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creekland

For those debating if college is worth it

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For those debating if college is worth it for an academically inclined youngster, a friend sent me this report from earlier this month:

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41905394/

 

Friday's jobs report pegged the jobless rate for college graduates at 5.0 percent - compared to 17.9 percent for job seekers without a high school degree. For high school grads, the jobless rate stood at 11.9 percent; for those with some college or a two-year degree, the rate was 8.4 percent.

 

 

Prospects for unskilled workers in most fields will continue to diminish as employers work relentlessly to increase productivity by investing in technology. On the other hand, in some specialized fields like engineering, employers can't find enough qualified candidates to fill job openings.

 

 

This is a partial quote. Regulars here will know I've always been pro-college except for those not "designed" for it. I still am.

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In Michigan, these statistics are absolutely holding true. Those with a college degree have much, much lower unemployment rates than those without. The worst rate is for those without a high school diploma or only a GED. GED candidates are really having a tough time and for a lot of high school drop outs hoping to get a job, going for their GED while an okay first step, isn't helping them. The job market is very competitive and employers want more.

 

As my dad puts it, high school isn't what it used to be. The kids just aren't thinking on the same level, logically, that he had to when he was a high school grad and so though some of the job openings in his business do not require a college degree from a perspective of needing specified knowledge, he's beginning to look at requiring this of all new job hires because of wanting the more mature thinker. That's pretty sad and in his business, trade school liceses are actually more necessary. But, he's finding that most of the high school grads in our area don't have what it takes to get those licenses because the classes and exams are TOUGH, but he can get a college grad to do it and do it well. He did tell me he would consider homeschool graduates without degrees (he's very supportive of our decision to homeschool through high school) for these positions so long as they could demonstrate that their parents taught them more thoroughly and the candidate could demonstrate logical thinking skills. He's put together a logic test for all new hires. OUCH! I've seen it and I agree with it, but I think that about 90% of the local high school grads would not be capable of passing it.

 

My dad graduated from high school in 1961. He "majored" in math, physics, and practical drafting back in a time when you could actually sit down with teachers and chart a course of study based on your interests and natural talents and those teachers knew enough about every field of study to know what you needed to accomplish. Dad went directly out of high school into the air force as a missile engineer. That is unheard of today! It's that ability to learn without being spoon fed that he wishes his high school graduate job applicants possessed.

 

Though I went to high school with a lot of people who have been gainfully employed and quite successful without college degrees, I truly believe that most of our children are going to find resistance in the work place without the degree next to their name even if that degree isn't pertinent to the job at hand. The sad thing is the sheer cost of getting that degree with compensation not likely to keep pace. It's really, really hard to imagine how much student loan debt many kids will have and still only be eligible for low wages.

 

Faith

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My question really focuses on those of us who want to start and operate our own business...not get a job. My dh is educated....self educated and possibly the smartest person I have ever met, and I know many, many professionals with degrees up the patootie. He is an extremely skilled plumber/ hvac technician...not a beer-money plumber...but a professional. My ds is very interested in this trade...actually both of my sons are.

 

They have both always been home schooled. The older has 2 years of CC and the younger is apprenticing now during high school. He is smart. Happy as a clam working with his hands and his brain. He is intuitive. He is not interested in a medical field....even with my begging. :D

 

Now, do I encourage these boys to go into debt to pay for college or do I encourage them to work in a field they love, become the best they can be at it..and end up making some really good money? I have no problem with them taking classes that will improve their business skills, their trade skills, or to enrich their passions.

 

How do we guide these types of kids...who are

Never going to sit for the bar exam or g cats?

 

Faithe

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Though I went to high school with a lot of people who have been gainfully employed and quite successful without college degrees, I truly believe that most of our children are going to find resistance in the work place without the degree next to their name even if that degree isn't pertinent to the job at hand. The sad thing is the sheer cost of getting that degree with compensation not likely to keep pace. It's really, really hard to imagine how much student loan debt many kids will have and still only be eligible for low wages.

 

Faith

:iagree: I can't put enough I agrees with this.

 

 

My question really focuses on those of us who want to start and operate our own business...not get a job. My dh is educated....self educated and possibly the smartest person I have ever met, and I know many, many professionals with degrees up the patootie. He is an extremely skilled plumber/ hvac technician...not a beer-money plumber...but a professional. My ds is very interested in this trade...actually both of my sons are.

 

They have both always been home schooled. The older has 2 years of CC and the younger is apprenticing now during high school. He is smart. Happy as a clam working with his hands and his brain. He is intuitive. He is not interested in a medical field....even with my begging. :D

 

Now, do I encourage these boys to go into debt to pay for college or do I encourage them to work in a field they love, become the best they can be at it..and end up making some really good money? I have no problem with them taking classes that will improve their business skills, their trade skills, or to enrich their passions.

 

How do we guide these types of kids...who are

Never going to sit for the bar exam or g cats?

 

Faithe

 

I will use my family as an example. Dh barely made it out of high school. He is a gifted carpenter. He started off in construction at 18 and has been self-employed most of his life, he is now 50. At 18 he was not the wisest and got sucked into the easy money of construction. At 50 the body moves in different way. He's a high energy man, but finally started slowing down a few years ago.

 

When we got married 18 years ago he almost went back to school to pursue a computer degree. We were both working and night school was his only option. But because of his work schedule he would have never stayed awake in class, much less finished a degree.

 

He loves construction, he loves crafting old into new. It's his passion. But because he chose NOT to pursue a degree in his youth we're sort of stuck. He attended some college in his 20s but not enough. What made sense at 20, can physically hurt at 50. Changing careers at this age doesn't make much sense. Who wants to hire a 50+ year old with an AA degree?

 

Retirement is not in our near future because of lean years eating away at everything. This has been our hardest year and he's been not working full time completely in the last year. When he does work, it's harder than it used to be, physically. If he does hard labor all week he sleeps most of the weekend and he is in perfect health. He's just getting older and tired.

 

He has a lot of regret for NOT pursuing a degree. I pray my son does not want to go into carpentry. We want him to learn the trade, but as a family tradition, not a career.

 

If my ds wanted to pursue construction we'd have him get a bachelor's in either business or some construction related field. That way self-employment is NOT the only avenue available. He would have a marketable degree. My dh has looked into many jobs at corporations that he is qualified to do, the first requirement is at least a bachelor's degree.

