Tag Archives: Gap Year

Not ready for college, perhaps a gap year is in order

4 Mar

One Tennessee Study found that quite often kids are encouraged to choose college over vocational or trade options. The societal push the last few years has been to have more kids go to college. Quite often schools are ranked on the percentage of kids that go directly to college from high school. So, counselors are following cultural cues they have received from administrators, parents, and the media. http://www.tennessee.gov/education/cte_council/doc/career_college_advice.pdf

Pros and Cons of Going to A Four Year College

A. Five Reasons to Go to College

Chris Stout lists Top Five Reasons to Go to College

1.The undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma
There was once a time when college was entirely optional. Even today, smart, hard working people can develop excellent careers and stable lives without the aid of a university education. College is by no means mandatory, but when you’re ready to start building a career for yourself, you will increasingly discover that a college degree is a prerequisite for many entry-level employment opportunities….
2.College will satisfy and expand your curiosity
If you possess a general curiosity about how and why the world works the way it does, then you owe it to yourself to attend college. Education is a personal project. If you want to develop your mental faculties and increase your knowledge base, then you have to college. If you feel that you’ve learned all you possibly can in high school, if you think that there’s nothing else that you need to absorb, then don’t go to college. If you have a passion for improved understanding, then college is mandatory.
3.College is a process of continual maturation
College is freedom. When you attend college, you are free to live on your own, according to your own priorities. As you carve out your own custom tailored living and learning experience, you can’t help but grow as a person. College is a time for self-improvement and development, so if you want to grow and mature as an individual, college is the perfect playground for self-progress.
4.College is all about networking
In college, you have the unique ability to create life-long associations in a structured environment. Networking is important, but it can also be difficult. If you want to build relations with students and faculty members, you have to put forth effort. Unlike the real world, in college, it’s easy to combine your individual interests with supportive allies who subscribe to those same interests. Take advantage of this environment and build up relationships that will help you in the future.
5.College exposes you to things you would not normally experience
When you set about choosing your path through life, it’s important to remember that finding yourself is as much a process of elimination as it is a process of discovery. Just as you seek out interests and identities, you need to rule out certain life-options and mental frameworks that you do not agree with. College exposes you to new risks, rewards, people, places, ideas, lifestyles, eating habits and career choices. Exposure is critical. You can’t form a genuine opinion on something if you’ve never been exposed to it. College is a place for you to improve yourself, to satiate your curiosities, to mature, to network, and to be exposed to new things. College is an important, irreplaceable experience in life. Going to college is highly recommended. http://ezinearticles.com/?Top-Five-Reasons-Why-You-Should-Choose-To-Go-To-College&id=384395

Stout places the emphasis on the college experience and the fact that college is not just a place for possible career training.

B. Five Reasons Not to Go to College

Forbes. Com published Five Reasons Not to Go to College

1. You’ll be losing four working years.
There’s an opportunity cost associated with going to college: Not only will you lose the money you’ll have spent on tuition, you’ll also be out the amount of money that you could have made if you’d worked during those four years. And if your family isn’t wealthy enough to pay for your education on their own, you’ll also owe a hefty amount in interest payments for your student loans. Perhaps more importantly, with four years of experience on your resume, you’ll be far better off when looking for work than the average 22-year-old college graduate.
2. You won’t necessarily earn less money.
College grads earn an average 62% more over the course of their careers than high school grads. But economist Robert Reischauer of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., argues that those numbers are skewed by the fact that smarter kids are more likely to go to college in the first place. In other words, the profitability of higher education is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
3. In fact, you could probably make more money if you invested your tuition.
Put $160,000–the approximate cost of a Harvard education–into municipal bonds that pay a conservative 5%, and you’ll have saved more than $500,000 in 30 years. That’s far more than the average college grad will accumulate in the same amount of time.
4. You don’t need to be in a classroom in order to learn something.
Truly motivated learners can teach themselves almost anything with a couple of books and an Internet connection. Want to learn a hands-on skill or trade? Consider an apprenticeship.
5. Plenty of other people did fine
Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Quentin Tarantino, David Geffen, and Thomas Edison, among others, never graduated from college. Peter Jennings and John D. Rockefeller never finished high school. http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/15/dont-go-college_cx_lh_06slate_0418skipcollege.html

Some people discover their passion earlier in life than others. Forbes.Com addresses its comments at those folks. The calculation is that if one already knows what they want to do, college could be an unnecessary detour.

A college degree is no guarantee of either employment or continued employment.

Alternatives to a Four Year College Degree

Great Schools has a concise overview of various options should a child decide they do not want to go from high school to a four year college. What if Your Teen Wants to Skip College http://www.greatschools.org/college-prep/alternatives/660-what-if-your-teen-wants-to-skip-college.gs There are several options. Options include a gap year, trade school, vocational school, community college, and for some the military. The only option that should be off the table is to do nothing.

