do because they seem to have an aptitude for it.

Corbet
07-03-2009, 07:47 AM
Take a step back and think about that. You live in Durango, have money and time for a child, seem to be in control of your own destiny, have a Cruiser and what-not. What exactly do you want more out of life that some piece of paper is gonna give you?

I didn't mean to look like I was complaining. Just the fact that a degree would open more doors of opportunity. Perhaps one that I could make equal or more money without the 50+ hour work week or weekend/holiday office hours.

Corbet
07-03-2009, 07:48 AM
dedicated people will float to the top not matter what silly pedigree they happen to have and a college degree does not guarantee nor hinder you from a life that you couldn't have achieved using the skill and wits you're blessed with.

Could not agree with this more.

Red_Chili
07-03-2009, 02:15 PM
Smart and dedicated people will float to the top not matter what silly pedigree they happen to have and a college degree does not guarantee nor hinder you from a life that you couldn't have achieved using the skill and wits you're blessed with.
True dat. A degree guarantees nothing in the absence of the qualities of which you speak. But with those qualities, a degree makes it easier, just like any proper tool.

Maybe you can point out specific things that a degree opens a door for you, but maybe a degree makes you lazy? What if Bill Gates didn't drop out of school to start Microsoft? Or Buckminster Fuller, Steve Jobs or Doris Lessing. Lessing is a high school drop out even, yet she was awarded a Nobel Prize in literature. Some others authors, William Faulkner, Mark Twain, Gore Vidal never earned college degrees. Richard Branson, Michael Dell, Dean Camen (of Segway), David Oreck (the vacuum guy), these are CEOs without college degrees. How about some US Presidents? George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Harry S Truman never received degrees.
A guy with a science degree, overruling statistics based on a large sample, with anecdotal exceptions, in fact notable BECAUSE of their exceptionality?

I think all the evidence supports these conclusions:
1) If you don't have a degree, don't assume that will stop you. Don't let that suck the wind from your sails.
2) If you are considering pursuing a degree, let nothing stop you, if you can achieve it with life balance. It will pay for itself many times over, and you will be better for it.
The younger the better. Said by a guy who got two graduate degrees while working, with a family. No wonder I'm tired.

LARGEONE
07-03-2009, 07:05 PM
Wow...what a great thought-provoking topic!!! I truly believe that a college degree opens doors that wouldn't otherwise be opened. Obviously, there are a million people out there that prove that a college degree is not necessary to succeed...they are the exception, more than the rule. Take a business as an example...there are many people who do well in business without a degree, but many times they get there by making many mistakes. So, they "pay" for their education in another way...sweat equity, if you will!!!

At the same time, I think it is CRAZY to go into vast debt for a Bach degree. My parents had no money for me to go to college, so I let Uncle Sam pay for both my undergrad Civil Engineering degree as well as my MBA. And, the entire time, the Air Force paid me a salary as well! So, to start off with ZERO debt and the college degrees put me at a head start to many of my peers. Many of them are in their 30s and still paying for their B degrees. Without the degrees, Johnson & Johnson would not have hired me to sell Pharmaceuticals (Bach required) and any high paying job with a large company (or government) requires at least a B degree.

As many have said before, the degree is just a key to open the door. It's everything else that you learn while you are at college that motivates you to go out and conquer the world. Some people have this same motivation without college and I envy them.

For me, I know that I really need to make the jump to run my own business since my entrepreneurial spirit has been caged too long. I'm ready, I just need a bit more capital and find the right business.

To sumarize...a person should not go into too much debt to get a degree or advanced degree. You have to look at how long it will take to pay for the education with whatever the salary gained might be and see if it's worth it.

Caribou Sandstorm
07-03-2009, 11:06 PM
Hey Larger, is that why you bought that welding kit????

You going to start your own welding shop....:lmao:

DaveInDenver
09-10-2009, 01:34 PM
http://static.businessinsider.com/~~/f?id=4a841c1f7143f76c0577570d&maxX=401&maxY=300

Nah, seriously...

What Should You Study In College? (http://www.businessinsider.com/john-carney-what-should-you-study-in-college-2009-9)

If you want to know the truth, you probably shouldn’t go to college. At least not right away. A few years out of school will help you recover your personality from years of highly incentivized conformism and probably will help you get into a better school.

And if you are going to college, you might want to consider studying something esoteric and useless, like ancient Greek philosophy. This is especially true if you can manage to get a college education without accumulating too much debt.

But for most of us, debt is a reality of college education. Which naturally makes us ask—what jobs pay the best? Of course, you can make lots money by being truly outstanding in any field. But betting that you’ll find your way at the very top of your field is a big gamble to take. For those of you a bit more risk adverse, the real question is: which majors result in the highest median pay?

As it turns out, you really do want to be a “rocket scientist.” That’s not just a cliché. Aerospace engineering has a relatively high median starting salary—$59,000—as well as a high mid-career salary--$109,000. Here’s the full chart, from Payscale.com.

http://static.businessinsider.com/~~/f?id=4aa6707afa8e735a4c5438d9

nakman
09-10-2009, 02:04 PM
What the purple bar, cost of college?

Bikeman
09-10-2009, 02:37 PM
It didn't look like it was brought up other than in Dave's very first post regarding retirement age. If anyone who is in our age bracket now, let's say 30-40 for now, thinks they are going to retire "early" or at 65 or earlier, they are in for a major financial suprise when they run out of money during retirement.

The two reasons are: money socked away in retirement accounts is either nonexistant or took a hit with the stock market, and you are going to live a lot longer than your parents or grandparents did/are!. Right now, our age expecancy for us gen x'ers is close to 100, and our children to 110. Will you have enough to retire on to keep you going until you die? I will prolly have to keep wrenching on bikes long after 65 if my fingers will let me!

wesintl
09-10-2009, 02:47 PM
you are going to live a lot longer than your parents or grandparents did/are!.

Based on the current health care or obama's health care :confused: :hill:

Hulk
09-10-2009, 05:03 PM
This is a really interesting thread. I must have missed it back in July.

I started out at Mizzou pursuing an EE degree. I was fine at all the engineering classes and physics, but I had the world's smartest Calc teacher who taught like everyone was as smart as he was. I always struggled with math when it wasn't applied to some real world scenario. It just bored me to death. The classes I just loved were the computer programming. I loved Fortran.

I switched over to a journalism degree for my sophomore year. It's been a good degree which taught me a lot and has opened doors into some good jobs.

However, if I could go back and whisper in my younger ear, I would tell myself to pursue the computer stuff. More opportunity, better money, and a skill set that can be verified.

I agree with the idea of taking off a year before college, too. If I would have worked at the local stereo shop for a year before starting college, I would have had far more motivation to study. I was still a decent student, but there were plenty of classes that I wish I had taken more seriously than I did.

theboomboom
09-10-2009, 06:29 PM
I always meant to chime in on this thread, bout time I finally get around to it.

Way back when I still didn't have hair and spent over half my day sleepin, I've been told that my mom started setting aside $100 a month to pay for my college education. Somewhere along the line, this didn't go over well and I'm not exactly sure where that money ended up (dressed in siberian camoflauge i suppose), but I digress. I feel so fortunate not to be seeing a dime of that money as many of my peers undoubtably are. I started making college plans as soon as I got into high school, got my first job as soon as I was old enough to get hired, and have worked 1-2 jobs ever since saving to pay for MY OWN FUTURE. I also was forced to work hard in high school, because realistically, I wouldn't be able to afford a 4 year education working part time. The community college I'm attending now gave me 80% off my tuition because of my grades, and all the courses I'm currently taking are guaranteed to transfer towards my degree. Incrementally, I hope to earn an associates, bachelors, and eventually a masters degree all on my own dime. I've come to really appreciate the experience, as the exposure I'm getting to being independendent while still having a roof and dinner to come home to every night must be more valuable than living large in a dorm room payed for by someone else. Hopefully, I can blaze a path similar to Ken, and find companies that will help with the tuition. I was awarded $2250 a semester through the community college's work study program, which should more than cover the cost of my first degree with my scholarship. Beyond that, I'll hopefully continue to be eligible for scholarships once I transfer, but that's all still relatively far down the road...

corsair23
09-10-2009, 06:45 PM
Dang...

Rick, you looking to be adopted? :D - When your pappa reads that he'll be even more proud of you than he is now...Despite the lack of proper paragraph structure :hill:

leiniesred
09-11-2009, 12:16 AM
I got 2 years of education payment help from my parents, then I worked through college. Sometimes 2 jobs with school. I was on the 8 year plan, but being an overachiever, I finished in just 5.5 years.

I worked while I earned my masters degree a few years ago. It was tough, but I saw my Dad earn his law degree when I was a kid so I knew I could do it too. (Didn't see much of Dad as a kid though. He left for work downtown early in the morning, ate dinner with us, then went to night school. He studied in his office downstairs most weekends. Our time together was valuable.)

I don't think my degrees have been useful at all in the real world. (Environmental studies and Computer Systems)
I think the paper on the wall really only helps you make the paper cut on the applicant list. *shrugs*

I would like to earn a doctrate degree, but I want to work at my own, slow pace. I do not expect it to make a difference in my future income. Dr. Rudy just sounds right though doesn't it?! *Laughs*


Lin on the other hand dropped out of college and went to work. She is nearly a decade younger than I, but we earn about the same. She kind of wants to go back to school to finish her degree.

