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Some friends and I were recently talking about the benefits of a college education beyond the diploma that qualifies us for certain jobs. We wondered, “Did going to college really make us smarter?” “Would we be better people for having gone to college even if we decided to not use our degree?”

I know we live in a world where a college education is important. The more education we have the more likely we are to get a better job and make more money, but aren’t there jobs that require a college education that an intelligent person could just be “trained” to do rather than going through all the college filler, yet, that’s just not usually how it works.
I’m not saying a person doesn’t learn anything in college, but isn’t there a lot of fluff that could be left off and still achieve the same goal? Once we reach college age, it’s no longer a developmental process like moving from kindergarten to grade 12 and adding skills as we are able to comprehend them, but it’s just “more information” so to speak.

I know a guy who graduated with a degree in education when he was 22. For whatever reason, he decided to run the family farm instead. Now in his 40s, he has decided to get a teaching job. I’m sure he can handle it, because he is an intelligent guy, but do I think he knows any more about teaching than a paraeducator with a high school diploma who has worked in a school for 20 years. No I do not. His diploma, however, says yes.

I realize there are professions that couldn’t be mastered with a little training, like doctors, but I think there are others that could.

I know that’s just the way things work and I’m not saying people should not go to college. I suppose a college degree does show that a person is dedicated to something and perhaps more disciplined, but is it all it’s cracked up to be beyond the diploma?

I have a masters degree and a good job in that field, by the way, so this isn’t coming from someone who is bitter about having not gone to college. I guess I’m just questioning the process and its true benefits.
 

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We've been having this discussion recently in our household. Although my estranged husband and I are both college graduates, one of our children doesn't seem to be cut out for college. Therefore, I've been talking to others who are successful people without ever stepping foot into a college. It's actually been eye-opening.

Although both brothers are college educated, they made the most money as independent truck drivers. Another relative never went to college, but makes excellent money doing site prep work (even in this economy). One family member also goes in manufacturing plants throughout the country. He says it is unbelievable how many of those are begging for skilled workers--jobs which are going unfilled. At least for now, it seems a college education may be secondary to having a skill.

In addition, the price tag on college is getting way too high to justify. I'm not sure a liberal arts degree could even be feasible.
 

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I suppose it depends on the career field one wishes. One could do quite well as a plumber or an electrician and actually earn considerably more than the average college graduate. A degree in nursing would be worthwhile and one can't be a nurse without one. Nursing jobs are plentiful enough and the average salary makes the cost of a degree a reasonable investment. A degree in underwater basket weaving or Masters of Nose Picking wouldn't make any sense. Lots of highly educated burger-flippers out there. I have a couple of undergrad degrees and a Masters. I'm a cop and I work with officers with degrees and some without. In the Army, I work with Soldiers with degrees and without. A good worker is a good worker. An intelligent person is an intelligent person. One who gets the job done is valuable and one who can't get results is as useless as mammaries on a boar. I've read very well-written reports composed by high school grads and assaults upon the English language by degree-holders. If you want an employee who's dedicated, disciplined, and who has deeply ingrained positive character traits, hire a veteran. To me a degree in one of the science disciplines from a prestigious university is significant. A liberal arts degree from Joe's Bait Shop and University just means someone found funding for college.
 

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What is a college selling? Education. Therefore, the more people they convince, the more money they make (and college is BIG business). Colleges will do anything and everything they can to convince people that it is the only option to success in life. Unfortunately, many have bought the sales pitch, and you see a degree required for more and more jobs- very few of which need extensive education.

The fact is, that it might not be needed, but in todays world it's necessary. Simply having a degree in something opens doors that someone highly qualified through real life experience just can't, in most cases budge.

One caveat to that is "the good 'ol boys network" (for both genders)

Who you know is often more important than what you know, or having a degree.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We've been having this discussion recently in our household. Although my estranged husband and I are both college graduates, one of our children doesn't seem to be cut out for college. Therefore, I've been talking to others who are successful people without ever stepping foot into a college. It's actually been eye-opening.

Although both brothers are college educated, they made the most money as independent truck drivers. Another relative never went to college, but makes excellent money doing site prep work (even in this economy). One family member also goes in manufacturing plants throughout the country. He says it is unbelievable how many of those are begging for skilled workers--jobs which are going unfilled. At least for now, it seems a college education may be secondary to having a skill.

In addition, the price tag on college is getting way too high to justify. I'm not sure a liberal arts degree could even be feasible.
Exactly. I know a lot of people who make a lot more money than I do who didn't go to college. So, apparently, they are smarter than I am in some ways.

I think some people wear an 'education" as a badge of superiority too. Because they have a college degree, they are somehow better than those who don't. That's not me. The only reason i went was to get the career I wanted.