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Now, do I encourage these boys to go into debt to pay for college or do I encourage them to work in a field they love, become the best they can be at it..and end up making some really good money? I have no problem with them taking classes that will improve their business skills, their trade skills, or to enrich their passions.

 

How do we guide these types of kids...who are

Never going to sit for the bar exam or g cats?

 

Faithe

 

I think, if it were me, I'd do a combo of both. I'd definitely let them head for their trade, especially since it's an in-demand trade, but I'd also encourage them to take some classes on the side that would relate to the trade or to business. Personally, I think that would give them the best shot for the uncertain future.

 

If my ds wanted to pursue construction we'd have him get a bachelor's in either business or some construction related field. That way self-employment is NOT the only avenue available. He would have a marketable degree. My dh has looked into many jobs at corporations that he is qualified to do, the first requirement is at least a bachelor's degree.

 

This is exactly what I'm thinking... I would go this route with almost any student wanting a trade right now if it were my kid. I wouldn't go into a ton of debt. Cc would be a great start for this path.

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I always tell my dc (esp. money-oriented dd) that if you follow your passion and strive for excellence there will always be a job/career.

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:iagree: I can't put enough I agrees with this.

 

 

 

 

I will use my family as an example. Dh barely made it out of high school. He is a gifted carpenter. He started off in construction at 18 and has been self-employed most of his life, he is now 50. At 18 he was not the wisest and got sucked into the easy money of construction. At 50 the body moves in different way. He's a high energy man, but finally started slowing down a few years ago.

 

When we got married 18 years ago he almost went back to school to pursue a computer degree. We were both working and night school was his only option. But because of his work schedule he would have never stayed awake in class, much less finished a degree.

 

He loves construction, he loves crafting old into new. It's his passion. But because he chose NOT to pursue a degree in his youth we're sort of stuck. He attended some college in his 20s but not enough. What made sense at 20, can physically hurt at 50. Changing careers at this age doesn't make much sense. Who wants to hire a 50+ year old with an AA degree?

 

Retirement is not in our near future because of lean years eating away at everything. This has been our hardest year and he's been not working full time completely in the last year. When he does work, it's harder than it used to be, physically. If he does hard labor all week he sleeps most of the weekend and he is in perfect health. He's just getting older and tired.

 

He has a lot of regret for NOT pursuing a degree. I pray my son does not want to go into carpentry. We want him to learn the trade, but as a family tradition, not a career.

 

If my ds wanted to pursue construction we'd have him get a bachelor's in either business or some construction related field. That way self-employment is NOT the only avenue available. He would have a marketable degree. My dh has looked into many jobs at corporations that he is qualified to do, the first requirement is at least a bachelor's degree.

 

But, what if your dh's parents had the wisdom to guide him to save money, buy real estate, flip houses, ...etc. What if had really learned to invest and make his money work for him with either buildings or renovated houses from the start?

 

You see, my dh is very much in the same boat as your dh...extremely high energy and intelligent...but almost 50 and no degree. BUT, I think our boys would be in a totally different place, because our parents did not help us, teach us, or guide us toward financial independence...we had to learn that through trial, error and hard knocks.

 

Faithe

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But, what if your dh's parents had the wisdom to guide him to save money, buy real estate, flip houses, ...etc. What if had really learned to invest and make his money work for him with either buildings or renovated houses from the start?

 

You see, my dh is very much in the same boat as your dh...extremely high energy and intelligent...but almost 50 and no degree. BUT, I think our boys would be in a totally different place, because our parents did not help us, teach us, or guide us toward financial independence...we had to learn that through trial, error and hard knocks.

 

Faithe

 

His father died when he was 9, his mother was in school and working full time the entire time he was growing up.

 

He has done flips, he has done renos, we have the degree from the school of hard knocks. Part of the issue is that self-employment hasn't always been the best answer for us. There have been many times he wanted to work commercial construction and the position he desired and were qualified for required degrees. He was unable to change directions when he wanted. During those lean years he would have been served well working for someone else. Anything he could get was just working for another self-employed person who couldn't pay him more than he was making on his own.

 

We weighed the pros and cons of owning more real estate, that wasn't an added responsibility we wanted. The fact is by not having a degree he severely limited his options. He really feels pigeon-holed in his career. It's not all gloomy, but I would never counsel my son NOT to get a degree because he wanted to own his own business. If anything, get the degree, make sure this is your CHOICE, then return to construction with options.

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<sigh> College doesn't necessarily = skilled, and not attending college does not automatically = unskilled. I think anyone is perfectly capable of learning anything they have an interest or need to learn without needing to be accountable to someone else and paying for someone else's oversight. Can you read? Then you can teach yourself.

 

Further, unemployment rates apply to those who have chosen to be employed by others, not to those who have chosen to find ways to earn a living that do not depend on being hired or considered acceptable by other people.

 

Not everyone grows up wanting to be an employee. Not everyone needs to be led by the hand and spoonfed at outrageous cost to learn skills one thinks one may need to be successful. Who taught you how to teach your own kids? You read, and you learned because you were motivated to do so. You are an example of a person not needing to attend college to develop competence in a chosen area. <sigh>

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Then there is us...2 bach degrees and 1 masters between the 2 of us, $$$Student loans to pay off, and 1 min wage job on which to try and do that.:glare: (dh is still looking for a "real" job...working where he can in the meatime)

 

 

 

My personal experience says that one canNOT rely on the degree to ensure a good income. The kid working up his own landscaping/construction/plumbing business, apprenticing with his father, is in a *sweet* position...from my POV. The kid who learns how to budget, plan, spend, save as a teen is even better off. It might be better for many people to work for a while before college.

 

Yes, get the degree, the education, and set yourself up for the freedom to choose career options; but that piece of paper doesn't mean the same thing it did when my mom was my age. *I* was pushed to go to college and graduate with *something*...I don't regret the degree, but I do regret the debt and the fact that I never asked myself how I would use the degree to make $$$ as a SAHM (which I wanted to be long before even thinking of marriage and settling down). If you had of asked me at age 19 my life's goals, you would have heard a fragmented mess...completely non-compatible goals! I am paying for that now.

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I wish the statistics on unemployment gave separate statistics for younger people -- like 25 and under.

 

What are employment statistics for RECENT college grads?

What are employment statistics for hs diploma-only 20-25yo's?

What are employment statistics for hs dropouts also ages 20-25?

 

Are recent college grads actually faring better than young people without degrees, or is the employment bump for college grads mostly a feature of older people who already had jobs not getting laid off?