I think Romer has the right idea. Go back to school if you can find a company to pay for it!

DaveInDenver
06-02-2010, 03:23 PM
The Real Public Service (http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell060110.php3)

Back at the beginning of the 20th century, only 15 percent of American families had a flush toilet. Not quite one-fourth had running water. Only three percent had electricity and one percent had central heating. Only one American family in a hundred owned an automobile.

By 1970, the vast majority of those American families who were living in poverty had flush toilets, running water and electricity. By the end of the twentieth century, more Americans were connected to the Internet than were connected to a water pipe or a sewage line at the beginning of the century.

More families have air-conditioning today than had electricity then. Today, more than half of all families with incomes below the official poverty line own a car or truck and have a microwave.

This didn't come about because of the politicians, bureaucrats, activists or others in "public service" that you are supposed to admire. No nation ever protested its way from poverty to prosperity or got there through rhetoric or bureaucracies.

It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club. It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration. It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader.

Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing "compassion" for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about.

MountainMan
06-02-2010, 04:51 PM
great topic, i think it certainly varies by industry, regarding my industry (IT Consulting) i got a BS in CS and felt that it gave me about .021% of the information needed to be successful in my job (i.e. basically zip).

after college i got some certifications in specific technologies which gave me about 25% of the info i needed (at a fraction of the cost). however, my company, does ask for degrees when screening applicants - now if an experienced hire comes in w/o one we will still interview them (and depending on the interviewer that may or may not be an issue - if they get me, its a non-issue).

i think if you don't want to be fairly or unfairly handicapped at times, get a degree. it gives me no pleasure in saying that because i think the value you get from a degree for your dollar spent is VERY low (at least in my field.)

my boss (who is the VP over the western US workforce (about 400 people) never went to college, he is 37, as am i)

Rezarf
06-02-2010, 08:32 PM
I have directly worked with college students in my profession for the past 10 years on three different campuses. I'd say about 50% aren't wasting their money. The other half have no idea what they want to do. Those usually end up changing their major 3-5 times and take an additional 1-2 years to graduate. Many default to an "easy" degree because they enjoy the college experience and it is what they are "supposed" to be doing. Its a shame. I have seen more students graduate 50-100k in debt with a social work degree.

In Germany, they have a 2 year (I think) experience where students between high school and college, try a variety of things, arts, trades, business, teaching, science, social work... THEN they decide what they actually liked doing.

We have a lot of room to improve here stateside.

DaveInDenver
07-06-2010, 04:23 PM
What Really Matters (http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/9412/gatto.htm)

A lot of things don't matter that are supposed to; one of them is well-funded government schools. Saying that may be considered irresponsible by people who don't know the difference between schooling and education, but over 100 academic studies have tried to show any compelling connection between money and learning and not one has succeeded. Right from the beginning schoolmen told us that money would buy results and we all believed it. So, between 1960 and 1992 the U.S. tripled the number of constant dollars given to schools. Yet after 12,000 hours of government schooling one out of five Americans can't read the directions on a medicine bottle.

After 12,000 hours of compulsory training at the hands of nearly 100 government-certified men and women, many high school graduates have no skills to trade for an income or even any skills with which to talk to each other. They can't change a flat, read a book, repair a faucet, install a light, follow directions for the use of a word processor, build a wall, make change reliably, be alone with themselves or keep their marriages together. The situation is considerably worse than journalists have discerned. I know, because I lived in it for 30 years as a teacher.

Last year at Southern Illinois University I gave a workshop in what the basic skills of a good life are as I understand them. Toward the end of it a young man rose in back and shouted at me: “I'm 25 years old, I've lived a quarter of a century, and I don't know how to do anything except pass tests. If the fan belt on my car broke on a lonely road in a snowstorm I'd freeze to death. Why have you done this to me?”

...

Does going to school matter if it uses up all the time you need to learn to build a house? If a 15-year-old kid was allowed to go to the Shelter Institute in Bath, Maine, he would be taught to build a beautiful post-and-beam Cape Cod home in three weeks, with all the math and calculations that entails; and if he stayed another three weeks he'd learn how to install a sewer system, water, heat and electric. If any American dream is universal, owning a home is it – but few government schools bother teaching you how to build one. Why is that? Everyone thinks a home matters.

Does going to school matter if it uses up the time you need to start a business, to learn to grow vegetables, to explore the world or make a dress? Or if it takes away time to love your family? What matters in a good life?

DaveInDenver
12-17-2010, 05:06 PM
Young people: get ready to grab your ankles (http://www.sovereignman.com/expat/young-people-get-ready-to-grab-your-ankles)
by Simon Black
December 16, 2010
Auckland, New Zealand

If you’re reading this and under 30, let me be absolutely clear about one indubitable point: your government is going to sacrifice your future in order to pay for its own mistakes from the past.

To give you an example, students in London came out to the streets in droves last Friday to protest the British parliament’s most recent austerity measures which tripled the cap on their university tuition to $15,000.

Sure, Britain is imposing all sorts of austerity measures on its citizens… and while I won’t get into a discussion about the absurdity of government controlled education, I will point out that students are having their benefits cut far more drastically than any other segment of the population.

Are pensioners seeing their costs triple? No. Are middle-aged workers seeing 50% tax hikes? No. Aside from the very small segment of high-income earners who will be forever robbed and pillaged of their wealth, the younger generation is next in line to receive the butt end of the crisis fallout.

Younger folks have comparatively lower incomes, benefits, job opportunities, and political clout than their seniors, yet they are increasingly expected to assume a disproportionately larger burden of the consequences of government folly.

It’s the younger generation that is called on to go fight and die in pointless wars in faraway lands; it’s the younger generation that is forced to assume the debts of their forefathers; and it’s the younger generation that gets relegated to the back rows of the political amphitheater and dismissed by the establishment.

Meanwhile, retirees aren’t seeing massive benefits cuts, and middle-aged wage earners income earners are being protected from above by politicians. In fact, let’s take a minute and look at the looming fate of the average young person today:

Your government-run university tuition is going to go through the roof, saddling you with unfathomable debt before you even enter the world as an adult;
Once you graduate, you’ll be the last in the hiring queue;
If you do get hired, you’ll be the lowest on the totem pole and the first to be let go when tough times befall your business;
Once the labor market eventually stabilizes, you’ll enter your prime earning years with some of the highest tax rates ever seen as your government continues to cannibalize your generation to pay off its largess and indebted entitlement programs that benefited older generations;
For your entire working life, you’ll pay into a pension system that is going to be bankrupt by the time you’re qualified to draw on it;
More than likely, you’ll never achieve the standard of living that your parents achieved;
Whatever wealth your parents accumulated won’t be left to you– the bulk of it will be confiscated by the state (unless your folks were smart enough to plant multiple flags) due to a host of death taxes.
If you’re in the millennial Facebook generation, this is going to be the standard storyline of your peers. The system that’s in place right now– the failed cycle of debt and consumption fed by continuous government intervention– has stuck you with the bill.

Fortunately, there’s a silver lining (as always). Younger people are generally less anchored and more mobile than their elders, hence it’s much easier to opt out of this perverse system.

If you’re angry that your government is saddling you with the responsibility to pay off generations of bad decisions, then get out of dodge. Stop playing by the same rules of the game that used to work in the past– the old playbook of “go to school, get a good job, work your way up the ladder” simply doesn’t apply anymore.

Don’t stick around a society that has completely forsaken you and is waiting with knife and fork in hand to carve up your earnings once you finally enter the labor market… get out of dodge now, while it’s easy to do and you have little to risk.

Go explore the world and get an education based on experience, not expensive academic theory. Seek opportunities in thriving, frontier markets overseas… places like Kurdistan, Mongolia, Botswana, Kazakhstan. Soak up the local intelligence and become the grease guy on the ground who can make things happen.

Find people whose lifestyles you want to emulate and make yourself indispensable to them as an apprentice… this will be the only time in your life that you can afford to work for nothing in exchange for a valuable, first-hand education.

Most of all, stop playing by everyone else’s rules. Refuse to be enslaved by the idea that it’s your civic and moral responsibility to pay off the debts of your government’s failures. Cast off the yoke of their control… and summon the courage to live a life by your own design.

The path to prosperity in the Age of Turmoil depends on this ability to reject the old system, declare your economic independence, and carve your own path.

smslavin
12-17-2010, 05:52 PM
Education at any level is an interesting topic. There's a lot to be said about both sides of the fence and I've been on both.

I was an under-acheiver in HS. Did what needed to be done to get by. Went to college and thought I wanted to be an architect. That lasted a year and I dropped out then moved back to CA. I was 19. For the next year, I worked odd jobs: construction, life guard, personal trainer. Somehow, I never waited tables. At the end of that year, I realized that my options at life were slim to none.

I started picking up classes and worked my ass off. After a year, I reapplied to Ball State and moved back. I took a full load every semester, including summer, and worked 20-30 hours a week as an IT lackey at a local factory. I graduated in 3 years with BS degrees in computer science and biology. I landed a software engineering job back in CA and they moved me out.