I agree with you that some people certainly aren't the college types; I barely was. I worked construction work while in college, and wow, what a different lifestyle that was to the college classroom. I remember many days when I would rather have been out driving nails and pouring cement with the other guys, yet i was in a classroom hearing about Beethoven, looking at sculptures, and learning about different writing styles in my elective classes, which I cared nothing about or saw the importance of.
 

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You DO NOT need college to be successful and make a lot of money! There are other ways in which you could learn just as much and know everything you need to for the job, or obtain a degree without ever taking a single class.

It's called the CLEP test or College Level Examination Program and it's sort of like a GED where you cram over the book they give you or the dummies version and take the test for around a hundred bucks. If you pass you can automatically get 3pts towards your degree.

Although a LOT of colleges like to keep this on the down low since it means they will get less money from you and some may even limit the courses you take. Still it aint a bad way to go.

Check out the Penn % teller show Bullsh!t! on youtube and watch the episode on college.

ALSO before you consider college take some time to train yourself to speed read. I kid you not, there have been a lot of new advances to the older methods and THIS SUFF WORKS! I can recommend a really good book, but also there have been some leaked books online for Harvard medical and legal students that implement their way of improved memorization skills. These are all huge freakin books so get speed reading down first.:rofl:
 

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I'm getting a liberal arts education at age 48 and I place a high value on it personally. Honestly, I think what I'm learning is going to see me through the end of my life, so that I have more meaning and appreciation for my world from day to day. I'm majoring in English: double major in comparative literature and creative writing.

In my younger years I got a business degree and computer information systems (programming and accounting, statistics, etc.) and a master's in health policy/decision science. That education has served me very well work-wise, it was more of a technical education. I guess nowadays people can learn to program wherever, but I was in the first class that used PC's - we had to load the OS from a big floppy and if you wanted to print landscape in Quattro Pro you needed a program called Allways. Everything was in amber or bright green on the screen and if you programmed a user interface having experience playing Battleship was a good thing. If you played 3-D checker even better, you could then handle nested subloops and 3-d arrays. My programming these days is a second language to me, I program in SAS/SQL, I type it as I think it.

I'm lucky because my technical education and my liberal arts education are merging, the trend now is to use natural language data for statistical modelling.

I think the thing is to take education when you feel inclined to do so. Not necessarily to turn a profit on it. That said, make sure you can pay up front for your education unless it is something you can turn a profit on (i.e. nursing, dental, etc.) It really stinks to pay for a professional degree and find out you don't like the work...I had thought about going to med school and worked as a med technician and EKF technician, I saw the life of doctors and hospitals and when the military offered me a business degree/programming education as a 3-year posting on scholarship, I took it. But I made money going to school, that was my job, and that's the case now, I have a housing allowance and am not paying anything more than opportunity cost to go.
 

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Not sure what the difference is between your ed system & ours. Here you go to university to get a bachelor degree or you can go to a tech college & get different types of diplomas. You don't have to go to tech to go to uni.
For a job with a trade like plumber, electrician, builder etc you need to do a 3-4 year apprenticeship that includes some attendance at a tech college.
Here, the tradespeople can earn more than the uni educated, but only as long as the mining boom continues. If our wonderful government has anything to do with it, the mining boom will be shut down very soon so a uni education may come into it's own then.
I am going to uni next year, for the first time ever, to study accounting. I just hope I am not the oldest person there..
 

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Many adults I know feel inferior because they lack a college education. I have tried to ease their feelings by explaining it is not as advertised but it doesn't sink in.

It is an accomplishment and it can payoff but often it doesn't but it does seem to give some people unwarranted confidence and a sense of entitlement.

It takes a lot more than a college degree to be a remarkable success.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A college degree can be a key to a better job, no doubt. But does it make a person superior in any way other than the diploma? Some people are of the notion that an “education” somehow makes them a smarter, more capable person in life than they would have been had they stopped at high school. They will be smarter in all aspects of life, like financial planning, politics, etc. Personally, I think experience and how one applies oneself builds knowledge more than sitting through a bunch of classes.

I think college is over rated as an overall knowledge builder and contains a lot of fluff. For example, I have an undergraduate degree in History that I don't currently use in my profession. So, on paper, I should know more about history than the average Joe. But what happened in reality? Twenty years ago, I sat through 12 classes for a few hours each week where the professors lectured a bunch of historical stories, I took notes, and completed some research papers. Does that really make someone a history expert? Not really.

I know a retired teacher who, in my area, is known as one of the best. She tells about her first day of teaching and said, “I was fired up and thought I was well prepared. I had a college degree and was ready to use it. Heck, I told the students everything I knew in 15 minutes and then stood there feeling blank. I think I studied and worked harder my first year of teaching than I did my entire college career.” What made her a great teacher as the years passed? Experience and hard work!
 