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I wish the statistics on unemployment gave separate statistics for younger people -- like 25 and under.

 

What are employment statistics for RECENT college grads?

What are employment statistics for hs diploma-only 20-25yo's?

What are employment statistics for hs dropouts also ages 20-25?

 

Are recent college grads actually faring better than young people without degrees, or is the employment bump for college grads mostly a feature of older people who already had jobs not getting laid off?

 

Such important questions. Thanks for bringing them up.

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Has anybody watched Decling by Degrees? I thought it was really interesting in discussing what is/isn't really learned in higher education and what has come to be expected and turned out of college institutions.

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I always tell my dc (esp. money-oriented dd) that if you follow your passion and strive for excellence there will always be a job/career.

 

I know plenty of ex high school kids (I've been there for 12 years now) who would like to think this is true, but have met reality. In some areas, jobs that pay enough to survive are rare and VERY competitive to get. Sure the top of the top football players get into the NFL and some that don't quite get there can find lower level coaching jobs, but most end up working elsewhere even if that was their passion - even if they were the top in their local area.

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Further, unemployment rates apply to those who have chosen to be employed by others, not to those who have chosen to find ways to earn a living that do not depend on being hired or considered acceptable by other people.

 

 

Unemployment rates are calculated based on people actively looking for work compared to those working. I know a couple of people whose businesses (they owned) have gone under who have hit the unemployment line. They are counted. When they weren't actively looking for work, no, they weren't counted, so yes, the true rate is considered higher. I suspect that rings true across all groups.

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I wish the statistics on unemployment gave separate statistics for younger people -- like 25 and under.

 

What are employment statistics for RECENT college grads?

What are employment statistics for hs diploma-only 20-25yo's?

What are employment statistics for hs dropouts also ages 20-25?

 

Are recent college grads actually faring better than young people without degrees, or is the employment bump for college grads mostly a feature of older people who already had jobs not getting laid off?

 

I'd love to see this too, but it doesn't change my thoughts that the odds are better for those with a degree. Granted, there will always be exceptions, but I don't usually gamble on those.

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My mother has a 4-yr degree and, at age 65, has discovered that finding a job with a degree is just about as impossible as finding one without a degree. It means she's pretty much stuck where she is now.

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My mother has a 4-yr degree and, at age 65, has discovered that finding a job with a degree is just about as impossible as finding one without a degree. It means she's pretty much stuck where she is now.

 

I would think she's probably running into age-discrimination. When they see 65yo, they think of the limited time until retirement &/or higher health care cost.

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... but it doesn't change my thoughts that the odds are better for those with a degree. Granted, there will always be exceptions, but I don't usually gamble on those.

:iagree:And here's another side of not getting a college degree to consider:

 

Even if you're lucky enough to land a good job with prospects for advancement, not having a college degree can hurt you big time in your career, regardless of your experience or skill (and it may be difficult if not impossible to get your degree later by going to college at night...) This is what happened to my sister.

 

For a variety of reasons my sister never was able to go to college or pursue a degree as she had hoped. With 4 small children, she was a stay-at-home mom for a few years, and then shortly after her children were in school, she unexpectedly found herself the primary breadwinner of the family.

 

She very fortunately landed a good, though not high-paying, job in the marketing department of a local company, and because she is exceptionally bright and has outstanding interpersonal skills, she quickly became very successful in marketing. The company's overseas sales, which she was responsible for, soared, and when the company split into two divisions, they fought over which one would get to keep her.

 

Anyway, in her new division, my sister continued to be wonderfully successful. Her boss, though, (the regional manager) was horribly incompetent, and she had to fill in a lot of his work. Eventually, the company discovered the regional manager's incompetence and fired him. They recognized all the work my sister had done to compensate and keep things going--and they gave her his job!!! You would think it was a wonderful promotion--she got his office, she got his entire sales region, she got all the prestige and responsibility that goes with the position.... BUT, she did not get his SALARY!!!! Why?? Because she had no college degree. She had maxed out the company's salary range for a person without a bachelor's degree. The incompetent boss had had a bachelor's degree--and his salary had been more than twice my sister's salary--for the same job. It was a tremendous deal for the company--they got an outstanding manager for half the price. Between her lack of a college degree and her family ties to the town, my sister really had no place better she could go to work, and the company took advantage of it. I'd estimate that over the 11 years she worked for that company, her lack of a college degree cost her many many times what a college education would have cost. Instead of her family being able to live somewhat comfortably, they had to continue on the financial edge.

 

Several years later, the company went under and my sister lost her job. Over the years she had established some good connections with a newer, excellent company in the area, and they desperately wanted to hire her... but they couldn't. They don't hire anyone who does not have a college degree. Even a degree in basket weaving would have helped.

 

So... my sister and her husband and the younger children still at home ended up having to move to another city, where my sister does have a pretty good job--but it pays even less, and she lamented to me once that her son in college made more money in his part-time student job in computers than she earns.

 

Just something to consider...

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:iagree:And here's another side of not getting a college degree to consider:

 

Even if you're lucky enough to land a good job with prospects for advancement, not having a college degree can hurt you big time in your career, regardless of your experience or skill (and it may be difficult if not impossible to get your degree later by going to college at night...) This is what happened to my sister.

 

For a variety of reasons my sister never was able to go to college or pursue a degree as she had hoped. With 4 small children, she was a stay-at-home mom for a few years, and then shortly after her children were in school, she unexpectedly found herself the primary breadwinner of the family.

 

She very fortunately landed a good, though not high-paying, job in the marketing department of a local company, and because she is exceptionally bright and has outstanding interpersonal skills, she quickly became very successful in marketing. The company's overseas sales, which she was responsible for, soared, and when the company split into two divisions, they fought over which one would get to keep her.

 

Anyway, in her new division, my sister continued to be wonderfully successful. Her boss, though, (the regional manager) was horribly incompetent, and she had to fill in a lot of his work. Eventually, the company discovered the regional manager's incompetence and fired him. They recognized all the work my sister had done to compensate and keep things going--and they gave her his job!!! You would think it was a wonderful promotion--she got his office, she got his entire sales region, she got all the prestige and responsibility that goes with the position.... BUT, she did not get his SALARY!!!! Why?? Because she had no college degree. She had maxed out the company's salary range for a person without a bachelor's degree. The incompetent boss had had a bachelor's degree--and his salary had been more than twice my sister's salary--for the same job. It was a tremendous deal for the company--they got an outstanding manager for half the price. Between her lack of a college degree and her family ties to the town, my sister really had no place better she could go to work, and the company took advantage of it. I'd estimate that over the 11 years she worked for that company, her lack of a college degree cost her many many times what a college education would have cost. Instead of her family being able to live somewhat comfortably, they had to continue on the financial edge.