After a few years of working, I tried an MBA program. That didn't last long at all. It was like moving backwards. I didn't learn anything new. The papers I had to write were returned because the instructors didn't accept internet based research. When that happened, I quit.

A few more years went by, moved up the ladder, changed companies, got to work at Microsoft. Then I woke up one morning, looked at my wife, and told here I wasn't going to work and that I wanted to try the photography as a full-time gig. That lasted 5 years until the economic downturn, and CA's self-employment taxes, forced my to shut down. I learned a lot. More than I ever would have sitting in a lecture, listening to someone drone on and on and then regurgitating that info on a test.

Now, I'm back doing software although I no longer spend my days being a code monkey. I get to play, work from home full-time, build prototypes, do competitive analysis and customer proof-of-concepts. Way more fun. The travel is a little tough on the family but man, I get to go to some killer locales.

At the opposite end, I look at my daughters. The oldest is in 2nd grade, the middle in kindergarten and the youngest is running around my feet. I watch their schooling and I'm completely appalled. CA is going downhill in so many ways and public education is at the top of the list. Another bullet in our list of many for moving away.

On my last work trip, I finished a great book. Last Child in the Woods (http://www.amazon.com/Last-Child-Woods-Children-Nature-Deficit/dp/156512605X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1292629537&sr=8-1). What an eye opening read. As soon as I started reading it, I immediately changed how I interacted with the girls. What I showed them. What I shared. What I taught them. It's making the largest impact on my oldest but the other two are not far behind. Moving to CO is going to be so good for them and us as a family.

There's so much more to education than traditional schooling. At certain times you do need that piece of paper, but I'm always reminded of the people I worked with at Microsoft. A large percentage of them never finished college. One guy that I worked with closely was hired at 19 because of a glaring security hole that he found and patched in IE.

I'm a huge believer that if you find something that speaks to you, drives you, then follow it. Everything seems to fall into the right places around that.

Air Randy
12-18-2010, 09:09 AM
December 16, 1970
Chicago, Illinois

If you’re reading this and under 30, let me be absolutely clear about one indubitable point: your government is going to sacrifice your future in order to pay for its own mistakes from the past.

Students are having their benefits cut far more drastically than any other segment of the population. And if you don't go to college you will be drafted.

Are pensioners seeing their costs triple? No. Are middle-aged workers seeing 50% tax hikes? No. Aside from the very small segment of high-income earners who will be forever robbed and pillaged of their wealth, the younger generation is next in line to receive the butt end of the crisis fallout.

Younger folks have comparatively lower incomes, benefits, job opportunities, and political clout than their seniors, yet they are increasingly expected to assume a disproportionately larger burden of the consequences of government folly.

It’s the younger generation that is called on to go fight in Vietnam; it’s the younger generation that is forced to assume the debts of their forefathers; and it’s the younger generation that gets relegated to the back rows of the political amphitheater and dismissed by the establishment.

Meanwhile, retirees aren’t seeing massive benefits cuts, and middle-aged wage earners income earners are being protected from above by politicians. In fact, let’s take a minute and look at the looming fate of the average young person today:
Your government-run university tuition is going to go through the roof, saddling you with unfathomable debt before you even enter the world as an adult;
Once you graduate, you’ll be the last in the hiring queue;
If you do get hired, you’ll be the lowest on the totem pole and the first to be let go when tough times befall your business;
Once the labor market eventually stabilizes, you’ll enter your prime earning years with some of the highest tax rates ever seen as your government continues to cannibalize your generation to pay off its largess and indebted entitlement programs that benefited older generations;
For your entire working life, you’ll pay into a pension system that is going to be bankrupt by the time you’re qualified to draw on it;
More than likely, you’ll never achieve the standard of living that your parents achieved;
Whatever wealth your parents accumulated won’t be left to you– the bulk of it will be confiscated by the state (unless your folks were smart enough to plant multiple flags) due to a host of death taxes.

Fortunately, there’s a silver lining (as always). Younger people are generally less anchored and more mobile than their elders, hence it’s much easier to opt out of this perverse system.

If you’re angry that your government is saddling you with the responsibility to pay off generations of bad decisions, then get out of dodge. Don't trust anyone over 30. Join the Peace Corp.

Go get a job and work your way through school. That gives you time to mature and figure out what you really want to do. Soak up the local intelligence and become the grease guy on the ground who can make things happen.

Remember it isn't how much education you have that matters, it's what you do with what you've got.

Note the date at the top of the page. Note some of the edits I made. I've heard every single line of this before when I was 19 and at various times as my kids were growing up. I did OK and I never even went to college. My kids are doing great too. I think a lot of people need to stop feeling sorry for themselves, get off their duffs and get on with their lives.

Air Randy
12-19-2010, 09:12 PM
Whoa Randy, that Simon Black dude big time plagiarized. Do you have a link or reference for the original?

Regardless, the monotonicity of human life and history is interesting in that the same themes continue to resonate.

For the record, I like reading his blog primarily because he writes from an editorial perspective that you can't wait for things to happen, the system will roll you if you do. I don't, however, know all that much about him and copying someone's work will hurt his credibility in my mind. Even if it's public domain, you have to at least cite when it's not your original work.

He didn't copy anyone else. I took his message that you sent out and modified it, my point was everything he said was applicable to my generation and my kids. Chances are you could say almost the same thing about every generation.

Haku
12-20-2010, 01:42 AM
Wow....was just browsing a bit and this topic caught my eye. I haven't read the whole thread, but I've done a lot of thinking on this subject.

To me, while a High School diploma is a must, a Bachelors degree is worthless by itself. Depending on your field, any degree is worthless unless you want to teach in your field.

I was never a good student, and that remains till today. I loved the hands on stuff like shop and similar, but never had the attention span or the ability to retain "book" learning as it traditionally taught. If I'm interested in a subject, I can learn a ton about it, but the "liberal education" mandatory cultural learning portion of school never did anything for me.

It tried college. First year, I spent more time skipping class to go work in a theater then anything. Thats what I was planning on studying (technical theater/concert/etc production). Funny thing is, I was learning more working then I was at school. I ended up dropping below the minimum GPA and had to take some forced time off (both by the school and by my parents). It occurred to me that getting a degree in this field is really silly, so I tried Psychology for a bit too but in the end only went back for one semester two years later.

At this point I decided that I would do education on my own terms and mostly through "on the job" self education. Every job I have had since then has been a learning experience and a step up. I've worked in some really cool places doing some really cool shows and events, and every successive job has been a step up in what I can learn. I am now a independent contractor and/or freelancer, and I'm doing quite well at it. This is the first year, but I've made more this year then I ever have before. I get to make my own hours and get to pick and choose who and where and what I work for. I'm sure I've been passed up for jobs because of the lack of a piece of paper saying I went to college, but it largely hasn't mattered. If I feel like I lack knowledge in a subject, I go to a 3-7 day seminar and learn about it. To me, that is much better then having to spend 4 years, spending a ton of money, learning stuff that someone else thinks I need to know.

So would I say that Higher Eductation is worthless? For me, yes....or I could go even further and say it would have negatively effected me. If I was an engineer, lawyer, doctor, or any number of professional positions, I can see their worth. However, I haven't met many people who only have a Bachelor's degree that work in the field they studied. The only people I see it being worth it for are people who plan to get a Masters or better from the beginning.

Additionally, this is speaking as a lower-middle class white male. For the lower class people and, as horrible as it is to say (but it doesn't make it less true, minorities, a college degree is one of the few ways to elevate oneself in society. Its a big deal for someone if they are the first person in their family to go to college. Their prospects without it are pretty bleak, and spending those 4 years will pay dividends to both themselves and future generations of their family. For me though, its just just another notch to cut on the bedpost and not even a very deep one.

I definitely challenge anyone who is going to college or who has kids going into college to really look into what they want to do and decide whether a degree is needed. People say the "college experience" is important, but you can honestly get 90% of that experience by just living near a college and hanging out with college students. Go audit some classes, and figure out whether its really important. In the end, the $30 or more that I was going to spend on college was not worth what I would have gotten out of it. Instead, I've been paid to learn just as much, and have a nest egg for hard times and making my life better in the future.

Also realize that its never too late to go back to school, so why rush into it. I've met too many 21 and 22 year old college grads who are just kids and don't know what to do with themselves and end up being a ski bum or raft guide or your urban equivalent for 2-5 years trying to figure out what to do with their lives. I recon that it is better to figure that out before hand so you can control your own education.

Good topic though...I approve.

SteveH
12-20-2010, 10:18 AM
Great topic. In real life, sometimes, the guy with the BS gets picked 'just because' and sometimes the HR department wants/demands it. The job may be in accounting or a military field, and it's sort-of expected or required. There is less wiggle-room in some fields.

I have watched my BIL struggle with many jobs he couldn't apply for because it said 'BS or BA required'. He would have been totally qualified except for this checkbox.

Yes, it's not terribly fair, but it's the way the world works (at this point). My hat is off to the successful people in life who have no degree, but worked extra hard and proved their worth in other ways.