Victor Lukerson wrote the excellent Time article, Gap Year: The Growing Appeal of Not Going Right to College:

About 1.2% of first-time college freshmen choose to defer enrollment for a year, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. What these students choose to do with their time varies widely, from expensive study abroad programs, to volunteer programs like City Year, to staying at home and saving up for college.
“In 1980, no one was talking gap year,” says Holly Bull, the president of The Center for Interim Programs, a company that offers parents and students consulting in choosing the appropriate gap year program. “I’ve watched this whole concept go basically from its inception to present day. I wouldn’t call it mainstream, but there’s way more awareness and support and colleges are now beginning to endorse it as a really positive thing.”http://moneyland.time.com/2012/10/05/gap-year-the-growing-appeal-of-not-going-right-to-college/#ixzz28eFKj1Ce

According to Kirk Carapezza of NPR more students are taking a gap year. Carapezza reported in the story, Mind The Gap (Year): A Break Before College Might Do Some Good http://www.npr.org/2014/02/27/283533644/mind-the-gap-year-a-break-before-college-might-do-some-good?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=storyshare

Whether a person chooses to attend a four year college after high school is a very personal decision and there is no one right answer. One thing the current economic climate has taught many is there are no guarantees in life, even with a college degree. The trades may offer some a means to earn a living and a fulfilling life.
A one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

Resources:
1. A publication by the government Why Attend College? Is a good overview http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/Prepare/pt1.html

2. Article in USA Today about gap year http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-06-18-gap-year_N.htm

3. Advantages of Going to a Vocational School http://www.gocollege.com/options/vocational-trade-schools/

4. Accreditation Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology http://www.accsc.org/Resources/Links.aspx

5. The Federal Trade Commission has Choosing A Career Or Vocational School http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0241-choosing-vocational-school

6. How to Choose The Best Trade School http://www.ehow.com/how_2107557_choose-best-trade-school.html

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Pew Research: College education increases income potential

1 Oct

Moi wrote about the decision to go to college in Why go to college? Sam Davidson has written an interesting New York Times article, It’s the Economy: The Dwindling Power of a College Degree:

A general guideline these days is that people are rewarded when they can do things that take trained judgment and skill — things, in other words, that can’t be done by computers or lower-wage workers in other countries. Money now flows around the world so quickly, and technology changes so fast, that people who thought they were in high demand find themselves uprooted. Many newspaper reporters have learned that their work was subsidized, in part, by classified ads and now can’t survive the rise of Craigslist; computer programmers have found out that some smart young guys in India will do their jobs for much less. Meanwhile, China lends so much money to the United States that mortgage brokers and bond traders can become richer than they ever imagined for a few years and then, just as quickly, become broke and unemployed.
One of the greatest changes is that a college degree is no longer the guarantor of a middle-class existence. Until the early 1970s, less than 11 percent of the adult population graduated from college, and most of them could get a decent job. Today nearly a third have college degrees, and a higher percentage of them graduated from nonelite schools. A bachelor’s degree on its own no longer conveys intelligence and capability. To get a good job, you have to have some special skill — charm, by the way, counts — that employers value. But there’s also a pretty good chance that by some point in the next few years, your boss will find that some new technology or some worker overseas can replace you.
Though it’s no guarantee, a B.A. or some kind of technical training is at least a prerequisite for a decent salary. It’s hard to see any great future for high-school dropouts or high-school graduates with no technical skills. They most often get jobs that require little judgment and minimal training, like stocking shelves, cooking burgers and cleaning offices. Employers generally see these unskilled workers as commodities — one is as good as any other — and thus each worker has very little bargaining power, especially now that unions are weaker. There are about 40 million of these low-skilled people in our work force. They’re vying for jobs that are likely to earn near the minimum wage with few or no benefits, and they have a high chance of being laid off many times in a career.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/magazine/changing-rules-for-success.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

The societal push the last few years has been to have more kids go to college. Quite often schools are ranked on the percentage of kids that go directly to college from high school. So, counselors are following cultural cues they have received from administrators, parents, and the media.

Chris Stout lists Top Five Reasons to Go to College http://ezinearticles.com/?Top-Five-Reasons-Why-You-Should-Choose-To-Go-To-College&id=384395 Stout places the emphasis on the college experience and the fact that college is not just a place for possible career training. Forbes. Com published Five Reasons Not to Go to College http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/15/dont-go-college_cx_lh_06slate_0418skipcollege.html Some people discover their passion earlier in life than others.Forbes.Com addresses its comments at those folks. The calculation is that if one already knows what they want to do, college could be an unnecessary detour. A US News and World Report article estimated the value of a college degree http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2008/10/30/how-much-is-that-college-degree-really-worth

Amanda Paulson of the Christian Science Monitor wrote a great article, Does Everyone Need A College Degree? Maybe Not Says Harvard Study about a Harvard study.