 

Several years later, the company went under and my sister lost her job. Over the years she had established some good connections with a newer, excellent company in the area, and they desperately wanted to hire her... but they couldn't. They don't hire anyone who does not have a college degree. Even a degree in basket weaving would have helped.

 

So... my sister and her husband and the younger children still at home ended up having to move to another city, where my sister does have a pretty good job--but it pays even less, and she lamented to me once that her son in college made more money in his part-time student job in computers than she earns.

 

Just something to consider...

 

This really, really stinks, but thank you for sharing as I'm sure it's not all that unusual in this day and age. It definitely shows another "pro" for getting a degree.

 

But it still stinks that it has to be this way for jobs where degrees aren't all that necessary.

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correlation vs. causation.

 

I recently read an article that questions the value of an Ivy league education. When they controlled for socio-economics, a degree from an Ivy only provided a slight benefit to those at the very bottom of the scale (most disadvantaged attending an Ivy) but not for those already at the middle or top tier. Those folks likely to attend college and graduate tend to carry with them certain class markers. Those markers are measurable prior to attending or graduating.

 

So, the question is: does a college education prevent joblessness, or is the type of person who is likely to attend/graduate possess qualities that makes them less likely to be unemployed.

 

Soooo, possessing a college degree won't prevent unemployment. Possessing the qualities that may lead to a degree will.

 

 

This is Reynolds' Law:

 

"The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them."

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We have many credentialed people in the USA; we don't have enough skilled knowledge workers. Credentials offer social status and are subsidized, but they frequently don't offer employment value. As long as our economy was strong we could support this inefficient system. Now that our economy is stuggling, we'll see a stronger demand for a demonstrable value to education.

 

<sigh> College doesn't necessarily = skilled, and not attending college does not automatically = unskilled. I think anyone is perfectly capable of learning anything they have an interest or need to learn without needing to be accountable to someone else and paying for someone else's oversight. Can you read? Then you can teach yourself.

 

Further, unemployment rates apply to those who have chosen to be employed by others, not to those who have chosen to find ways to earn a living that do not depend on being hired or considered acceptable by other people.

 

Not everyone grows up wanting to be an employee. Not everyone needs to be led by the hand and spoonfed at outrageous cost to learn skills one thinks one may need to be successful. Who taught you how to teach your own kids? You read, and you learned because you were motivated to do so. You are an example of a person not needing to attend college to develop competence in a chosen area. <sigh>

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the odds are even better for those without student loan debt, and even better yet for those with degrees in high demand employment specialties, which are 2 year and 4 year STEMS degrees.

 

 

 

I'd love to see this too, but it doesn't change my thoughts that the odds are better for those with a degree. Granted, there will always be exceptions, but I don't usually gamble on those.

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if all your sister needed was the credential of a BA or BS - and sounds like that's what her situation is/was, it's super easily to get a degree online for very little money. Thomas Edison State in NJ is one options; there are others. They even give credits for "life experience".

 

:iagree:And here's another side of not getting a college degree to consider:

 

Even if you're lucky enough to land a good job with prospects for advancement, not having a college degree can hurt you big time in your career, regardless of your experience or skill (and it may be difficult if not impossible to get your degree later by going to college at night...) This is what happened to my sister.

 

For a variety of reasons my sister never was able to go to college or pursue a degree as she had hoped. With 4 small children, she was a stay-at-home mom for a few years, and then shortly after her children were in school, she unexpectedly found herself the primary breadwinner of the family.

 

She very fortunately landed a good, though not high-paying, job in the marketing department of a local company, and because she is exceptionally bright and has outstanding interpersonal skills, she quickly became very successful in marketing. The company's overseas sales, which she was responsible for, soared, and when the company split into two divisions, they fought over which one would get to keep her.

 

Anyway, in her new division, my sister continued to be wonderfully successful. Her boss, though, (the regional manager) was horribly incompetent, and she had to fill in a lot of his work. Eventually, the company discovered the regional manager's incompetence and fired him. They recognized all the work my sister had done to compensate and keep things going--and they gave her his job!!! You would think it was a wonderful promotion--she got his office, she got his entire sales region, she got all the prestige and responsibility that goes with the position.... BUT, she did not get his SALARY!!!! Why?? Because she had no college degree. She had maxed out the company's salary range for a person without a bachelor's degree. The incompetent boss had had a bachelor's degree--and his salary had been more than twice my sister's salary--for the same job. It was a tremendous deal for the company--they got an outstanding manager for half the price. Between her lack of a college degree and her family ties to the town, my sister really had no place better she could go to work, and the company took advantage of it. I'd estimate that over the 11 years she worked for that company, her lack of a college degree cost her many many times what a college education would have cost. Instead of her family being able to live somewhat comfortably, they had to continue on the financial edge.

 

Several years later, the company went under and my sister lost her job. Over the years she had established some good connections with a newer, excellent company in the area, and they desperately wanted to hire her... but they couldn't. They don't hire anyone who does not have a college degree. Even a degree in basket weaving would have helped.

 

So... my sister and her husband and the younger children still at home ended up having to move to another city, where my sister does have a pretty good job--but it pays even less, and she lamented to me once that her son in college made more money in his part-time student job in computers than she earns.

 

Just something to consider...

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This is Reynolds' Law:

 

"The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them."

 

Fascinating. I'd never thought of education and housing subsidies that way before. Definitely worth mulling over.

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The same phenomenon has occurred with Algebra and AP exams. Some educational guru determined that kids who took Algebra in 8th grade were more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. So the powers that be determined that more kids should take Algebra in 8th grade - presto - more kids will graduate and attend college then, right? Wrong. Turns out that those original 8th graders who took Algebra were more likely to attend college because they were prepared to take Algebra in 8th grade. They had the prerequisite traits necessary to take Algebra in 8th grade. California made a huge push to get all kids in Algebra in 8th grade. It had zero impact on graduations rates. This is the Cargo Cult strategy. Google Cargo Cult if you want some really fun and sad reading.

 

The same situation is happening with AP exams, resulting in lower average AP test scores, and kids taking classes called "AP" but are really dumbed down versions.

