Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Is a College Degree Worthless?"

MSN features yet another vain attempt to convince the foolish public that college is, as I've called it, "America's Most Overrated Product. " This article is called, "Is a College Degree Worthless?"

Why a vain attempt? For every such article, the public swallows a mountain of college-orchestrated propaganda on why, for example, even more students should attend college. Now, the Obama administration, having swallowed the mountain, is saying that its goal is that all high school students have the "opportunity" to attend college.

God, if he'd only spend a week at a typical (not Harvard) college, I'd bet he'd realize what a bad use of time so many of those classes are, how destructive dorm living is, and how overpriced it is relative to the benefits derived and opportunity costs lost.

I want to bury my head in the sand.


Bill said...

I think like many things in life, there isn't a "yes or no" answer to this issue.

For some people, college are extremely valuable, interesting and fulfilling. For some people, they're more inclined to learn from the real world.

The challenge is to identify the right path for each individual to fulfill his/her potential. If college is conducive, then he/she should go to college.

Too often media (including bloggers) take an extreme position to attract reader attention.


Anonymous said...

I'm with Bill on this. Some people attend college and its a mistake for all involved. Others experience tremendous growth, both personally and professionally. I'm one of the latter - I left my small, rural, mostly white hometown, went to college and had my eyes opened in all sorts of ways. I can't imagine what my life would be without the college experience. With all due respect, Marty, you do take a very negative and one-sided approach to this issue which does not do justice to it. Many people go to college and get out of it exactly what there supposed to, expense not withstanding.

Marty Nemko said...

I focus on critiquing colleges because nearly all the media coverage of colleges is positive. It's merely an attempt to modulate the misguided everyone-to-college ethos that dominates today.

I fully agree that for many, college is the right choice, but not for as many as currently attend, let alone the additional ones Obama and others would like to see attend.

F.S. said...

Can you elaborate on "how destructive dorm living is"? (If you've written about this earlier, a link would be fine.) Thanks!

Dr. F said...

I don't necessarily regret wasting 7 years of my life learning trivial facts and theories to be 'conducive' or to have 'my eyes opened'.

I don't regret not earning a wage bascially through my twenties.

I regret getting in DEBT to do it.

Dr. F

Dave said...

We will devalue the undergraduate degree if we continue to push more and more people through college. We have already done enough damage over the last 40 years. Any old-timer with a college degree will tell you about the qualitative difference of both undergraduate education and the students of a half-century ago.

Do you think today's PhDs have more wisdom to offer than a 19th century schoolboy with a McGuffey Reader? I always hear the same old cliches and superficialities out of them as well.

Anonymous said...

Learning shouldn't end after college or high school if anyone wants to remain competitive in their field—it really is a lifelong process. Technology changes so fast that learning how to learn and thinking on your feet may be more important than pursuing an expensive ivy league education. I have been through 2 paradigm shifts in my career of 35 years and have had to teach myself new technologies to stay competitive as have most of my successful peers. I really think the challenges I overcame in college helped me become a faster learner.

Marty Nemko said...

Here's the short answer: While some students achieve the iconic experience: deep friendships, long discussions of important things, etc., too often placing large numbers of teenagers, living together en masse, away from the watchful parental eye for the first time, leads to serious alcohol and drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and a lazy attitude around learning. This is much worse than in past generations because, for a variety of reasons, colleges have largely abandoned their in loco parentis role in favor of a largely laissez-faire role--for example, generally winking at the dysfunctional behavior that often is rampant in the residence halls.

Anonymous said...

totally agree

THe media is supported in part by ads bought by the higher education industry, an industry which put millions of young people in needless debt slavery. College is more or less a scam, Yes, it is a boon to SOME, but for most, it is a waste.


Anonymous said...

I have an undergraduate degree in information systems, obtained when I was 52 years old. I have most of a graduate degree in history -- I wanted to teach it -- but I stopped that when I was told I was too old to start a career. The degree may be valuable (or at least useful) but only to persons who are getting the degrees on the accepted schedule.

I regret finishing my degree and starting the new one. After I had stopped taking classes, I was asked why I didn't finish just for my own satisfaction. I found that question to be simply irrational because I did it to improve my career choices. Without the college experience, I doubt that I'd know any less or feel any differently about myself. I admit one difference would be that I don't feel silly about having all this debt that has no balancing employment.

My conclusion is that it's not so much the degree that is of questionable value; it's the social expectations that hire the young and those who are protected by legally-mandated hiring preferences, that are of limited value. What we have done is to promote the chic over the competent.