February 15, 2011

More Warnings About College

Struggling with the idea of not sending your child to college? This writer makes a case for it by crunching numbers. And this writer, an economics professor, explains the current trouble with college very succinctly:

The diploma serves as a screening device that allows businesses to narrow down the applicant pool quickly and almost without cost to the employer, but with a huge financial cost to the individual earning the diploma (often at least $100,000), and to society at large in the form of public subsidies.

What to do? It's an extremely personal decision between you and your child. For starters, you can determine your child's interests and talents to see if college will even be useful to him or her. If so, you'll need to do a lot of research because there are many options. Thanks to the Internet, your child can get a college education for free through self-study, though no degree would be involved. You and your child will have to decide if a degree is worth the considerable expense of college.


Anonymous said...

It's true large companies (to be specific, the HR departments thereof) use a degree as a screening device. There are several ways around this.
1) Go around the HR department. I had trouble being re-hired in a company after a work hiatus, always rejected by HR departments. I found some guys I knew from a previous employment who were working there, who handed my resume' directly to the engineering manager and told him I knew my stuff. I got the job.
2) Work for small companies without HR departments. I did this, also getting hired as an engineer by knowing the engineering manager from previous employment (a separate occasion from the above). It probably helped that that manager was himself a high-school dropout with no degree.
3) Start at the bottom. I got into engineering by being first hired as a computer repairman. I learned that in the military, although I had to stretch the truth a bit in the hiring interview. I just worked hard, and worked my way up. There must be other ways...

Barbara Frank said...

Thanks for these valuable tips, Anon. Glad they worked for you. But it's getting harder for new college grads to even get a foot in the door...and many of them are getting desperate because they need to pay back enormous student debt. A college degree is not always the golden ticket.

Sandy said...

Though I agree completely with what you're saying here, I still have a hard time picturing how my kids will secure adequate employment to support a family without a college degree. That and the fact that getting into college is the only thing homeschoolers in my area care about make it an uphill climb to go a different way.

Barbara Frank said...

I understand, Sandy. Attending college has become the way homeschoolers prove they're educated.

The problem is that most of the jobs will be in areas that don't require a four-year degree. So unless your child is motivated and able to earn a degree in a subject that will allow them to earn a living, college is not likely to be the answer.