A new report released by Harvard Wednesday states in some of the strongest terms yet that such a “college for all” emphasis may actually harm many American students – keeping them from having a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood and a viable career.
“The American system for preparing young people to lead productive and prosperous lives as adults is clearly badly broken,” concludes the report, “Pathways to Prosperity” (pdf). http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0202/Does-everyone-need-a-college-degree-Maybe-not-says-Harvard-study

Marcus Wohlsen of AP has posted the article, Tech Mogul Pays Bright Minds Not to Go to College at Boston.Com. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2011/05/30/tech_mogul_pays_bright_minds_to_skip_college/ Wohlsen reports that tech tycoon Peter Thiel has set up a scholarship which two dozen gifted young people $100,000 not to go to college but to become entrepreneurs for the next two years. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/28/why-go-to-college/
Pew Research reported that college graduates make more income for a number of reasons.

Richard Fry wrote about the income potential of college graduates in The growing economic clout of the college educated:

For the first time on record, households headed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree received nearly a majority (49.7%) of aggregate U.S. household income; nearly one out of every two dollars went to the college educated. In 2012 one-in-three households was college educated, so, put another way, half of the aggregate U.S. income goes to one third of the households.
In 1991 (the earliest year comparable figures are available) college-educated households only received 37% of the nation’s aggregate income. In 1991 about one-quarter of households (23%) were college educated.
The share of the income pie received by households with only a high school education or less fell 15 percentage points from 1991 to 2012. The share of household income going to households with some college (including those with an associate’s degree) increased modestly over the same period (23% to 25%).
Since educational attainment has risen and there are more college-educated households, one would expect the college educated to receive a growing share of the pie.
But the data clearly indicate that the growing economic fortunes of the college educated go beyond sheer numbers. College-educated households are the only households whose incomes have grown on a per household basis from 1991 to 2012. Household income increased 9% (from $92,289 to $100,637) for those whose highest education was a bachelor’s degree. Incomes were up 20% for households with professional degrees. In contrast, household incomes have declined for households who do not have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Before breaking down the nitty-gritty of the college-educated households’ income gain, it should be noted that a number of factors are likely at play in boosting the household incomes of the college educated relative to less-educated households. A primary factor is the better fortunes of the college educated in the labor market. The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce finds that college graduates earn nearly twice as much as workers with just a high school diploma.
But the household income differences between the college educated and lesser educated go beyond the labor market. College-educated households are more likely to be married and thus more likely to have secondary earners contributing to household income.

In addition, my research on “assortative mating” or “who marries whom” shows that married college-educated persons are more likely to have a college-educated spouse. Thus, they are more likely to have a spouse with high earnings. For example, in 2011, 75% of married men ages 30 to 44 who are college educated also have a college-educated wife. Among their married counterparts with a high school education, only 17% have a college-educated wife.
Between 1991 and 2012, the aggregate household income of college-educated households increased by $2.1 trillion according to the Census data. Over the same period, the share of all households who are college educated increased from 23% to 33%. How much of the $2.1 trillion income gain received by the college educated is due to growth in numbers versus growth in income per college-educated household? If the fraction of households who are college educated had remained constant at 23%, instead of rising to 33%, the income pie going to the college educated would only have grown by $0.8 trillion. So, over half of the income gain of the college educated is due growth in numbers. But a substantial portion reflects their improving income fortunes. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/09/24/the-growing-economic-clout-of-the-college-educated/

Whether a person chooses to attend a four year college after high school is a very personal decision and there is no one right answer. One thing the current economic climate has taught many is there are no guarantees in life, even with a college degree. The trades may offer some a means to earn a living and a fulfilling life.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

Resources:

1. A publication by the government Why Attend College? Is a good overview
http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/Prepare/pt1.html

2. Article in USA Today about gap year
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-06-18-gap-year_N.htm

3. Advantages of Going to a Vocational School
http://www.gocollege.com/options/vocational-trade-schools/

4. Accredidation Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology
http://www.accsc.org/Resources/Links.aspx

5. The Federal Trade Commission has Choosing A Career Or Vocational School
http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0241-choosing-vocational-school

6. How to Choose The Best Trade School
http://www.ehow.com/how_2107557_choose-best-trade-school.html

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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ABA task force proposes sweeping changes to legal education