DaveInDenver
12-22-2010, 09:54 AM
16 Shocking Facts About The Student Loan Debt Bubble And The Great College Education Scam (http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/16-shocking-facts-about-the-student-loan-debt-bubble-and-the-great-college-education-scam)
As you read this, there are over 18 million students enrolled at the nearly 5,000 colleges and universities currently in operation across the United States. Many of these institutions of higher learning are now charging $20,000, $30,000 or even $40,000 a year for tuition and fees. That does not even count living expenses. Today it is 400% more expensive to go to college in the United States than it was just 30 years ago. Most of these 18 million students have been told over and over that a "higher education" is the key to getting a good job and living the American Dream. They have been told not to worry about how much it costs and that there is plenty of financial aid (mostly made up of loans) available. Now our economy is facing the biggest student loan debt bubble in the history of the world, and when our new college graduates enter the "real world" they are finding out that the good jobs they were promised are very few and far between. As millions of Americans wake up and start realizing that the tens of thousands of dollars that they have poured into their college educations was mostly a waste, will the great college education scam finally be exposed?

For now, the system continues to push the notion that a college education is the key to a good future and that there is plenty of "financial aid" out there for everyone that wants to go to college.

Recently, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited students at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia and encouraged them to load up on college loans....

"Please apply for our financial aid. We want to give you money. There’s lots of money out there for you."

So where will Arne Duncan be when those students find themselves locked into decades of absolutely suffocating student loan debt repayments?

What young high school students are never told is that not even bankruptcy can get you out of student loan debt. It will stay with you forever until you finally pay it off.

Today each new crop of optimistic college graduates quickly discovers that there are simply not nearly enough jobs for all of them. Thousands upon thousands of them end up waiting tables or stocking the shelves at retail stores. Many of them end up deeply bitter as they find themselves barely able to survive and yet saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt that nobody ever warned them about.

Sadly, the quality of the education that most of these college students is receiving is a complete and total joke.

Take it from someone that has graduated from a couple of very highly respected institutions. I have an undergraduate degree, a law degree and another degree on top of that, so I know what I am talking about. Higher education in America has become so dumbed-down that the family dog could literally pass most college courses.

It is an absolute joke. The vast majority of college students in America spend two to four hours a day in the classroom and maybe an hour or two outside the classroom studying. The remainder of the time these "students" are out drinking beer, partying, chasing after sex partners, going to sporting events, playing video games, hanging out with friends, chatting on Facebook or getting into trouble. When they say that college is the most fun that most people will ever have in their lives they mean it. It is basically one huge party.

Of the little "education" that actually does go on, so much of it is so dedicated to pushing various social engineering agendas that it makes the whole process virtually worthless. Most parents would be absolutely shocked if they could actually see the kind of "indoctrination" that goes on inside U.S. college classrooms today.

A college education can be worth it for those in very highly technical or very highly scientific fields, or for those wanting to enter one of the very few fields that is still very financially lucrative, but for nearly everyone else it is just one big money-making scam.

Oh, but you parents please keep breaking your backs to put money into the college funds of your children so that they can be spoon-fed establishment propaganda all day and party like wild animals all night for four years.

It really is a huge scam. I was there. I saw it with my own eyes.

But if you will not believe me, perhaps you will believe some cold, hard statistics. The following are 16 shocking facts about the student loan debt bubble and the great college education scam....

Americans now owe more than $875 billion on student loans, which is more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.
Since 1982, the cost of medical care in the United States has gone up over 200%, which is horrific, but that is nothing compared to the cost of college tuition which has gone up by more than 400%.
The typical U.S. college student spends less than 30 hours a week on academics.
The unemployment rate for college graduates under the age of 25 is over 9 percent.
There are about two million recent college graduates that are currently unemployed.
Approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.
In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.
The Project on Student Debt estimates that 206,000 Americans graduated from college with more than $40,000 in student loan debt during 2008.
In the United States today, 24.5 percent of all retail salespersons have a college degree.
Total student loan debt in the United States is now increasing at a rate of approximately $2,853.88 per second.
There are 365,000 cashiers in the United States today that have college degrees.
Starting salaries for college graduates across the United States are down in 2010.
In 1992, there were 5.1 million "underemployed" college graduates in the United States. In 2008, there were 17 million "underemployed" college graduates in the United States.
In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.
Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor's degree within four years.
According to a recent survey by Twentysomething Inc., a staggering 85 percent of college seniors planned to move back home after graduation last May.

nakman
12-22-2010, 12:17 PM
That's interesting stuff for sure. It will be even more interesting seeing how the world changes in the next 10-12 years, at which time our kids will start thinking about college and we get to decide what they do. My favorite parts of the college experience was being poor, living with a bunch of dudes, and learning about real life- solving problems without mom & dad, owning up to the consequences of your own actions, making a name for yourself at a real job, etc. I think I grew more between 18 and 22 than any other 4-year timespan.. well at least since the 0-4 period, perhaps.

I was also able to get out of college without debt- tuition at CU was about $1200/semester and my employer helped with half of it, my folks kicked in the other half, and I bought all my books, supplies, everything else. I worked full time and went to school full time.. one of my best experiences ever. I'm also one of those rare folks who does exactly what their degree is in, I apply things learned in class almost daily, and still refer to some of my college textbooks. I wouldn't have my career if it weren't for my degree, and how I've applied myself.

pmccumber
12-22-2010, 06:46 PM
It's from that aspect that I think higher education is largely a waste. Kids are coming out with so little appreciation of the traditional subjects (rhetorical and logical thinking, appetite for knowledge), next to no practical marketable skills (be it math, science or otherwise) and huge debts to boot. It just seems like such a waste.

I can't agree with this. My kids are so far outstripping what I learned in an excellent Wisconsin school system. I have a 4th and a 7th grader and they are in accelerated courses here in Boulder County and it simply couldn't be better. I don't move because of these schools.

With respect to college, I've got two kids working for me that are in their late 20s and have been working for me for 4 years. One went to Rice and the other Utah. They are so incredibly prepared it is astounding. One has an EE and the other is CS. But both are right there with all the physics, optics, and math of state of the art R&D lasers. Just brilliant.

And I'm sorry, I've worked with 1/2 dozen MIT Phds in the last 6 years and two Cal Tech guys and that damn pedigree means something. MIT guys very rarely disappoint.

Does that mean that you can't be all that without a piece of paper? No. The highest paid employee out of 240 at my last semi company was a guy who never got a degree and played in a rock band until his 30s. He was worth every penny.

But that is the exception. The exception doesn't justify the statement that higher education is a waste of time.

Think of it this way: Are you going to encourage your kids to go to college? Hell yes. And why is that?

nakman
12-22-2010, 10:41 PM
.... My usual answer is that no kid should go straight to college after high school, that they should take a year off and work and travel and be a young adult. I know I certainly wished I'd have done that.

I agree with you there, Dave, in my case it was two years of abysmal college right oughta high school, followed by a 2.5 year semester off. It was in that time when all the maturity & growth happened, not when we were raising hell in the dorms...

But after a good dose of real life I was instantly motivated to knock out college. I went every summer, switched majors from psych to business, grades went from academic probation to dean's list. In fact only way I got into CU Boulder was to start at CU Denver.. my grades weren't good enough at CSU to get into Boulder. For some reason the system gives you a new start on GPA when you transfer, so a year and a half later I was looking pretty good and Boulder said welcome.

My only regret is not taking the year off sooner, wouldn't have wasted those first couple of college years, I had to take half those classes over again anyway. Not that big of deal though, I actually don't mind the path I took one bit. :cheers:

pmccumber
12-22-2010, 10:49 PM
Paul, your points I think go towards my argument. I said in the previous post that there is no way an 18 year old kid could be expected to step right into professional engineering. That's obviously ridiculous. I've never had the chance to work with people of your level, but I do think you guys are on a different plane and respect that. I struggle mightily with what I do, it doesn't come naturally to me, but I'm still proud of it and work hard at doing my best at it.

I'm also not speaking to primary and secondary school in this thread. I have opinions on these things but they are not central to my statements here, that taking on $50,000+ in student loans so that you have an excuse to party and get a B.A. is a waste in principle. The student who is headed to engineering, physics, really any math or science track is not the prototypical example I have in mind. Even that is something of a tough one, half a dozen of my friends who got geology or chemistry degrees for example but could not afford to get get advanced degrees ended up in fields like construction.

Yes, I do tell kids who might ask me that unless you are going to major in something with a demonstrated future that maybe going to college isn't worth it. But also know that we do not have kids and are not going to have them, so I'll let you decide if telling cousins, nephews, nieces and family friends counts. My usual answer is that no kid should go straight to college after high school, that they should take a year off and work and travel and be a young adult. I know I certainly wished I'd have done that.

See now that lines up 100% with my views. 100 freaking percent. The neighbor kids both went to private schools, one done and the other with a year left. The kid that is done, great kid by the way, is unemployed 6 mos after graduation. Just saw him selling popcorn at the movie theater and I'm NOT making this up. (True Grit - LOVED IT!). The girl is getting a degree in music and well, ..., good for her I guess.

My niece graduated last weekend from Naropa. From the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets. Again, I am NOT making this up. Now she is going to Front Range Community to get pre-reqs out of the way so she can go get some "Nutrition" degree.

