Posted December 29, 2011 Share Posted December 29, 2011 Please forgive me this rant. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/business/young-women-go-back-to-school-instead-of-work.html Boy this NYT article teed me up today. It is ostensibly about how women are "taking advantage of the economic downturn", and "upgrading their skills" with collegiate education, more so than men. Be that as it may, I saw something else entirely in the article. They interviewed a woman with a BA in Communication Studies from a small pricey LAC (Wartburg College), who in a couple of years, could only find part-time employment as a barista at Starbucks. So, she decided to enroll in graduate school to get a master's degree in Communication Studies. She anticipates graduating with a total college debt of $200k, hoping to secure a job doing PR work for an non-profit. What, exactly, is Communication Studies, and why is a four year undergraduate degree so useless that she can only find a part-time job at Starbucks with it? Did anyone mention her job prospects during her tenure at the LAC? I wonder how the rest of her graduating cohort faired, and if that information is relayed to incoming students? Now, I, as a WTM devotee, understand the abstract value of education gratia education, but what these private colleges are doing is just shameful. In the article, the student explicitly states that her desire to go to graduate school is strictly for vocational reasons. I believe there were threads earlier asking about an education bubble, and this is just it: $200k in debt (plus who knows how much more savings spent), in order to secure a job that only requires decent writing skills, and some knowledge of business. These are skills that could be acquired with a two year internship after high school, should such things exist. I don't really blame this student for her predicament, seems like the fundamental problem is that there aren't enough jobs out there for the college graduates who want them, or perhaps, that there isn't good communication between employers and potential employees about which jobs are available. The employers, needing to select a few candidates from the multitudes who apply, naturally only select those with advanced degrees. But the students, following all conventional wisdom, get stuck with an enormous debt burden and dubious job prospects. I'm not quite sure what she should have done. Going to a much cheaper instate school would be a more economical choice, if she could get in. Had she not gone to college at all, her job prospects wouldn't have been better. I hope the NYT does a followup in a couple of years -- I'd really like to know how her story turns out, and I hope it does turn out well for her. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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