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Here is a short blog post on this very subject. I found the comments more enlightening than the post.

 

In regards to the comment about wanting kids to go to law school - don't, just don't. Here is a very telling comment:

 

I can’t speak to the other professions, but the legal profession is a nuclear wasteland right now.

 

There are top-tier law school graduates working at Starbucks. There are many law school graduates looking to get into ANY other field. Debt of $200,000 is not uncommon.

 

There are many folks in that MSU Law grad’s position, wishing they’d gone to bartender school or trucker school. Or anything useful at all.

 

For a whole lot of horror stories, start here.

 

Terrifying.

 

 

asta

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And the reason colleges have become overpriced credentialing factories is that there was a court ruling a while back that said companies couldn't use IQ tests (IIRC) to screen potential applicants, because it was racially discriminatory. So employers use the college diploma as their screening mechanism. Add to that all the federal loans and subsidies, and the "college at all costs" mentality we've fostered in this country, and you have an unsustainable trend in college expenses. At some point, people will begin to realize that it doesn't make sense to spend $100K on a college degree if you'll only end up waiting tables.

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correlation vs. causation.

 

I recently read an article that questions the value of an Ivy league education. When they controlled for socio-economics, a degree from an Ivy only provided a slight benefit to those at the very bottom of the scale (most disadvantaged attending an Ivy) but not for those already at the middle or top tier. Those folks likely to attend college and graduate tend to carry with them certain class markers. Those markers are measurable prior to attending or graduating.

 

So, the question is: does a college education prevent joblessness, or is the type of person who is likely to attend/graduate possess qualities that makes them less likely to be unemployed.

 

Soooo, possessing a college degree won't prevent unemployment. Possessing the qualities that may lead to a degree will.

 

 

This is Reynolds' Law:

 

"The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them."

 

Well, personally, I question the value of an Ivy League education too. I also question the value of over-priced lower level schools as I've seen many students who have returned from them who have had trouble getting jobs especially in this economy. I think it's important to go to a respected school within ones chosen field and at a cost that doesn't provide a ton of debt. Otherwise, one may very well have debt and be waiting tables. There are inferior products and there are inferior colleges where it is harder to use ones degree.

 

But then, consider those "markers." Would they be there in students whose parents did not instill them? In some cases, yes, of course. We can find examples easily. But in other cases, no. They aren't necessarily as visible as the others, but when one works in a local high school, I can certainly point several examples out. Granted, a few have parents who do care and who do try, but the markers aren't there. This happens as often as we see success stories among parents who are absent. However, for the vast majority, parents who care provide the environment to produce the markers for success.

 

And, since this is the parents board...

 

And, since there are several (true) stories showing where a degree has been critical in life... even if not specifically in what one is doing...

 

But yes, take it for what it's worth. I'm a firm believe in "to each their own."

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the odds are even better for those without student loan debt, and even better yet for those with degrees in high demand employment specialties, which are 2 year and 4 year STEMS degrees.

 

:iagree: I've never been in favor of high debt and there certainly are fields with better odds than others.

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if all your sister needed was the credential of a BA or BS - and sounds like that's what her situation is/was, it's super easily to get a degree online for very little money. Thomas Edison State in NJ is one options; there are others. They even give credits for "life experience".

 

:iagree: I'd be checking with my employer to see if an online degree would suffice in this case. In many cases where one only needs "a" degree and there is extensive work experience (as seems to be the case in hers), they do work. Where they don't work as well is for people trying to enter into a field as a new graduate. There are very few cases where I would recommend such a degree, but this is definitely one of them IF her employer will recognize the degree. Some still don't. Check first or she'd be out a fair amount of money for nothing.

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the odds are even better for those without student loan debt, and even better yet for those with degrees in high demand employment specialties, which are 2 year and 4 year STEMS degrees.

:iagree:

The student who tutors for my course is graduating in May and already has three job offers between which to choose. (He is a chemical engineer)

 

Not all college degrees are created equal. That's why statistics for all college degree holders are not very relevant for an individual's decision.

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Creekland, I was wondering if you could speak to this topic, too, because I know you all own your own business...

 

I don't think just because you want to own your own business means you don't need to go to college.

 

My DH used to own his own business. (He doesn't anymore because it was bought by a large software company for whom he now works.) He did aircraft design for some of the major airframe manufacturers. Certainly Boeing, Airbus, Cessna, etc. would not have been his clients if he did not have a PhD in aerospace engineering. I cannot imagine one of these companies saying--"Oh, you taught yourself to design an aircraft wing and never went to college? Sure we'll pay you to design our wing."

 

I am not saying that you need to go to college for every profession. However, just because you want to own your own business does not mean you don't have to go to college.

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Creekland, I was wondering if you could speak to this topic, too, because I know you all own your own business...

 

I don't think just because you want to own your own business means you don't need to go to college.

 

My DH used to own his own business. (He doesn't anymore because it was bought by a large software company for whom he now works.) He did aircraft design for some of the major airframe manufacturers. Certainly Boeing, Airbus, Cessna, etc. would not have been his clients if he did not have a PhD in aerospace engineering. I cannot imagine one of these companies saying--"Oh, you taught yourself to design an aircraft wing and never went to college? Sure we'll pay you to design our wing."

 

I am not saying that you need to go to college for every profession. However, just because you want to own your own business does not mean you don't have to go to college.

 

:iagree: We (well, mainly hubby) owns an engineering firm. He wouldn't even be able to call himself an engineer if he didn't have the degree and post testing credentials to prove it (it's illegal to call yourself an engineer without recognized credentials). He certainly wouldn't be able to DO the work he does without the classwork to prepare him for it.

 

That said, anyone can start "a" business if they want to. I suppose even someone who wanted to own an engineering firm could use their money to pay people with degrees to do the work. I doubt it would do all that well, but it COULD be done.

 

However, MANY people I know who own businesses from sub shops to construction firms have said that having a class or two in business has been really helpful. One can learn the ropes via the internet in today's age, but for many, having someone explain the ropes to you in an orderly fashion is better. There are many things about business that most people don't know (taxes, labor laws, etc). Many people who want to start a business need to learn the legal difference between an LLC and a Corp (and different types of Corps).

 

Those running construction (vs the workers) mostly have degrees in some sort of construction related field. Sometimes they need them to have their firm compete for types of jobs.

 

I haven't had a single person tell me their degree was worthless (except on here) even if they don't use their degree in their job. I have had people tell me they wish they had a degree (often business). I also know people going to classes at night to get a degree to advance in their jobs. I'm guessing it's the crowd I hang around...