What do they all have in common? Massive dollars spent on degrees that have gotten them nowhere. Now if they could develop some firmware, they'd be kickin' down $75k out of school.

I'm not here to say that music, poetry, yoga, or any of that stuff isn't great because it most certainly is. And if you're of the means to do it or fund it, more power to you.

Nobody who looks like me is getting checks written in their behalf by this author for such pursuits however.

Haku
12-23-2010, 10:23 AM
Read post #50, I think arts & lit are very important to personal balance and society. But that does not mean they are good careers. You and I are really arguing from the same basic viewpoint. I really don't want to see all universities turn into a fancy trade schools and job prep mills. I do like that some people decide that pursuit of more purely academic subjects is their calling. But for the majority of people I think the advice has been practically wrong. It has sure been a boon to higher education as a business, you know for all those humanities profs, though.

I think a better way to say this is "They are important, but don't lend themselves to the traditional career path". If you are good at what you do, and people like it, then it is a completely legitimate career. If it wasn't, there wouldn't be any rock stars, authors, orchestra's, or many other "cultural" people.

That said, do these people need to go to college? For some, yes, because it provides legitimacy and arguably will give them the skills and background to be successful. However, for most people, a masters degree is required minimum for the legitimacy factor. This is especially true for literature types, at least that is what my english/education major sister tells me (she has an EDS degree, which is between a Masters and Doctorate).

For many many others, its just the checkbox that you have been speaking of, and they don't even study what they want to do for a living. Take an artist for example, in the classic sense of the word. Maybe some of them benefit from 4 years of Art History classes and a few technique courses, but I get the feeling like they could have read up on their own, taken a few independent classes to learn technique and have been much better off financially and use the money they would have spent for college to explore what kind of art they really want to create and whether it is something they want to do as a lifelong career.

I do agree with you that most people who do not intend to go into a technical or professional field that requires a solid basis of knowledge on a subject to work in the field should really think hard about whether College is the right choice for them, especially right out of High School. Like I said before, you can get the "college experience" without actually attending college. Just move to a college town and live with college students, doing what they do for the other 138 hours (of 168) of the week that they do when they aren't studying. In the meantime, get a entry level job and actually work for a living. Try to find a job that they enjoy, and see if any career ideas pop up and whether going to school will really pay dividends.

For me, it didn't. I was lucky enough to have an affluent enough family that I would have had my way payed through college if it had been the right choice for me. In the end it wasn't, and the one semester I did was unfortunately wasted trying to find that out. I went to a college preparatory school, and it was definitely expected that I go directly into college afterwards. The only people at my school who didn't, went into the Military instead. I don't think anyone sat me down and said "you know, you don't have to go to college right away or at all". For my field (I'm a Lighting Designer/Technician for the entertainment and corporate theater world), four years of background theory, paying to work long hours doing shows, and coming out at basically the same level didn't sound like a good thing to me.

I worked many jobs, but the one that made this most evident to me was being a ticket checker and eventually ticket sales clerk at Vail Resorts for a summer. Every other person who worked there had a college degree of some sort, many of which were "recreational education" or some other bull**** degree. 20 to 24 years old, and not a one of them had a clue what they wanted to do with their lives. Not sure, but I know at least 1/4 of them stayed there for at least a couple years and climbed the ladder up into management. Would I have had any harder a time doing the same without a college degree had I chosen that path? Not a chance. Big difference is I was debt free and didn't have a worthless degree to show for it.

In the end, I was learning more working, and was getting paid to do the same stuff that the guys over in the tech theater department were paying to do, but on a smaller scale. So far, its worked out. I work, I learn, work a little more, learn a little more. If I can't learn it by doing, there are classes that can teach me that only take a couple days. Much better to spend $600 every other year going to a class that deals specifically what you want to learn then spending thousands learning "theory" and "filler" classes that most liberal arts colleges think enrichen a students life (but as far as I can tell are just a way to require them to be there for the full four years or more).

I love the career I am in, and a college degree isn't on any kind of life plan that I have right now. That might change when I'm 40-50 years old and I want to get out of the industry I am in (don't see it happening). If at that time I feel like I really need a degree, I'll look into it. That is the other thing I have figured out, its never too late to go back to school if you feel like you need to.

Lastly, I haven't found out since I'm a largely honest person, but as a 30 year old person, but this could be true of people younger too, I'm pretty sure I could say I have a full bachelors degree on a resume and get away with it. Only the bigger companies have the human resources capability to check that, and it would be especially true if you put a more obscure college. I could be wrong though, and can't say since I haven't put it to the test even though I have been tempted to try it.

Caribou Sandstorm
12-23-2010, 10:52 PM
Ben Bernanke (sp?) one was on 60 minutes a few Sundays ago and said we are heaeded to two societies and that is concerning the goverment. He said unemployment for those with only a highschool diploma was 9% nation wide and those with a 4 year degree is at 5%.

Did anyone else see that interview?

Dave retirement is over rated...Many financial experts do not advise retiring in your 50s, based on the average wage earner is usually in their prime earning years and you won't have enough..

Haku
12-23-2010, 11:03 PM
Ben Bernanke (sp?) one was on 60 minutes a few Sundays ago and said we are heaeded to two societies and that is concerning the goverment. He said unemployment for those with only a highschool diploma was 9% nation wide and those with a 4 year degree is at 5%.

Did anyone else see that interview?

Dave retirement is over rated...Many financial experts do not advise retiring in your 50s, based on the average wage earner is usually in their prime earning years and you won't have enough..

You can't look at just one statistic without looking at others too, namely that people who can afford to go to college tend to be better connected and have easier time finding work just by the fact that they are largely middle class.

I can see the "two societies" thing though, and it concerns me too. My dad would agree with you on the retirement thing. He's coming up on 70 and while he can fully afford to be retired, he got so restless that he is starting a new business. I wouldn't call him completely "un-retired", but this is the third time he has come out of retirement to some degree.

Jenny Cruiser
12-25-2010, 05:10 PM
Wow. That was an unexpectedly painful read. I had hoped he would attempt to answer his question, but in the end it looks like his "example is a crude one" and he's "not qualified to say."

Pausing to evaulate education from a financial perspective may make for a good rant, but it is never is good for a marriage.

"Is a college degree worthless?" - I think the answer to that question goes without saying.

Chris
12-25-2010, 08:17 PM
Dave retirement is over rated...Many financial experts do not advise retiring in your 50s, based on the average wage earner is usually in their prime earning years and you won't have enough..

Don't knock it until you try it... Many financial experts will be working past 65 because they can't afford to retire. ;)

Oh yeah, and then when they do retire they'll drop over dead within 6 months.

AxleIke
01-03-2011, 11:07 PM
Get a job in construction. You'll make good money and don't need to finish school to do it. If you hate school, don't waste your time. You can make plenty of money without a degree. You'll just have to work harder.

A college degree is mostly pointless in this day and age. Its the new high school diploma. Without a further, professional degree, you won't make much. Certainly not enough to warrant the expense. I have friends who make very good money, I'm not much older than you. They all have MBA's, or JD's. Don't waste your time on college unless you are willing to do more.

No offense to other club members, but unless you are young, you don't have a good read on the job market. The old rules don't apply. The only degree that makes good money right out of college is engineering, and that doesn't hold a lot of potential for salary increases, rather, it tends to plateau. A masters is generally the best choice, as you can actually make good money, and it doesn't take the time that a doctorate does.

Air Randy
01-04-2011, 10:35 AM
No offense to other club members, but unless you are young, you don't have a good read on the job market. The old rules don't apply.

Wow, I guess since I am not "young" my 35 years of experience managing a business (still do) with 700+ employees doing over $1B of business annually doesn't count? Or the fact that I am directly involved with setting the hiring standards for that organization?

Frankly, I think telling someone a college degree is worthless is bad advice, and I never went to college myself.

To be clear, getting a college degree by itself is no guarantee of instant success. You have to get a degree that is relevant to the career field you want to pursue and recognize the degree only helps you get your foot in the door starting at the bottom so you can gain experience. From that point on what really matters is how you perform. Are you reliable; do you work hard and are you willing to make the little extra sacrifices; can you work with others effectively and do you learn and grow your knowledge base? Those are just a few of the traits we look for in our people that get them promoted with commensurate pay increases.

What I can tell you we see a lot of with the younger generation coming into the work force is a sense of "entitlement". These people (whether or not they have a degree) seem to think they are "owed" a job that starts at 50K per year with full benefits and 4 weeks of paid vacation. They're the same ones who think starting work at 8AM means showing up at 8:20 and being the first ones out the door at 5PM.

Then they're disappointed when they don't get promotions and pay increases even though they show up with a new masters degree. Which they then blame on degrees being worthless..................

Romer
01-04-2011, 11:22 AM
Get a job in construction. You'll make good money and don't need to finish school to do it. If you hate school, don't waste your time. You can make plenty of money without a degree. You'll just have to work harder.

A college degree is mostly pointless in this day and age. Its the new high school diploma. Without a further, professional degree, you won't make much. Certainly not enough to warrant the expense. I have friends who make very good money, I'm not much older than you. They all have MBA's, or JD's. Don't waste your time on college unless you are willing to do more.