23 Sep

Moi has been posting about whether a degree is the best option. In Why go to college?
The societal push the last few years has been to have more kids go to college. Quite often schools are ranked on the percentage of kids that go directly to college from high school. So, counselors are following cultural cues they have received from administrators, parents, and the media.
Chris Stout lists Top Five Reasons to Go to College http://ezinearticles.com/?Top-Five-Reasons-Why-You-Should-Choose-To-Go-To-College&id=384395
Stout places the emphasis on the college experience and the fact that college is not just a place for possible career training. Forbes. Com published Five Reasons Not to Go to College http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/15/dont-go-college_cx_lh_06slate_0418skipcollege.html Some people discover their passion earlier in life than others.Forbes.Com addresses its comments at those folks. The calculation is that if one already knows what they want to do, college could be an unnecessary detour. A US News and World Report article estimated the value of a college degree http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2008/10/30/how-much-is-that-college-degree-really-worth
https://drwilda.com/2011/11/28/why-go-to-college/

The calculation for pursuing a professional degree is different. One must not only look at personal satisfaction, but earning potential.

Tamar Lewin reported in the New York Times article, Task Force Backs Changes in Legal Education System:

Faced with rising student debt and declining applications to law schools, a task force of the American Bar Association is calling for sweeping changes in legal education, including training people without law degrees to provide limited legal services and opening the bar to those who have not completed four years of college and three years of law school.
The report, to be issued on Friday, does not refer specifically to President Obama’s suggestion last month that law schools might limit classes to two years, and have students spend their third year clerking or practicing in a firm. But it did recommend the elimination of the rules that law students must have 45,000 minutes in a classroom to graduate and that they cannot get credit for field placements that are paid.
The report describes an urgent need for change in the nation’s legal education.
“The system faces considerable pressure because of the price many students pay, the large amounts of student debt, consecutive years of sharply falling applications, and dramatic changes, possibly structural, in the jobs available to law graduates,” it said. “These have resulted in real economic stresses on law school, damage to career and economic prospects of many recent graduates, and diminished public confidence in the system of legal education.”
It called the predicament of the many recent graduates who may never get the kind of jobs they anticipated “particularly compelling.”
The report is still a draft, to be distributed for comment, then considered at the bar association’s 2014 meeting. If adopted there, it will be influential but not binding on either law schools or state bar associations.
Randall T. Shepard, the former Indiana chief justice who was chairman of the task force, said that within the group, the most controversial sections were those dealing with how legal education is financed and with the accreditation standards.
The report criticizes the practice of most law schools to provide little aid to needy students, reserving most of their scholarships for those with the highest credentials in part to help raise the school’s rankings. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/education/task-force-backs-changes-in-legal-education-system.html?ref=education

Here is the press release from the ABA:

News > ABA News > ABA News Archives > 2013 > 09
ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education issues draft report on proposed reforms to pricing, accrediting and licensing
« Experts predict more divided decisions when Supreme Court takes on controversial cases in new term
Experts from architect, contractor groups to discuss federal P3 projects, aging infrastructure at ABA event »
ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education issues draft report on proposed reforms to pricing, accrediting and licensing
By John Glynn
CHICAGO, Sept. 20, 2013 — Stating that the system of legal education in the United States is widely admired around the world but faces serious challenges, the American Bar Association Task Force on the Future of Legal Education today issued its draft report with recommendations.
Key proposals call for changes in the pricing of legal education, liberalizing or eliminating certain accreditation standards, and speeding the pace of innovation and practical-skills training at law schools. The draft also calls on courts and bar authorities to devise new frameworks for licensing legal service providers.
“The Task Force believes that if the participants in legal education continue to act in good faith on the recommendations presented here, with an appreciation of the urgency of coordinated change, significant benefits for students, society, and the system of legal education can be brought about quickly, and a foundation can be established for continuous adaptation and improvement,” the draft report states.
The Task Force is soliciting public comment on the draft that will help the panel prepare a final report for consideration by the ABA House of Delegates. Neither the draft report nor the final report represents the policy or positions of the ABA.
“While the Task Force is not finished with its work, this draft report represents our effort thus far to formulate solid proposals to ensure that legal education in the United States remains viable in light of substantial economic and structural changes,” said Task Force Chair Randall T. Shepard, former chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court.
“We look forward to receiving additional public comment to supplement the hearings and comments process that we have conducted over the last year,” Shepard continued. “Our goal is to produce a final report that will be as comprehensive and effective as possible while taking into account all the views that came to our attention.”
Said ABA President James R. Silkenat: “Legal education in the United States is the best in the world, but it must continue to evolve to match the rapid changes that are taking place in legal practice in the United States. The Task Force’s draft report was informed by a thoroughly open process, which is important, given the gravity and complexity of the issues. The draft report represents the hard work and broad-based inquiry that ABA leadership expected from our insightful Task Force members, who represent a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.
“We are grateful for the Task Force’s continuing efforts under the leadership of Justice Shepard,” Silkenat continued. “Thanks to the Task Force’s work, the legal community will be able to have a full, engaged discussion with all stakeholders concerning the future of legal education. This is a topic that is critical to our profession and essential to the delivery of legal services in the United States.”
The Task Force was commissioned in July 2012 by then-ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III and supported by ABA leadership, including Silkenat and Immediate Past President Laurel G. Bellows.
To prepare the draft report and recommendations, the Task Force reviewed literature on problems and solutions. It met throughout the year to review and test potential solutions, accelerating its original timetable in light of the seriousness of the developing challenges to legal education in the United States.
The Task Force solicited written comments from interested parties starting in September 2012, held two public hearings and conducted a webcasted mini-conference in April 2013, to which various knowledgeable parties were invited to share information and perspectives.
In addition, the Task Force chair met with the leadership of the Association of American Law Schools and conducted a forum for deans of ABA-approved law schools. The chair and other Task Force members held forums at the annual meeting of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the Conference of Chief Justices.
The report is available online here, http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/news/PDF/draft_report_of_aba_task_force_september_2013.pdf
or at the Task Force website. http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/taskforceonthefuturelegaleducation.html
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. To review our privacy statement click here. Follow the latest ABA news at http://www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.
This entry was posted on Fri Sep 20 01:00:00 CDT 2013 and filed under News Releases and Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Whether a person chooses to attend a graduate or professional school is a very personal decision and there is no one right answer. One thing the current economic climate has taught many is there are no guarantees in life, even with degree.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