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:iagree: We (well, mainly hubby) owns an engineering firm. He wouldn't even be able to call himself an engineer if he didn't have the degree and post testing credentials to prove it (it's illegal to call yourself an engineer without recognized credentials). He certainly wouldn't be able to DO the work he does without the classwork to prepare him for it.

 

That said, anyone can start "a" business if they want to. I suppose even someone who wanted to own an engineering firm could use their money to pay people with degrees to do the work. I doubt it would do all that well, but it COULD be done.

 

However, MANY people I know who own businesses from sub shops to construction firms have said that having a class or two in business has been really helpful. One can learn the ropes via the internet in today's age, but for many, having someone explain the ropes to you in an orderly fashion is better. There are many things about business that most people don't know (taxes, labor laws, etc). Many people who want to start a business need to learn the legal difference between an LLC and a Corp (and different types of Corps).

 

Those running construction (vs the workers) mostly have degrees in some sort of construction related field. Sometimes they need them to have their firm compete for types of jobs.

 

I haven't had a single person tell me their degree was worthless (except on here) even if they don't use their degree in their job. I have had people tell me they wish they had a degree (often business). I also know people going to classes at night to get a degree to advance in their jobs. I'm guessing it's the crowd I hang around...

 

Adding on to this discussion if I may...

 

Back in the early days of the Internet (not the earliest days when it was a government entity), degrees did not matter. The son of one of my friends developed software which was marketed to large corporations who bought it. But even then (the days before the dot-com bust), there were purchasing agents who were highly suspicious of the lack of education credentials this young man had.

 

It has become a more competitive world. My nephew who dropped out of college to work for an Internet provider is now in a dead end position because of that lack of degree. Had he been with one of those companies that went public with employees cleaning up in the initial public offering, it would not be as problematic for him and his family as it is now.

 

I admire people with entrepreneur spirit and wish that we could have a discussion on capitalization. It takes more than an idea and gumption to create a successful business. Is it harder for someone without credentials or a degree to find capital?

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if all your sister needed was the credential of a BA or BS - and sounds like that's what her situation is/was, it's super easily to get a degree online for very little money. Thomas Edison State in NJ is one options; there are others. They even give credits for "life experience".

 

:iagree: I'd be checking with my employer to see if an online degree would suffice in this case. In many cases where one only needs "a" degree and there is extensive work experience (as seems to be the case in hers), they do work. Where they don't work as well is for people trying to enter into a field as a new graduate. There are very few cases where I would recommend such a degree, but this is definitely one of them IF her employer will recognize the degree. Some still don't. Check first or she'd be out a fair amount of money for nothing.

 

Yes, definitely. Good advice for anyone out there in this situation. My sister would be the first to agree with both comments. Although these sorts of online degrees were not as available then as they are now, I'm sure there were options that she theoretically could have pursued, if she'd been able to see her way clear to do so. What I left out of the story was the severe health and financial challenges she also faced during those years, which, life in the trenches being what it is, tended to push college further onto the back burner.

 

I mainly wanted to point out some of the hidden and serious potential consequences of not having a college degree--and especially not getting a college degree when you're young and most able to do it. There's been kind of an attitude over the last few years in some homeschooling circles here (even openly advocated once at a conference session) that young people really don't need a degree at all--you just need to get your foot in the door somewhere (or become an entrepreneur) and then your character, personal skills, hard work and accumulated experience are what really matter, so why spend the money for college? I'm probably over-sensitive (and probably over-simplifying that point of view) but it kind of makes my blood run cold.

 

Life actually is quite a bit better for my sister now.... she's in a totally different field and gets to work from home. Perhaps she'll consider it now if she thinks it would be worthwhile. As a result of all this, though, she is very pro-college for young people, and has strongly urged her children to go to college--and to go into lucrative fields. The oldest now holds a masters degree. :D

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However, MANY people I know who own businesses from sub shops to construction firms have said that having a class or two in business has been really helpful. One can learn the ropes via the internet in today's age, but for many, having someone explain the ropes to you in an orderly fashion is better. There are many things about business that most people don't know (taxes, labor laws, etc). Many people who want to start a business need to learn the legal difference between an LLC and a Corp (and different types of Corps).

 

Those running construction (vs the workers) mostly have degrees in some sort of construction related field. Sometimes they need them to have their firm compete for types of jobs.

 

 

:iagree: My dh has been in construction for 30 years. If he was beyond a sole proprietor he would need more training in the admin side of the business and an employee to deal with it all.

 

My father was a broadcast engineer for over 40 years. In the late 80s they made his position one that required a bachelor's degree for new hires. Guess who trained them? My dad, the one who didn't graduate college. Their degree, not their expertise, got them in the door.

 

I topped out in my last job because I didn't have a degree. I was doing almost the same work at the ones with degrees. They only difference was they were salary and I was an hourly worker.

 

ETA: The comment about getting your foot in the door is outdated, imo. They may have been true years ago, but now there is no guarantee that company you worked so hard to get hired will even be there for your entire career. I worked in corporate America for much of the early 90s. Companies were firing quickly. In this economy I wouldn't put all my career options in one corporation or even one industry.

 

I remember when I graduated from high school (85) the speculation was that the average person from my generation would hold seven different careers in their lifetime. Without a degree I worked in seven different areas before I "retired" when ds was born.

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I would also like to point out that for many young person's who may have the entrepreneurial spirit and the gumption to do it, they may not be able to break into beginning a business unless mom and dad have the capital to invest in the project. The bank that my father has his business loans with will no longer loan money to young, new business owners that do not have a business degree. The reason for this is that times have changed, business law has become much, much more complicated, and these young people don't have the training they need to handle the financial end of the business, much less a fundamental understanding of taxes, labor laws, OSCHA, etc. Now, many of them can learn this online or by taking a class here or a class there. But, without something from a college that says this person completed x business classes, apprenticed or had a practicum in the area of business they seek to compete with, etc. they feel that with lending capital being so tight, this is a risk they do not want to take. When businesses go under, banks rarely recoup the money they've lent.

 

So, my dad who has been in business for 46 years has no problem borrowing for a new line of stock, or for new equipment, etc. because he's demonstrated his business knowledge and abilities over his many, many years in business. The newbie starting out usually doesn't have any personal monies of substance to invest and if they don't have a business degree, they do not have a way to demonstrate that they have the knowledge necessary to manage a business.