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A degree in what, specifically is the question. Chemical engineering? Agronomy? 14th Century Italian tapestry weaving? Gender studies? Art history?
 

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I didn't figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up until recently.

I was dating a boy in highschool and we wanted to get married right away so I enrolled in a trade school instead of traditional college so I could satisfy my parents' request for education and get it over with - I was SO ready to be an adult. And I broke it off with that boy anyway.

I don't know that my income over the past 20 years would have been a LOT higher with more education, however I do feel it has been a roadblock when it has been a requirement for employment or promotion. Fortunately I see more and more ads with "degree or equivalent experience" but quite a few times a degree has been required.

Since I have been on the hiring end, I've asked why this is important when the actual knowledge isn't required. I was told it showed an ability to commit, plan, work hard and follow through.

I've thought about going back but right now I like where my career is going and I don't want to detract from my time with my daughter. It took me a long time to get her 'back' emotionally after the brainwashing by ex and I need to be in the present with her.

I'm in sales and project management so I have that "equivalent experience" at this point.

It REALLY annoys me when I work with someone with a degree and hear them say "I seen" or "where is he at?" or can't write a clear, concise letter/press release/proposal/etc. That should have been learned in high school and this person has a degree and makes more than me???? But the ability to communicate clearly, both written and verbal, has gotten me noticed and is what gave me some of the opportunities I've enjoyed.
 

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I suppose a college degree does show that a person is dedicated to something and perhaps more disciplined, but is it all it’s cracked up to be beyond the diploma?
I think it is. I've been in the working world without a degree, with certifications, and with a degree. By far the best job I have had is the one i got with my degree. And the older i get the more i appreciate the general education classes that i had to drudge through to get to my degree course work. One of the best classes I ever took was a world politics class (my degree is in biology). i was fortunate enough to be at a university that is extremely diverse. There were people from all parts of africa, even the congo, from europe, asia, middle east, and south america. We would discuss current events and the perspectives from those who lived through those events was profound. It was more then just part of my education; it impacted my life and the way I will work at my current occupation.

A job is just a job if you only have training on that single subject. But your work could impact the way you see yourself in the world, and your contribution to the world, if you're educated enough to see the big picture.
 
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On the other hand, there are technical fields where advanced education was never well respected. Like in IT. Come to them with and advanced degree in CSci and they want a drone who can do Windows Server Admin. Or they cynically demand a 24 year with 15 years experience in a 3 year old technology willing to move to Iowa and work for $12/hr.

There are in fact many fields where 'experience' however the powers that be gauge that, is more valuable than degrees. Same with all sorts of professional certifications. I can't tell you how often I come across someone with a longer stream of letters after their name than British Aristocracy and they are about as useful as a doorstop.
 

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One of the most important lessons I ever learned was from University. I qualified for a coop program through my major and the boss was a retired police officer. He lied on my evaluation saying that my attendance was poor, when actually he just ignored me the entire year and never helped me once.

It taught me that blindly trusting the police is stupid.
It also taught me that workplace politics is a real thing.
 

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I'm still encouraging my sons to continue in going after their college degree. After all, it still has the potential to open up doors to most employer's offices and it is richly a needed prerequisite for admission to all graduate programs and disciplines.
 

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I'm still encouraging my sons to continue in going after their college degree. After all, it still has the potential to open up doors to most employer's offices and it is richly a needed prerequisite for admission to all graduate programs and disciplines.
Same with my daughter. Also, I miss having had the experience - the friendships that are developed and all of the great stories when friends talk about the good ole times back in college. I never had college teams to pull for, rush parties to go to, etc.
 

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Same with my daughter. Also, I miss having had the experience - the friendships that are developed and all of the great stories when friends talk about the good ole times back in college. I never had college teams to pull for, rush parties to go to, etc.
Darling: I think that I had enough of those to last both of us a lifetime. My grades were OK, but they could have been better.

Both of my boys are so much more studious than their Dad though. But, by golly, I'm so very proud of the both of them!
 

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well i remembered the when i was in uni (Australia), i studied bachelor economics first i had made a few good friends (some of them are top civil servants who had even more higher ranking than i do and some of them are bankers), those years were good.

later after 3 years doing my job i study a master degree on economics (public policy) and when i just keep getting promotions for the last 7 years until it settles down (close to the top civil ranking) after the GFC. So i think uni degrees are not cracked up. But i m not sure about how degrees go now days might not be useful as before since 33% of the workforce are graduates are the moment......

Make it useful while it last.............
 
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