Related:

Should colleges be career schools? Saving the liberal arts education
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/02/should-colleges-be-career-schools-saving-the-liberal-arts-education/

Brookings paper: Is college a good investment?
https://drwilda.com/2013/05/10/2784/

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Brookings paper: Is college a good investment?

10 May

Moi wrote about the decision to go to college in Why go to college?

The societal push the last few years has been to have more kids go to college. Quite often schools are ranked on the percentage of kids that go directly to college from high school. So, counselors are following cultural cues they have received from administrators, parents, and the media.

Chris Stout lists Top Five Reasons to Go to CollegeStout places the emphasis on the college experience and the fact that college is not just a place for possible career training. Forbes. Com published Five Reasons Not to Go to CollegeSome people discover their passion earlier in life than others. Forbes.Com addresses its comments at those folks. The calculation is that if one already knows what they want to do, college could be an unnecessary detour. A US News and World Report article estimated the value of a college degree

Amanda Paulson of the Christian Science Monitor has a great article, Does Everyone Need A College Degree? Maybe Not Says Harvard Study about a new Harvard study.   

A new report released by Harvard Wednesday states in some of the strongest terms yet that such a “college for all” emphasis may actually harm many American students – keeping them from having a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood and a viable career.

The American system for preparing young people to lead productive and prosperous lives as adults is clearly badly broken,” concludes the report, “Pathways to Prosperity” (pdf).

Marcus Wohlsen of AP has posted the article, Tech Mogul Pays Bright Minds Not to Go to Collegeat Seattle PI.Com. Wohlsen reports that tech tycoon Peter Thielhas set up a scholarship which two dozen gifted young people $100,000 not to go to college but to become entrepreneurs for the next two years.

A college degree is no guarantee of either employment or continued employment. Still, because of the economic uncertainty there is an “arms race” in education. Laura Pappano is reporting in the New York Times article, The Master’s As the New Bachelor’s

See, Is a ‘gap year’ a good option for some students?

https://drwilda.com/2012/10/08/is-a-gap-year-a-good-option-for-some-students/

Julia Lawrence writes a about a Brookings paper which asks whether college is a good investment in the Education News article, Brookings: College Degrees Aren’t a Foolproof Investment:

Stephanie Owen and Isabel V. Sawhill attempt to answer a deceptively simple question in the latest paper for the Brookings Institution: is college a good path for all American high school graduates? Owen and Sawhill – who is the co-director of the Brookings’ Center on Children and Families, Budgeting for National Priories and a Senior Fellow on Economic Studies — try to determine if the return on investment in a college degree still warrants the expense, the risk and the time in every circumstance.                                                        http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/brookings-investing-in-college-degree-isnt-foolproof/

Here is the press release from Brookings:

Should Everyone Go To College?