No offense to other club members, but unless you are young, you don't have a good read on the job market. The old rules don't apply. The only degree that makes good money right out of college is engineering, and that doesn't hold a lot of potential for salary increases, rather, it tends to plateau. A masters is generally the best choice, as you can actually make good money, and it doesn't take the time that a doctorate does.

Issac, I disagree based on my experiance and that of my daughters

Rachel graduated with a Business Degree and is making great money. I was in fact amazed at how much they started here at right out of college. Many of the large companies are hiring and you can't get on without a degree. A lot depends on how well you can sell your self and how your resume comes across. If the Resume doesn't catch me in the first half a page, I move on to the next.

Now if you get a degree in English, Psychology or Political science, the market is not very kind to you unless you get a higher degree

Back to the original question, craigslist, denverbusiness journal has postings

The big companies are hiring a few positions that don't require a degree. Look at the largest employers like Lockheed, Raytheon, IBM, HP, etc

It takes a lot of work to get a job and its all about impressions

Mendocino
01-04-2011, 03:18 PM
[snip]... with 700+ employees doing over $1B of business annually...

Wow! That's impressive revenue to headcount,that's ~$1.5m per employee; nice productivity.:)

Air Randy
01-04-2011, 03:30 PM
Wow! That's impressive revenue to headcount,that's ~$1.5m per employee; nice productivity.:)

The 700 HC are just my nationwide team of PM's, engineers, construction managers, etc involved with the deployment and operation of the systems. There are also distribution and corporate headcount that would go into the equation but it's still a pretty good business.

timmbuck2
01-04-2011, 03:35 PM
my 2 cents are it really depends on your field...I went to college but after 3.5 years I changed majors, then never finished...and I never finished because I got into the software support and development field, and could not afford to go back and finish because I was making good money. Even now when I interview for new projects a degree is the last thing they care about, in fact I don't even remember the last time I was asked...it is more about what current skills and technology do you have. Obviously each field is completely different. Also the college experience can be a huge part of the maturation process and many important life lessons and life skills can be learned in college regardless of the type of classes you take, or if you finish...

AxleIke
01-04-2011, 04:14 PM
Wow, I guess since I am not "young" my 35 years of experience managing a business (still do) with 700+ employees doing over $1B of business annually doesn't count? Or the fact that I am directly involved with setting the hiring standards for that organization?

Frankly, I think telling someone a college degree is worthless is bad advice, and I never went to college myself.

To be clear, getting a college degree by itself is no guarantee of instant success. You have to get a degree that is relevant to the career field you want to pursue and recognize the degree only helps you get your foot in the door starting at the bottom so you can gain experience. From that point on what really matters is how you perform. Are you reliable; do you work hard and are you willing to make the little extra sacrifices; can you work with others effectively and do you learn and grow your knowledge base? Those are just a few of the traits we look for in our people that get them promoted with commensurate pay increases.

What I can tell you we see a lot of with the younger generation coming into the work force is a sense of "entitlement". These people (whether or not they have a degree) seem to think they are "owed" a job that starts at 50K per year with full benefits and 4 weeks of paid vacation. They're the same ones who think starting work at 8AM means showing up at 8:20 and being the first ones out the door at 5PM.

Then they're disappointed when they don't get promotions and pay increases even though they show up with a new masters degree. Which they then blame on degrees being worthless..................

Again, I said no offense.

However, I think you proved my point. Coming out of college with an expectation of 50k a year is not a sense of entitlement. Rather, its the hiring department that thinks it is. Given the amount of debt that most students come out of college with, 50k a year is just good enough. I think more college grads should be demanding at least 50k. If an employer doesn't want to hire them, then that is their perogative. But college grads should wisen up and drive the market value of their education up.

I would expect that an employer would be looking for college graduates and starting them between 50 and 60. That is lower middle class range. This allows them to be mid-middle class by the time they wish to start a family.

Rather, you can get a GED, go into construction and do 30k a year, without the debt, and the wasted time.

To that end, I argue that, if indeed a 50K salary is considered an entitlement by companies, then a college education is, salary wise, worthless.

To be clear, my post was moved from another thread and my response was directed to an individual who stated that he did not like school, and wanted to get a job.

To romer's point, I guess a college degree can be helpful in a business environment, but one could argue that many people start businesses without degrees, and do very well. I'm not sure what business your daughter is in, but I'd say that she is the exception, rather than the rule, making big bucks with a degree.

Again, master's degrees and professional degrees pay off. My best friend is an attorney, and his wife has an MBA and is a CPA. Starting salaries for both were well into the 100's.

AxleIke
01-04-2011, 04:20 PM
Wow, I guess since I am not "young" my 35 years of experience managing a business (still do) with 700+ employees doing over $1B of business annually doesn't count? Or the fact that I am directly involved with setting the hiring standards for that organization?

Frankly, I think telling someone a college degree is worthless is bad advice, and I never went to college myself.

To be clear, getting a college degree by itself is no guarantee of instant success. You have to get a degree that is relevant to the career field you want to pursue and recognize the degree only helps you get your foot in the door starting at the bottom so you can gain experience. From that point on what really matters is how you perform. Are you reliable; do you work hard and are you willing to make the little extra sacrifices; can you work with others effectively and do you learn and grow your knowledge base? Those are just a few of the traits we look for in our people that get them promoted with commensurate pay increases.

What I can tell you we see a lot of with the younger generation coming into the work force is a sense of "entitlement". These people (whether or not they have a degree) seem to think they are "owed" a job that starts at 50K per year with full benefits and 4 weeks of paid vacation. They're the same ones who think starting work at 8AM means showing up at 8:20 and being the first ones out the door at 5PM.

Then they're disappointed when they don't get promotions and pay increases even though they show up with a new masters degree. Which they then blame on degrees being worthless..................

Also, I hope that you do not take offense at my comments. They are intended as merely discussion, and are not meant to be personal in any way. I apologize if any of it comes across offensive, or is taken wrong. I do not intend either offense or to incite any ill will.

Romer
01-04-2011, 05:06 PM
To romer's point, I guess a college degree can be helpful in a business environment, but one could argue that many people start businesses without degrees, and do very well. I'm not sure what business your daughter is in, but I'd say that she is the exception, rather than the rule, making big bucks with a degree.

Again, master's degrees and professional degrees pay off. My best friend is an attorney, and his wife has an MBA and is a CPA. Starting salaries for both were well into the 100's.

Still not in agreement
Every large company has a large business group, medium IT group, small contracts and marketing group, small communication group. Every large company. I am an executive at a very large company and see how many other areas are hiring, what type and how much.

Your viewpoint is based on your experience. Randy and I have worked at multiple large companies and have kids that have gone into the job market.

Rachel is in the business group of a large company, with full health Insurance, 401K, yearly 1.5% bonus with the potential to reach 6 figures in 10-15 years if she performs well and go far beyond that.

Rachel graduated debt free, mostly thanks to her parents. However, there are grants and scholarships out there and on average she could have gone through on her own with the $$ available without my help (not being a dependent) and had debt of $20K or so. Even if it was $50K, the math still works out for the LONG Term. Most parents help there kids to some point.

I put myself through college completely and had to pay off student loans in the 80's. Main reason I wanted to help my kids. The alternative you mention just doesn't make sense mathematically or from a long term career point of view

I admit this is based on my perspective, which I think is very broad based on what I have done.

You have to factor in more than just a salary, there are a lot of benefits

100% match of first 4% 401K is worth $2200 a year

1.5% bonus is worth $1500 a year

Having to pay $35/ month for full health insurance (health, Dental, Vision) with $30 deductible is worth several thousand dollars a year.

Paid for continuing education to get a higher degree

3 weeks of vacation to start, 4 weeks after 5 years is a big benefit

Some places still offer pensions

Not being in a cyclable business like construction provides increased job security

I can see someone who doesn't want to do Business, IT, engineering, etc and wants a career in construction shouldn't go to college. It helps to know what you want and figure out the best plan to get there. Going to school with a Political Science Degree is not a plan. Sarah was originally thinking of taking English. We went and talked to the college English department and I asked a post grad what kind of job she could get and she didn't know. Sarah then decided to get an engineering degree at CSU

My point is (no offense intended) your point is to generic on not going to college even though it was pointed at an individual. You got to have a plan.

Air Randy
01-04-2011, 05:47 PM
AI-Coming out of college with an expectation of 50k a year is not a sense of entitlement.
RR-It depends. If you have a law degree it may be a little low but a law firm will still expect you to start at the bottom, prove your ability, then work your way up from there. If you have a basic engineering degree and zero job experience 50K in my industry (along with all of the other benefits) is pretty good.

AI-I would expect that an employer would be looking for college graduates and starting them between 50 and 60, this allows them to be mid-middle class by the time they wish to start a family.
RR-You would have really liked working in Germany with that attitude. They were very big on social engieering of wage structures, but it also resulted in a 20% unemployment rate. Since when is it supposed to be a company's responsibility to ensure you are earning "middle class" wages by the time you want to start a family? You prove my point about the expectation of entitlement. The level a company starts you at is based on market value for your skill level and nothing else. How fast you progress and increase your income is largely up to you.

