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Is a College Degree a Thing of Real Value?

 
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2017 01:35 pm
@maxdancona,
I think the problem is that many people want to skip the process of becoming educated. They want to just magically be "educated" without having to do the work.

The problem is that you can't become educated by working. When you are working, you are a specific environment with a specific set of tasks. You will learn what you need to learn, but learning tasks isn't education.

Good University programs are set up to give a broad education. Students study core subjects, such as math, and logic, and literature in way that gives them a broad understanding. This is not the specific understanding that you encounter on a workplace. In a workplace you interact with your boss (whose purpose is to get a certain type of work out of you) and co-workers (who are chosen by the boss for a specific goal). This is not anything like interacting with professors and the diverse peers you will encounter in a college setting.

It is possible that someone who had broad interests in many subjects, could seek out experts in the field, force himself to read books on many topics (even on topics that didn't jump out at him), have discussions with an open mind with like minded peers, get lab time to do experiments, and solve math problems in Calculus and Group theory on his own.

But if someone had this temperament... I can't think of a good reason that they wouldn't just go to one of the top colleges where all of this is already set up and the professors and peers are already available.

You don't just magically become educated. Education is a process.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2017 02:39 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
You don't go to college to get a degree. You go to get an education.


This isn't true in the vast majority of cases. It wasn't true in your case when you returned to school.

I guarantee you that most people would say that someone who attends all of his or her classes for four straight years and applies themselves fully to learning has still failed if for some reason they didn't come away with a degree. Most companies require a degree, not an education. If they did, in fact, require the latter there would be a lot more of them requiring that applicants demonstrate their education by passing a comprehensive test, not just showing them a sheepskin.

Making education accessible to everyone who wants to be educated is a very worthy societal goal. It's not met by making college accessible to everyone who wants to attend. That is where the reform comes in.

The secondary education market is a multi-billion dollar industry and the unit of trade is the degree. If degrees weren't so heavily relied upon as a job qualifier there would be a lot fewer people taking on crushing debt to obtain them. The quality of secondary education, as well as the college experience, is declining while the cost continues to increase.

If education is so important to the prosperity of nations and individuals (and it is) the means of obtaining it can't continue to be such a financial burden and barrier and has to improve in terms of what it delivers.

You've more than once made the point that college teaches people how to communicate in written and verbal formats. I'm sure not seeing that and the data doesn't reflect it. How does a kid come out of college with a degree, but still be unable to compose a coherent business letter or report? Why are corporations providing remedial writing training to their college-educated employees? I require every applicant who makes the first cut to write several business letters for my consideration. The quality of some of these letters are stunningly poor, and these are people who have been writing them for years as part of their job.

When I worked at a very large international corporation, I had a few intern slots in my division. It was good for me because they were positions I didn't have to budget and fight for, and it was good for the company because it was a feature of their community relations program: All of the interns were graduates of State colleges and universities. The applicants were students who had majored in the field of our industry. One of the most difficult tasks I had was to find applicants who I felt met the minimum standards expected of an intern. It was depressing. We always managed to find qualified candidates but not before reviewing and interviewing a great many of them. I don't know how most of them graduated with degrees and I find it very hard to believe that they succeeded in the field, once they got a job somewhere else.

I know this will spark controversy, but the truth of the matter is that the minority candidates were, in general, the least prepared applicants. This is not to suggest that they should not have been in college, but they should not have graduated with degrees. The colleges they attended failed them and all of the woefully deficient candidates who would not have been categorized as "minority candidates," and there were plenty of them too. A student has a responsibility to learn and if they won't devote the time and effort to it, it's not the school's fault, but if they don't learn and the school still designates them as educated by granting them a degree, something is very wrong. I would bet that all of them eventually found jobs because of the corporate reliance on degrees as indicators, but unless they were educated on the job, I doubt any of them have been successful. Not good for the students, not good for the employers, but just fine for the colleges. They got their money and increased or maintained a graduation rate which they market to attract new consumers of their high dollar product.

maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2017 03:13 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
I'm sure not seeing that and the data doesn't reflect it.


I am curious about that data. Can you link to it? I imagine it varies from college to college. I have a hard time believing that any Harvard or Yale graduate wouldn't be very good at writing in either a personal or business setting.

Writing was a big part of my degree. I would not have been able to graduate with a four year degree without being able to write reports, and essays on a variety of subjects. Of course for an advanced degree you write a thesis that must be presented and defended.

I am not saying that a college degree guarantees that a person is educated. But I am suggesting that if you are looking for an educated person... most of them will have college degrees. Starting your search for people with college degrees from good colleges seems like a reasonable strategy given that you have to fill a number of positions with thousands of candidates.



maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2017 03:15 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Could you answer this with a "yes" or "no" before any explaination; Do you believe the people without college degrees are more likely to write well then people with college degrees? Is this your experience?

engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2017 05:32 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Writing was a big part of my degree. I would not have been able to graduate with a four year degree without being able to write reports, and essays on a variety of subjects.

Same here, no way to get my degree without being about to write, research and present. It is completely reasonable for a company to assume that someone who obtained a degree from a reputable school in a certain field is in fact educated in that field. Colleges that grant degrees to the uneducated quickly find their reputation has been trashed and their graduates are unemployable.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Dec, 2017 03:52 pm
@maxdancona,
Yes, but not with enough certainty limit selection only to grads and dismiss those without them.

You would expect football players from the top college programs to have a higher success rate in the NFL, and maybe they do but every year the scouts find great players in smaller programs.

In any case I'm not arguing that attending college is meaningless and not an indicator worthy of consideration.

The desire to obtain education in any format is a more meaningful indicator to me. Not everyone going to college is looking to be educated. A degree, not the education is the goal and the degree doesn't guarantee an education.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Dec, 2017 03:53 pm
@engineer,
How old are you? When did you graduate?
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maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Dec, 2017 04:07 pm
Is a College Degree a Thing of Real Value?

Yes, most obviously.

If for nothing else, then it's value is in opening doors to interviews/opportunities that would otherwise be closed.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Dec, 2017 04:09 pm
@maporsche,
No kidding.

Read the linked article, if not the posts thus far.
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Krumple
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Dec, 2017 04:32 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Could you answer this with a "yes" or "no" before any explaination; Do you believe the people without college degrees are more likely to write well then people with college degrees? Is this your experience?




It is possible that you could have a high school drop out become a very good author. It really depends on the metric you are using to determine what makes someone "write well".

I think a degree only has value if you can use it to either obtain a career that sets you up financially. Or the things you learned allowed you to excel in a career you obtained.

Other than that, a college degree can be as useless as a pile of dog crap sitting on a sidewalk. It really comes down to how you use the degree. There are no guarantees especially if you take into consideration how the person was as a student. Or even what the degree even is. It could be debated that certain courses are completely useless.

But some times its not the degree but instead the students practice when it came down to learning a subject. If the student was just an absorber, where they absorbed the data just long enough to pass an exam but a few weeks afterwards couldn't even explain anything they had been taught. They get their degree based on memorization of the material but have no way to actually put it to any use.

0 Replies
 
 

 
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