By: Stephanie Owen and Isabel V. Sawhill

May 8, 2013

For the past few decades, it has been widely argued that a college degree is a prerequisite to entering the middle class in the United States. Study after study reminds us that higher education is one of the best investments we can make, and President Obama has called it “an economic imperative.” We all know that, on average, college graduates make significantly more money over their lifetimes than those with only a high school education. What gets less attention is the fact that not all college degrees or college graduates are equal. There is enormous variation in the so-called return to education depending on factors such as institution attended, field of study, whether a student graduates, and post-graduation occupation. While the average return to obtaining a college degree is clearly positive, we emphasize that it is not universally so. For certain schools, majors, occupations, and individuals, college may not be a smart investment. By telling all young people that they should go to college no matter what, we are actually doing some of them a disservice.

The Rate of Return on Education

One way to estimate the value of education is to look at the increase in earnings associated with an additional year of schooling. However, correlation is not causation, and getting at the true causal effect of education on earnings is not so easy. The main problem is one of selection: if the smartest, most motivated people are both more likely to go to college and more likely to be financially successful, then the observed difference in earnings by years of education doesn’t measure the true effect of college.

Researchers have attempted to get around this problem of causality by employing a number of clever techniques, including, for example, comparing identical twins with different levels of education. The best studies suggest that the return to an additional year of school is around 10 percent. If we apply this 10 percent rate to the median earnings of about $30,000 for a 25- to 34-year-old high school graduate working full time in 2010, this implies that a year of college increases earnings by $3,000, and four years increases them by $12,000. Notice that this amount is less than the raw differences in earnings between high school graduates and bachelor’s degree holders of $15,000, but it is in the same ballpark. Similarly, the raw difference between high school graduates and associate’s degree holders is about $7,000, but a return of 10% would predict the causal effect of those additional two years to be $6,000.

There are other factors to consider. The cost of college matters as well: the more someone has to pay to attend, the lower the net benefit of attending. Furthermore, we have to factor in the opportunity cost of college, measured as the foregone earnings a student gives up when he or she leaves or delays entering the workforce in order to attend school. Using average earnings for 18- and 19-year-olds and 20- and 21-year-olds with high school degrees (including those working part-time or not at all), Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney of Brookings’ Hamilton Project calculate an opportunity cost of $54,000 for a four-year degree. In this brief, we take a rather narrow view of the value of a college degree, focusing on the earnings premium. However, there are many non-monetary benefits of schooling which are harder to measure but no less important. Research suggests that additional education improves overall wellbeing by affecting things like job satisfaction, health, marriage, parenting, trust, and social interaction. Additionally, there are social benefits to education, such as reduced crime rates and higher political participation. We also do not want to dismiss personal preferences, and we acknowledge that many people derive value from their careers in ways that have nothing to do with money. While beyond the scope of this piece, we do want to point out that these noneconomic factors can change the cost-benefit calculus.

As noted above, the gap in annual earnings between young high school graduates and bachelor’s degree holders working full time is $15,000. What’s more, the earnings premium associated with a college degree grows over a lifetime. Hamilton Project research shows that 23- to 25-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees make $12,000 more than high school graduates but by age 50, the gap has grown to $46,500 (Figure 1). When we look at lifetime earnings—the sum of earnings over a career—the total premium is $570,000 for a bachelor’s degree and $170,000 for an associate’s degree. Compared to the average up-front cost of four years of college (tuition plus opportunity cost) of $102,000, the Hamilton Project is not alone in arguing that investing in college provides “a tremendous return.”

It is always possible to quibble over specific calculations, but it is hard to deny that, on average, the benefits of a college degree far outweigh the costs. The key phrase here is “on average.” The purpose of this brief is to highlight the reasons why, for a given individual, the benefits may not outweigh the costs. We emphasize that a 17- or 18-year-old deciding whether and where to go to college should carefully consider his or her own likely path of education and career before committing a considerable amount of time and money to that degree. With tuitions rising faster than family incomes, the typical college student is now more dependent than in the past on loans, creating serious risks for the individual student and perhaps for the system as a whole, should widespread defaults occur in the future. Federal student loans now total close to $1 trillion, larger than credit card debt or auto loans and second only to mortgage debt on household balance sheets.

More from Brookings

Whether a person chooses to attend a four year college after high school is a very personal decision and there is no one right answer. One thing the current economic climate has taught many is there are no guarantees in life, even with a college degree. The trades may offer some a means to earn a living and a fulfilling life.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

Resources:

  1. A publication by the government Why Attend College? Is a good overview

  2. Article in USA Today about gap year

  3. gap year articles

  4. Advantages of Going to a Vocational School

  5. Vocational School Accreditation

  6. Accredidation Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology

  7. The Federal Trade Commission has Choosing A Career Or Vocational School

  8. How to Choose a Vocational School

  9. How to Choose The Best Trade School
Where information leads to Hope. ©                               Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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More colleges are putting college applicants on mid-year acceptance for enrollment

24 Apr

Moi wrote about the trend of colleges deferring decisions about acceptance of prospective students in More prospective college students getting deferral letters:

Parents and students can meet all the deadlines, complete all the forms, and provide all the supporting documentation required and still not be admitted to the college of their choice. Increasingly, students are being put on deferral lists.