AI-Rather, you can get a GED, go into construction and do 30k a year, without the debt, and the wasted time.
RR-And, if working construction the rest of your life and making 30K a year plus occassional cost of living increases will make you happy, then I agree with you. That is actually how I started out, no degree and in construction. I got tired of inconsistent paychecks when the weather was bad, potential long periods of unemployment between projects, and never having much opportunity for career or salary growth. So I changed careers, lucked out and got hired without a degree and started with an annual salary of 10K per year. It's taken me 34 years to get to where I am today. To that point, I was incredibly lucky to get hired without a degree even at an entry level. That does not happen today. And, if I had a degree I suspect I could have advanced further and quicker than I did.

AI-Again, master's degrees and professional degrees pay off.
RR-Again, as a blanket statement, I disagree. I have folks with multiple Phd's who make less money than people with bachelor degrees, and other phd's who are fabulously compensated. So much of it depends upon the individual and how they use their knowledge and skills.

Finally, I am not offended by your original comments. At the same time I will always take you to task when you make stereotypical comments implying that anyone who isn't "young" isn't qualified to comment on the job market today. :D

AxleIke
01-04-2011, 07:21 PM
Fair Points All.

Romer, I don't see that experience with hardly any of my friends from college. Its not just my experience I am drawing from. There were the psychology degrees, many business degrees, a religious studies degree, physics, engineering, and a math major. Guys with business degrees are doing very poorly, either unemployed or working low salary, few benefit jobs. Guys with physics degrees are back in school=no work for lower than a masters in that field. Religious studies guy went on to seminary and, from what I've heard, is doing well as an assistant minister at a church. Psychology folks, mostly ladies, are doing well in that they are doing what they love, but are poorly compensated. Engineering guys are doing about as expected, around 50k, but have been laid off and rehired 3x already (one only twice). Math major became a teacher.

I agree that there are more benefits than just salary, but lets estimate 10k ish in benefits. Only my benefits are better than Rachels, and I work for the state. Everyone else I know is not getting near that, and are at decent sized company's. So bump everyone's salary by 10K, and yes, they are doing what I would consider the minimum expected salary for a college grad. Again, except me. I'm still behind. My choice, and my bad. I am rectifying the situation by pursuing further education, as, in the sciences, that opens a lot more doors.

I'm guessing Rachel is a fair cut smarter and is much more driven than my friends, if her father is any indication (I don't know her at all). Meaning, she is above average, and therefore is doing above average in her professional life.

Current tuition rates at a major university would leave a 50k debt very easily for in state students. I don't know rachel's situation, but until you are 23, you MUST submit parental tax information for financial aid. Dependant status has no bearing on financial aid. My fiance's father makes about 60k a year. She was not able to get grant assistance, and had to take out all loans. She did qualify for federal loans, which I did not, but still, getting grants is reserved for only the very poor.

Now, Randy, you are correct, it is by no means any company's responsibility to make sure you are doing well. Absolutely not. That wasn't my point. It was simply that, if you wish to be at that financial position when you want to start a family, a college degree won't get you there. When my parents were college grads, it would have.

You will need a professional degree, and even there, family building will have to wait to early to mid 30's. Given what I've read about how to survive in a marriage, not having to worry about money gives you a MAJOR advantage over those who do.

Financially, if you can make the same and not start out 50k in debt, then again, my point about the uselessness of college is valid. True, I am glad I went to college, and have learned that I will get paid whatever I'm told I'll get paid because college grads are a dime a dozen. However, I don't have the same work conditions as someone who is working construction, and I have a steady pay check.

That is worth it to me.

Again, I remind all that my original post was posted in a different thread. Tim moved it here without the original thread's context. I was responding to a guy who said that he was looking for a job, did not like school, and wanted to ski. I was responding to folks who were advocating that he go back to school rather than do what he wanted. I was offering a contrary opinion.

Now, as to my stereotypical comment. Perhaps you and Romer know more than most. However, I know how my parents generation view college degree's, and it is not applicable for today's youth. Like I said, company's have thousands of college grads to choose from. However, even some of them have told me that college is not enough. Graduate/Professional school is a must.

Some, like Rachel, stand out, and are thus rewarded. But, most of us do not fall into that category. The majority of college grads have really nothing to offer that a company can't find in 100 other applicants. This drives the market value of those jobs down.

Now, true, there are many other advantages of having a desk job versus standing out in the rain digging ditches.

Financially though, if someone doesn't like school, the advantages of college degrees aren't the same as they used to be.

Lastly, it surprises me that you see graduates being lazy, showing up late and leaving early. Both my, and my friends', experiences have been that those people are gone very shortly. Working extra is expected. 40 hours a week will barely keep you employed. If you wish to see a raise, long hours, and high productivity is a must. Raises come regularly, but are generally a percent or so above cost of living. Only one of my friends gets a yearly bonus, and it isn't 1.5%.

Anyway, I will apologize for my generic comment about older members. I agree, it wasn't fair, as you two have clearly a good understanding of what's what. My apologies, and I hope for your forgiveness for an ill conceived comment.

Romer
01-04-2011, 09:34 PM
No problem Isaac

I would suggest your friends with the Business, math and Physics degrees did not market themselves well. I know Lockheed and Raytheon hire those. They use Physics and math degrees for Systems Engineers.

If you just e-mail a Resume in and don't find a way to follow-up, you will likely never get a call

BTW- living at home, you can go to CSU, CU or CU denver tuition/books only for about $8K a year. Now you factor in the $2400 a year colorado stipend and your less than $25K for 4 year education. Yes you either need to live with family or have a job and pay rent somewhere. Metro is even less

http://sfs.colostate.edu/costs/index.aspx

with Sarah's scholorships its $14K a year or $56K, lets say $60K. I was able to work full time while getting an engineering degree as a chef and Bartender which paid for my rent and food while I lived in a different city (Phoenix) from my family. So I was able to just pay tuition and did put most of that on student loans.

Just saying if someone really wants to bust their ass, they can get through college with less $$ owing less $$.

See, after High school, I decided college wasnt for me and I went in the Restaraunt business. After 18 months of that I saw that my life would be about the same in 10, 20 years or maybe I would get my own place, stress over it and watch it go under and have nothing. I was hiring and firing people 10 and 20 years older then me. I decided I wanted a better long term life. Decided I wanted to build Space Ships and Martin Marietta. Moved to Phoenix to go to college, get the degree I needed and came back and persistantly approached Martin Marietta and it took me 6 months to get an interview after I graduated. The guy said he was impressed by my determination. My Dad thought I would never get a job. 21 years later, I had designed, built and launched multiple spacecraft and went for a change with another company. I started with the plan of what I wanted to do and figured out how to make it happen and never gave up.

I hope the first plan of no college and then the change in plans for college helps define why I have the perspective I do. I graduated with a GPA of 2.8 and was below the line of their requirements. I convinced the manager there that my working full time and putting myself through school was an equalizer. You can't do that without being persistant and making contact

ScaldedDog
01-05-2011, 12:40 AM
What Ken says.

My experience was somewhat different from his, but the principles were exactly the same. I got a degree in education (math and PE, the latter of which I loved, mostly because of the physiology) and taught math in Jeffco for nearly ten years before I tired of union run government work. Went back to school at 30, and was a heck of a lot better student the second time around. With no experience in my chosen field (MIS at the time, now called IT), I knew that all I had to sell was an ability to communicate and good grades. It worked, and I've been most blessed.

There are no guarantees in life, but if you're ambitious enough to get a degree in something hard, you're likely to be successful. For those folks, higher education is definitely not worthless.

As an aside, one of the worst things to happen to business in this country is the proliferation of folks with MBA's. It seems that most of them only stayed long enough to hear that, "You can't manage what you don't measure". As a result, micro management has been raised to a fine art, and leadership is rare.

Mark

Hulk
01-05-2011, 01:58 AM
I've heard that 50% of college graduates don't end up working in a career that matches their degree. I don't know the validity of this stat, but I bet it's close to the truth. In these cases, does a degree help them? The answer is maybe:

a) In today's automated HR environment, resumes are often run through software looking for key word matches. If you have no degree, you may be screened out before a human even looks at a single resume.

b) A degree shows that you can stick with something long enough to finish it, and perform at some minimum level. Even if your degree is in English and you are applying for something unrelated, that does mean something.

More than anything, I have learned that success comes from "hustle." If you want a good job, get off your butt and start looking for it. My second job after college resulted because of me calling a single hiring manager about every 2 weeks for six months until he had an opening. When he hired me, one of his other employees asked, "Oh no -- you're not hiring that guy who has been calling here constantly?" Yep: he did. A few years later I was managing the department, including the same person who thought I was a pest. Also: that job was unrelated to my college degree.

You don't have to be the smartest, the best looking, the richest, or the best connected to succeed. Simply work the hardest.

You can learn everything you need to know on the job.

timmbuck2
01-05-2011, 07:21 AM
...Spending 4 or 5 years of MTV, keg stands, skipped classes and football games is big fun (which I did and is in part why I had to go back to engineering school later!), but is ridiculous to say it's prepping you for the real world.

not everyone is 'lucky' enough to have this type of college experience. I worked full time my whole college career, and even without getting the degree, the life skills I learned in school have helped immensely in my career life. Learning to set goals and expectations and working towards my degree definitely prepped me for the real world.