 

It's getting pretty tough out there for this generation of young high school grads. The job market is ridiculously tight, many of the jobs that did not require a degree have been shipped off and those that haven't have so much competition for the position that having a degree that might not have ANYTHING to do with that job, still puts one ahead of the applicant without, employers are dubious - with good reason - about the education and skills of high school grads and so they now consider college to be necessary to prove that the person will be a serious employee, and trade licenses are harder to get and the exams are unlike the exams that kids are used to taking in the typical high school. Trade license exams such as the California Solar license, is a brutal exam and it's not a bubble test. You don't get to guess the right answer out of four. You spend grueling hours writing in detail about the electronics, the physics, the geometry, the construction process, etc. Mechanical licenses are much more difficult to get...many, many very bright, very knowledgeable, experienced young people who attempt these exams without at least two years of trade school or four years and a mechanical engineering degree, fail them repeatedly. They are costly exams to sit...many times $500.00-3000.00 just to sit the exam. The boiler license in Michigan is horridly expensive to get and one had better have taken a LOT of trade classes, have experience working with someone who already has his or her boiler license, and be assured that there will be enough business in the area to make it worth paying the $3000.00 per year relicensing fee.

 

I don't like that our world has become this competitive, that our children face the possibilty of having to jump lots of hoops that have nothing to do with the position they seek, or that their prospects for following their dreams are so limited. But, it is the world that I've been forced to acknowledge my children must survive and raise a family in.

 

Faith

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I mainly wanted to point out some of the hidden and serious potential consequences of not having a college degree--and especially not getting a college degree when you're young and most able to do it.

 

Thanks for raising this point.

Is it possible to go to college later in life? Absolutely. Often, a student who goes to college later in life is more motivated and able to put things better into perspective than a high school graduate. I encounter these students every semester. They face, however, other, grave obstacles:

1. Since it is a long time that they had formal math, their math skills have deteriorated and they have forgotten a lot of stuff; so they have to go back and re-learn things.

2. Going to college while raising a family is extremely tough. Going to college while working to support that family is even harder. So, the older students face a lot of constraints which make it difficult for them to attend help sessions, study groups etc. (I have an older student this year who is trying for the third time to pass my class. He lives an hour away with his family and this semester has finally decided to move into our town over the week so he can study at night. )

I have no hard data, only anecdotal evidence of ten years of teaching. In that time, I have not seen any non-traditional students perform at the top of class. Some very motivated ones are B students, many struggle and attribute that to the two factors I mentioned above.

So, although it is certainly possible to go to college later in life, it is much much easier to do so while still free of family responsibilities.

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Now, do I encourage these boys to go into debt to pay for college or do I encourage them to work in a field they love, become the best they can be at it..and end up making some really good money?

Faithe

 

It's not an either/or. Having a mechanical engineering background can be quite advantageous for someone in an HVAC field...saves a lot of time over the years and opens eyes to bigger opportunities. You might point out that all colleges are not created equal -some are more hands on than others. Check out Olin, in Mass for ex. Some have co-op programs which reduce the investment substantially. SUNY Maritime is interesting too. Some, like Cooper Union in NYC, might be attractive in the pricing if one likes big cities. And with plumbing/HVAC skills a young man could certainly find as much work as he wants while he puts himself through school. Calculate the ROI. A heads up on how the knees feel after 30 years of plumbing will likely not be understood..but it's a consideration for the men I know who are guiding their sons.

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It's not an either/or. Having a mechanical engineering background can be quite advantageous for someone in an HVAC field...

 

I work for a HVAC and Plumbing contractor

 

They will not hire anyone with an engineering degree -- too high liability for the company.

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I haven't read pages 2-4 in this thread yet (plan to!) but just thought I'd share an article that ran recently (and which I saved) and a few thoughts ...

 

I agree that college isn't for everyone. Charles Murray has very insightful articles and a book about this. And acquiring a huge pile of debt is never smart~

 

But, I see adults handicapped by not having a college degree. (And as regentrude says above, it's VERY hard to go back to school after life gets complicated.) For example, I have hs-ing friends who can't give the ITBS to their own kids b/c they have no college degree. Another friend, who is brilliant -- well, his life dream is to teach computer science to high-school kids, but without a college degree, no public school can consider him.

 

What follows is for a specific scenario, and I apologize if this is a rabbit trail!

 

The wrinkle for us is that we live in the backyard of Silicon Valley. Several of my son's friends are very dismissive of college (their dads work at start-ups; we know several millionaires (at least on paper!), etc. ...). They are typical teenage boys, and I'm guessing they'll change their minds as they get older, but for now they point to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, etc. ... all college drop-outs. Yes, but these guys are obviously geniuses. Also, look at the statement "Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard." Packed into those six words are: 1. He did a ton of real learning in his high school years -- that, and his smarts, got him into Harvard. 2. He dropped out -- i.e., he was at Harvard and realized he didn't need what they offered. 3. He had already started a company, with friends he met at Harvard. College is/can be a great place to explore new avenues, meet like-minded friends, learn from professor-mentors ...

 

I'll post the article separately so this doesn't get too long!

 

~laura

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College, Schmollege

 

I'll excerpt the first and last few paragraphs. The ending is the punchline, but it's worth reading the entire article ...

 

And this is mostly directed at my son's friends who want to go into high-tech but don't want to go to college. If they were interested in a trade, that would be a whole different matter (possibly). Again, as Charles Murray says, we need to value the trades. We live in a town awash with physics PhDs, but when I need plumbing, carpentry, or HVAC work, they're useless :)

Someone said recently (on these boards?) it's often harder to find a good plumber or a good car mechanic than an investment analyst ... and often much more urgent! :D

 

 

Feb. 17--You want to hit it big -- really big -- in Silicon Valley? Drop out of college. Right now.

 

Think about it: Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates. All dropouts. Yahoos Jerry Yang and David Filo and Google guys Sergey Brin and Larry Page left college to launch their companies. OK, they cheated a little, leaving Ph.D. programs at Stanford University.

 

But no matter. Skipping the last few semesters of school has become a badge of honor, a seal of approval, a sign of success in a valley that prides itself on its own brilliance. There is almost a swagger among the non-degreed, a sense that they are so savvy that a formal education could only hold them back.

 

.

.

.

.

 

Karyn Levie says she's still disappointed that her son didn't finish at USC. But like any parent, she knows there is more to life.