Eli Clarke, Associate Director of counseling, private high school, Washington DC wrote the article, What Does it Mean to be Waitlisted or Deferred?

Being deferred can mean a wide variety of things. In most cases, the college has not completed its review of your file and is “deferring” their decision to a later date. Deferrals typically fall into two categories:

  • You applied under the Early Action or Early Decision plan and have been pushed back into the regular pool. This may be frustrating, but also has an advantage.  If you are accepted into the college/university under regular decision, you are not obligated to attend as you would have been if you were accepted under an Early Decision plan (Early Action is non-binding to begin with). You may feel free to consider offers from other schools.

  • You have applied under a regular decision or rolling admission and the college/university would like to have more information in order to make a decision about your application. In almost every case, a college or university would like to see more grades from the senior year or new test scores. If a school receives the information they want, they could admit you earlier.

Being waitlisted is unlike being deferred; the college has finished reviewing your file and made a decision to put you on a waiting list for admission.

  • Being on a waitlist typically means that you are placed within a “holding pattern” of sorts. The admissions committee may or may not admit students from the waitlist. And unlike a deferral situation, new information does not usually change a waitlist decision.

  • If you are placed on a waitlist, you can usually find out if the school has gone to their wait list in the past and if so, how many students they admitted from the waitlist. In some cases, your chances of eventually getting in are very good; at other colleges, waitlisted applicants are almost never admitted.

  • It is always wise to deposit to another institution and ensure that you have a place somewhere. Do not pin your hopes on a waitlisted college; this is the time to make plans with one of your backup schools.

Whether you are deferred or waitlisted, avoid the temptation to begin a flood of recommendation letters and phone calls to the admissions department. In almost every case, this can have an adverse affect on your chances for admission. Some institutions even state in the letters that they do not take any additional letters of recommendation or phone calls on the student’s behalf.  If the admissions office does need more materials, they are generally interested in concrete information (test scores, grades, etc.) rather than personal testimony or recommendations.

http://www.collegesofdistinction.com/component/k2/item/158-what-does-it-mean-to-be-waitlisted-or-deferred?.html

A deferral letter is not a “no” and it may provide the opportunity to look at other options for college. In Like Me.Com has excellent advice which was posted in the article, How to Handle a College Admissions Deferral http://www.inlikeme.com/advice/how-handle-college-admissions-deferral.html

https://drwilda.com/2012/02/25/more-prospective-college-students-getting-deferral-letters/

Now, there is a new type of deferred action which a prospective student is admitted to a college, BUT for either fall or winter.

Ariel Kaminer writes in the New York Times article, More College Applicants Aren’t Welcome Till Winter:

Exact numbers are not available, but according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, over the last few years more and more colleges have been sending out a new kind of acceptance letter, inviting some applicants to wait until the new year before showing up.

Back in 2001, when U.S.C. started doing it, Timothy Brunold, the director of admissions, said he assumed the university was a pioneer. Now the list includes, among others, Skidmore College, Hamilton College, Brandeis University, the University of Miami, Northeastern University, Elon University in North Carolina and Middlebury College (which actually beat U.S.C. to the punch by a few decades).

They all have their own variation on the theme. Some, like Middlebury, in Vermont, allow students to request second-semester admissions; some make the decision for the students. Hamilton, in Clinton, N.Y., does not enroll students until they arrive on campus in the spring; Skidmore, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Northeastern, in Boston, enroll them right away but direct them to spend their fall semester at a designated program abroad.

But all are motivated by the same basic arithmetic: between freshman-year attrition and junior-year abroad programs, campus populations drop off after the first few months of college each year. “With the economy the way it is, they need to be doing what they can to get tuition income,” said Scott G. Chrysler Jr., a college counselor in Louisiana who is active in the national group’s admissions practices committee. “An empty seat is not generating any income.”

The arrangement may not be profitable for everyone, warns Tom Weede, chairman of the committee. “Often the letter says, ‘We encourage you to enroll in another school and take core-related classes,’ ” he said. “Well, at the other school, if you want financial aid you have to be a full-time student. The school that takes you doesn’t know you’re just going to be there for a semester. So it creates a built-in retention problem at a moment we’re calling for more accountability and more numbers about outcomes like retention.”