Romer
01-05-2011, 08:45 AM
Good points dave./ Exactly why I said you should have a plan rather than just going to college. I had fun in college, I also went straight through summers so I could graduate in 3 years. My plan was the degree, not the college experiance. Although, I did have some fun.

I also agree with matt, I lots of people without engineering degrees who are systems engineers


I know I couldnt have provided for my family the way I have and put both kids through school without a degree. My goal was to provide a better life for my kids then I had. I succeeded there. I also know I will have a very comfortable retirement even if Social Security fails. And that my wife will be taken care of as she will obviously out live me :)

Going to college gave me that. You can get that without college as well, but you have to have a plan. The plan determines if college is the right path. You want to work in Aerospace, IT or technology, you need a degree. You want to start your own business with a great idea, a degree is not a big deal as long as you get the education you need to be successful.

If your unhappy where you are, then go look elsewhere.

Hulk
01-05-2011, 10:32 AM
But I suspect that had I not gone to school at 18 and worked for a couple of years I would have matured faster and gone to engineering school a few years earlier and I do think that would have made a difference in my life.

I agree with this 100%. I think it would have been better for me to have sold stereos for a year, then gone to college.

"When It Comes To Stereo, All You Really Need to Know is CMC."

I think the college experience has become just prolonging adolescence...

I don't think it's much different now than it was when I went to college in the 80s, based on the recent graduates I talk with. Some partied like crazy, others were more serious about their studies. I think it's just a natural breakdown of personalities.

I managed to do some of both during my college years.

AxleIke
01-05-2011, 11:04 AM
Well, you've done it. You have officially convinced me that I was wrong. It happens fairly frequently. I'll blame that on my youth :D

The point that convinced me was that, even though you might make the same amount of money, the pay is at least consistent, and you sit in a building rather than out breaking your back.

That in itself is enough of a benefit to justify a 4 year degree.

As for college grads, no, school isn't a party for all. You hear about the worst offenders in the news and glorified in movies and tv, but most kids are pretty serious.

Everyone goes to parties. Generally its on a friday night, and you have been working your butt off all week. Saturday afternoon and sunday are time for running a few errands and getting back to the books.

Yes, there are some who do nothing but party. They still usually get out with a degree, and, if what is said here is true, then they have gained something.

Dave, I wonder if your situation is somewhat unique to engineering. When I was getting into college, I spoke with a number of different working folk who'd come to the U for a panel discussion on careers. The engineer's said they got paid pretty well right out of school, but that they were constantly moving between companies as projects came and went, and the pay plateaued.

Anyway, good discussion here, and I appreciate the time everyone has taken to fully explain their points. It worked.

wesintl
01-05-2011, 11:23 AM
As for college grads, no, school isn't a party for all. You hear about the worst offenders in the news and glorified in movies and tv, but most kids are pretty serious.

Everyone goes to parties. Generally its on a friday night, and you have been working your butt off all week. Saturday afternoon and sunday are time for running a few errands and getting back to the books.


we did not go to the same schools :eek:That sound more like when I got a real job after going to school

this is CU boulder? I thought they were a party school at one time :confused:

AxleIke
01-05-2011, 11:47 AM
Dunno Wes. That's what I saw. People doing fine in classes and going to parties on the weekends. There were some that partied all week, but it wasn't common. Then again, 25k students, I only saw a small fraction. Maybe I was stuck on the nerd side of town.

Air Randy
01-05-2011, 12:15 PM
There are some folks that come out of high school that know exactly (or thing they know) what they want to do, and have the maturity and discipline to go straight in to college and succeed. Getting a degree by itself is not the definition of "succeed" you also have to actually learn the material AND be able to apply that knowledge in the real world.

As you describe, there are lots of people that party their way through college and manage to get a degree, but a lot of them didn't really learn the material nor can they apply the knowledge effectively. For those people, if they interview well, they may get hired but they will get weeded out quickly or stay stuck at the bottom of the organization.

For some people, it makes a lot of sense to take a break from high school before they make a final decision about college. It gives them a chance to mature more and figure out what they really want to do. Some may decide that additional education is not required for what they want to do, others may decide to go to a votech type school to become machinists or professionals in other well paying trades.

To Scalded Dogs point I agree that in business today some techniques, like "measure to manage" have been taken to extremes and can become counter productive. However, I have to grudgingly admit that when used appropriately these processes do allow you to slice and dice issues to correctly analyze and determine root cause. That way you can ensure you're fixing what is really broken.

DaveInDenver
01-07-2011, 04:03 PM
The Disadvantages of an Elite Education (http://www.theamericanscholar.org/the-disadvantages-of-an-elite-education/)

It didn’t dawn on me that there might be a few holes in my education until I was about 35. I’d just bought a house, the pipes needed fixing, and the plumber was standing in my kitchen. There he was, a short, beefy guy with a goatee and a Red Sox cap and a thick Boston accent, and I suddenly learned that I didn’t have the slightest idea what to say to someone like him. So alien was his experience to me, so unguessable his values, so mysterious his very language, that I couldn’t succeed in engaging him in a few minutes of small talk before he got down to work. Fourteen years of higher education and a handful of Ivy League degrees, and there I was, stiff and stupid, struck dumb by my own dumbness. “Ivy retardation,” a friend of mine calls this. I could carry on conversations with people from other countries, in other languages, but I couldn’t talk to the man who was standing in my own house.

It’s not surprising that it took me so long to discover the extent of my miseducation, because the last thing an elite education will teach you is its own inadequacy. As two dozen years at Yale and Columbia have shown me, elite colleges relentlessly encourage their students to flatter themselves for being there, and for what being there can do for them. The advantages of an elite education are indeed undeniable. You learn to think, at least in certain ways, and you make the contacts needed to launch yourself into a life rich in all of society’s most cherished rewards. To consider that while some opportunities are being created, others are being cancelled and that while some abilities are being developed, others are being crippled is, within this context, not only outrageous, but inconceivable.

I’m not talking about curricula or the culture wars, the closing or opening of the American mind, political correctness, canon formation, or what have you. I’m talking about the whole system in which these skirmishes play out. Not just the Ivy League and its peer institutions, but also the mechanisms that get you there in the first place: the private and affluent public “feeder” schools, the ever-growing parastructure of tutors and test-prep courses and enrichment programs, the whole admissions frenzy and everything that leads up to and away from it. The message, as always, is the medium. Before, after, and around the elite college classroom, a constellation of values is ceaselessly inculcated. As globalization sharpens economic insecurity, we are increasingly committing ourselves—as students, as parents, as a society—to a vast apparatus of educational advantage. With so many resources devoted to the business of elite academics and so many people scrambling for the limited space at the top of the ladder, it is worth asking what exactly it is you get in the end—what it is we all get, because the elite students of today, as their institutions never tire of reminding them, are the leaders of tomorrow.

ScaldedDog
01-07-2011, 06:56 PM
^ That guy can write. And he's right on.

BTW, I saw today that the unemployment rate for people with college degrees is 4.6%. Now, it was on MSNBC, so who knows whether the number is accurate, or not. If true, though, it's the final answer to the question posed in this thread.

Mark

DaveInDenver
04-19-2011, 11:06 AM
India, and the Economic Folly of a College Degree (http://blogs.forbes.com/johntamny/2011/04/16/india-and-the-economic-folly-of-a-college-degree/)

Though politicians, educators and their media enablers would have us believe that the act of earning a college diploma makes short people tall, turns bad writers into Somerset Maugham, and the mathematically challenged into highly-paid engineers, reality is happily intruding. What’s going on in India is a good example.

As Geeta Anand reported in the Wall Street Journal, though call-center company 24/7 Customer Pvt. Ltd is eagerly searching for “recruits who can answer questions by phone and e-mail”, it’s found that “so few of the high school and college graduates who come through the door can communicate effectively in English, and so many lack a grasp of educational basics such as reading comprehension, that the company can hire just three out of every 100 applicants.” This is our future.

Indeed, with politicians aggressively promoting advanced education with the taxpayers’ money, the inevitable result will be universities handing out more and more worthless diplomas to marginal attendees who will enter college with no skills, and who will similarly depart without the skills prized by employers. Worse for the victims of this supposed compassion, many will emerge with a great deal of debt as their reward for having wasted four years.

ianacole
04-19-2011, 12:54 PM
I find myself wondering not whether my degrees were worth it, but rather if others received the same value I did. I have come to feel that many colleges are nothing more than degree factories, looking more to the income of degree seekers rather than the imperative of truly educating those attending. I was appalled at the number of individuals progressing through their classwork and earning degrees, both Bachelor's and Master's, that couldn't construct a coherent thought, sentence or paper. Personally, I feel this is the result of today's educational perspective supporting the belief that no child should be left behind, they're all winners in their own right, and that no one fails.

Ultimately, like many things in life, with education you get out of it what you put into it. The results are that you will either have a degree which will further your career goals, or something pretty to hang on the wall while you flounder for success.