 

"It looks like he's successful," she says, "and I know the main thing is he's really, really happy."

 

Levie and Smith are both happy -- leaving school worked for each of them in its own way.

 

Which brings up a question for Levie and Smith, as they run a growing company: Would they hire someone without a college degree?

 

Maybe, though Smith says 96 percent of Box.net's employees have degrees. It's a good way to differentiate, he says, when you're faced with a vast pool of resumes.

 

And it's a good reminder: There's a difference between starting a valley company and working for one.

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Chiming in with my random opinion.

 

First, there is no such thing as an easy and cheap degree. Not one worth having anyways. Yes, TESC and the like are AWESOME avenues for the working person on a budget. That does NOT mean it is cheap or easy. Cheaper, yes. Possibly easier, tho that really depends on the student. (I'm sure there are many a student that would find distance learning modes very difficult.)

 

Second, I have NEVER doubted a degree can be worth it. For ANYONE. Yes, I wrote for anyone. I don't care what a person thinks they want to do or whether they think the degree will be applicable - the fact remains it is a door opener at some point for just about everyone. Also, only a select few will be lucky enough to never need to make a career change in their lives. (I think last I checked the average was 3 career changes in a lifetime, but it might be up to 5 now?) I have seen this with my dh and so many others. They don't need the degree to do their job, or even to do it better than those in the same field with a degree. But whether we like it or not, the bottom line is a degree is a litmus test in our society for many promotions, applications, and pay scales. One might be able to get by, and maybe even rather well at that, without a degree. I however am not going to bank on that happen stance. So yes, I don't care if my son wants to be a plumber. (We could use a plumber in the family!) I'm still going to push and push HARD for him to get a degree. Worst case scenario, he will be a dang well educated plumber. I can live with that.:D

 

Third, if you have a student who needs a degree, but not the huge amount of debt. I think it IS possible, if planning and effort are made. It might mean taking 5-6 years to get the degree instead of four. It might mean choosing a school that accepts more CLEPS or AP. It might mean choosing a different type of degree. It might mean insisting on staying local. This is the reality check conversation parents have to have with their kids.

 

I don't agree with all the politics of degrees these days. It is frustrating to many people who are hard working, intelligent, and can make some great contributions to society. But ignoring the politics won't make their life easier.

 

So there's my uneducated opinion and attitude about college for my kids. I don't know yet how it is all going to shake out in the end for them, but I figure my plan will keep their prospects open.

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I'm not really questioning the ultimate value of a generic college degree. I am suggesting it's really important to approach college with a lot of pragmatism - both parents and child. If your child is unfocused, if a significant amount of debt will be required, if academics are a struggle - it's important to carefully weigh those issues. Four year degrees aren't the only option. Two year career specific degrees, vocational training, apprenticeships, gap years, community colleges are all valuable alternatives to the four year degree route, particularly if that four year degree is in a less employable field. Something to also consider: personal connections or networks. Having them helps. period.

 

My points about college education were made purely as an alternative to the op's initial statement about unemployment among the college educated. Again - correlation or causation? I hate hearing stories of middle class or working class parents mortgaging their homes to send Jr. off to college only to find he's unemployable with his BA in Ethnic Studies and $150,000 in student loans.

 

College degrees are valuable but, but, but..... with many, many caveats. I wish we as a country could focus more on means rather than ends. How and why we do something is as important as the end result. Anyone with a library card and an internet connection can obtain an education*; degrees cost money. This mad rush to credential debases the credential. Do we value education, or do we value credentials, because, while they may not be mutually exclusive, one doesn't necessarily lead to the other.

 

I know most of the folks here are really sensible and already are aware of these issue, but, as my ds begins high school, both dh and I have been thinking through the what's and why's for him.

 

*note: I know this is a bit of hubris. To obtain a quality education in certain subjects a mentor, and sometimes expensive lab equipment, is necessary.

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I work for a HVAC and Plumbing contractor

 

They will not hire anyone with an engineering degree -- too high liability for the company.

 

For what position?

 

I'm suggesting ME for that poster because the young man has the mentor and xp in the family business. An ME degree will let him take it to another level or open his own...if that's what he wants to do. It'll also let him get into Green, which NY seems to be interested in. I would not suggest he works as a helper for someone else's small business after the degree is earned - too many other, better opportunities in the world to get started.

 

I know several people who have AAs in Electrical Engineering Tech. The new hires in their jobs are BSEE from Tier III colleges. The older fellows are finding they need to go back and get business degrees to move in to management, unless they are expert problem solvers (as in troubleshoot complex systems to the component level) and can stay in their positions. If not, they're being moved on as they've hit the salary ceiling and the technology is moving past their expertise.

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I'm not really questioning the ultimate value of a generic college degree. I am suggesting it's really important to approach college with a lot of pragmatism - both parents and child. If your child is unfocused, if a significant amount of debt will be required, if academics are a struggle - it's important to carefully weigh those issues. Four year degrees aren't the only option. Two year career specific degrees, vocational training, apprenticeships, gap years, community colleges are all valuable alternatives to the four year degree route, particularly if that four year degree is in a less employable field.

 

 

 

I snipped your post but kept the primary point with which I do not think you will find much disagreement.

 

What I see in your comments though is some outline of a plan. That is what many young adults lack. Maybe I should say realistic plan. I cannot tell you how many students I have met who had romantic visions of professions (and paychecks) but lacked the discipline to apply themselves. Maybe they needed someone to sit with them to help outline a plan for success. Degrees are not magic wands. Nor are intentions. (How many kids have we met who think their future lies in video gaming when they have no idea what skill sets are sought by the industry?)

 

Several posters have also commented on how hard some professions are on bodies. The man who laid the hardwood floor in my house quit doing this sort of work about the time he turned fifty. His knees could not handle it. He found a new profession repairing computers and printers--perfectly suited to his mechanical mind. But can a Geek Squad sort of job support a family? (I don't know the answer to that.)

 

Maybe everyone needs a back up plan because professions change, bodies change, the demands of the world change. It seems that a degree is one way of having a back up plan. (But one size does not fit all.)

 

That said, I am very happy I have my degrees. Wouldn't redo my life.

 

Jane

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For what position?.

 

They can not be CAD operators, estimators, project managers, field workers, shop workers or the owner of the business (The owner's son deliberately did NOT get an engineering degree for this reason)

 

I don't know if they would hire them to that for Accounting or Project coordinator (my job) -- ie something that never really deals with plans at all.

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