Nowadays there are many millionaires and even billionaires, who don’t have a college degree. Some of them quit collage while others didn’t even step foot into collage. The entertainment industry is filled with high school dropouts and people who never stepped inside college, yet these people are often millionaires, earning millions of dollars. This leaves one wondering whether a college degree is really necessary or can one do without one.
In this era that is riddled with economic recession and unemployment, the world is no longer as friendly to college graduates as it used to be in past decades. More and more fresh graduates are finding themselves unemployed or in jobs without security as the world becomes more and more competitive.
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John Goes argues that modern education has two purposes; to show that one was smart enough to get into college, and to show a prospective employer that one may be smart enough to learn their job-specific skills. He argues that college degrees have become the modern day IQ tests to determine employability following the ban of IQ testing of job-applicants by the governments (Goes, par4).
John Goes further argues that nowadays people have been conditioned to think that anybody can get a college degree. A few decades ago it was accepted that half the people were below average. Only half the people got high school diplomas and only 1 in 20 students managed to obtain a Bachelors degree.
Today the statistics indicate that there is an 80% to 90% high school diploma attainment rate (Goes, par5). What is worse is that the cost of acquiring a college degree is now very high. So high that, one Trina Thompson filled a law suite against her alma mater Monroe College for the refund of the $70,000 tuition due to the fact that no one wants to employ someone with a worthless degree. She accused the college for false advertising (Goes, par6).
But, to say that college degrees are now worthless is to be shortsighted. The benefits of acquiring a college degree may not be evident in the short-term but are always plenty in the long run. The fact that more people are getting degrees nowadays does not mean that college degrees have lost their value rather it shows that college degrees have become more valuable. Acquiring a college degree definitely puts one ahead in the job market.
The recession that hit the world last year resulted in the loss of many jobs. What is to note however is that the majority of the jobs lost were jobs in the manufacturing industry. These jobs were mainly blue collar jobs that were mostly taken by high school graduates and dropouts. Once the recession hit, many companies closed shop, others relocated their operations to more labor economic countries.
It was reported that the US economy had shed 131,000 jobs by 6th August this year and that unemployment rates remained stuck at 9.5% (Aljazeera, par1). The private sector only managed to create 71, 000 jobs. Experts say that this rate is too slow for the country to recover its pre-recession employment rate.
Blue collar jobs are routine jobs which are more manual and do not require a lot of mental output. Being manual, these jobs can be easily done by other people given the right instructions or by machines which have been programmed to do these tasks. Therefore people who work in blue collar jobs are easily dispensable.
However, jobs that are more technical and requiring of high skills are often the kinds that require degrees. Even in the recession many college graduates did not lose their jobs. Even when they lost their jobs it was possible for them to search for telecommute jobs which more and more companies began to offer as alternative employment to laid off employees. High skill jobs like financial jobs and medical jobs continue to pay off in spite of the recession.
What’s more college degrees attract higher pay. The acquisition of a college degree in a particular field usually makes the person specialized. Specialization leads to mastering of ones work and creating high skills which make the person a professional in his field of specialization. College graduates earn an average of $20, 000, far much more than non-college graduates (Milliken, par2). Experts argue that college graduates have significantly lower unemployment rates, rely less on public assistance and enjoy better health making them an asset to any employer and country.
Because the current world is still as keen on academic certificates as it was three decades ago, perhaps even more so as competition for jobs continues to go up. It is no wonder then that professionals continue to go back to college to acquire higher degrees in order to improve their skills and therefore their chances of promotion and better pay. In fact when an employee seeks to get a promotion the best tactic would be to get a college degree, because coupled with the person’s work experience a college degree is like having gold in ones possession.
Another reason for one to get a college degree would be for the purpose of self fulfillment. All of us are born with the need to excel, for some of us this need is so great that it cannot be ignored. This need is ever present within us so that if we settle for anything less that we ha envisioned for ourselves than we end up miserable.
The acquisition of a college degree is one a venue of fulfilling our need to excel. Going to college has become second-nature majority of college educated parents and their children. Jay Mathews defines it as instinctual as tacking an August vacation (Mathews, par4). With so many people dropping out of high school or even never proceeding to college getting a college degree remains an achievement worth acknowledging.
So many people are stuck in a job that they may not like, or a job that may not pay them nearly enough to survive and meet their basic needs and the basic needs of their families. Often the acquisition of a college degree is usually the means of achieving their desire for a better paying job and a more fulfilling one. A college degree is therefore a means of self fulfillment and acquiring the social and financial status that one dreams of.
Some millionaire and billionaires may not have a college degree, but college degrees remain important and valuable. Bill Gates had to go to college in order for him to get the inspiration to start Microsoft. Even though he did not graduate he got knowledge that helped him build his dream. College is a mine of ideas and knowledge, and no one should miss out on an opportunity to acquire either or both of these.
Goes, John. What Is the Point of a College Education. 24 August 2009. 7 August 2010http://media.www.chicagoflame.com/media/storage/paper519/news/2009/08/24/Opinions/Whats.The.Point.Of.A.College.Education-3755931.shtml
Aljazeera. US Employers Shed 131,000 Jobs. 6 August 2010. 7 August 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/08/20108616525186107.html
Milliken, James. Growing Importance of a College Education. 6 August 2010. 7 August 2010.http://fremonttribune.com/news/opinion/columnists/article_ab479f02-a161-11df-9183-001cc4c03286.html
Mathews, Jay. Patrick Welsh Is Wrong About Too Many Going to College. 29 July 2010. 7 August 2010. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class-struggle/2010/07/patrick_welsh_is_wrong_about_t.html
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