As fast as the practice may be growing, it is still unknown to most college applicants, and even to many guidance counselors. At Brandeis University, which now enrolls 100 or so students for midyear arrival, the dean of admissions, Mark Spencer, said some applicants were so rattled by the offer that they begged to be placed on the fall waiting list instead. “I say, ‘Wait, you want me to un-admit you?’ ” Mr. Spencer said.

To address students’ concerns, many of these colleges set up special midyear open houses, or enlist former midyear arrivals to call their potential successors and talk about how it all works. And when that spring semester rolls around, these colleges generally offer midyear orientations, modeled on the welcome-to-campus events that greet most first-year students. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/education/more-college-applicants-dont-get-in-until-winter.html?ref=education&_r=0

It is difficult for parents and prospective students to decide whether to wait or choose another college. See, Is a ‘gap year’ a good option for some students? https://drwilda.com/2012/10/08/is-a-gap-year-a-good-option-for-some-students/

College Parents of America posted the article, Students May Be Accepted To College, But For Spring Admission at their site about what prospective college students can do while waiting to enroll in their top school:

Your student may have several things to consider if he is a spring admit.  It may be difficult for him to think about staying at home while his friends head off to college in the fall.  It is frustrating if he is ready to begin.  However, he may want to consider several options. 

  • He might get a job and have an opportunity to save up some money before beginning college – either to have a head start on tuition or so that he won’t need to work during the school year. 

  • He may take some courses at a local community college so that he will not lose a semester but will be on a par with his classmates when he begins in January. 

  • This may provide your student with a welcome break from academics for a semester – but with the assurance of a place in January.  He may return to the classroom with renewed energy. 

  • If the college is close enough, he might be able to take some classes through an extension division or continuing education evening division and not lose any time.

  • Although he may not have chosen it at first, this might provide your student with an interesting gap semester during which he might travel or gain experience through an internship or community service endeavor.

One advantage, for some students, of beginning their college career in January is that they can avoid all of the confusion that surrounds the arrival of many first-year students in the fall.  By the time that your student arrives on campus, life will have settled down.  However, for some students, this may be a danger.  Although there will also be other new arrivals in January, less attention may be paid to helping these students get oriented, some friendships will already have been made, key positions in clubs or on teams may have been filled, and housing choices may be more limited.  All of these are factors that your student will need to weigh.

Beginning college mid-year will not be the right choice for every student.  However, for some students it can provide a welcome break – and the assurance that they have been accepted by their first choice college.  As a college parent, you can help your student consider the pros and cons of the situation and make an informed choice with which she is comfortable. http://www.collegeparents.org/members/resources/articles/students-may-be-accepted-college-spring-admission

Students and parents should research schools before applying.

Moi wrote in Choosing the right college for you:

Danielle Moss Lee, president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund offers some great advice in the Washington Post article, Top 5 factors to weigh when picking a college (by May 1st deadline):

Here are the top five factors students across the country should be considering when making this critical decision:

1. Size. When it comes to choosing a college, it isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are significant differences between large and small colleges, and students need to decide what matters to them. Factors to consider include class size, teacher-to-student ratio, name recognition and what options are available on campus – research centers, sporting events, internship opportunities, clubs and organizations, course choices, faculty members and more.

2. Location. Part of the value of college is learning to live on your own, away from your family, and in a city you choose. Students should push themselves to learn how to be successful in a new environment but also still need a support system. Students should consider how far away they can be and still feel comfortable – for some it’s a short car or bus ride, for others it can be a cross-country flight.

3. Finances. Students and their families need to think carefully about the financial impact of their choices. With student loan debt above $1 trillion (surpassing credit card and auto-loan debt) students — especially those from low-income families like many students at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund — need to figure out what the numbers really mean. How much is need-based grant aid and how much is loan-based aid? What will it cost to travel to campus? What incidentals will be required? Will my mother or father need a second job? How many hours will I be allowed to work on campus?

4. Academic focus. Not every student knows what they “want to be when they grow up” and you don’t need to pick a major to pick a college. However, students should consider the variety of courses, curriculum and majors available.

5. ‘Expert’ opinion. Get some insight. Use your family and friends as a resource. Talk to the people you admire personally and professionally, as well as recent graduates who you might know, to find out what they consider the most important aspect of the college experience. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/top-5-factors-to-weigh-when-picking-a-college-by-may-1st-deadline/2012/04/13/gIQAOAH4FT_blog.html

https://drwilda.com/2012/04/15/choosing-the-right-college-for-you/

The best advice to parents and students is to develop a Plan “B” and even Plan “C” as part of the college application process.

Resources:

Colleges deferring more students                           http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-02-21/college-university-defer-more-students/53193738/1#.T0iIuEB39Bo.email

You Got Deferred. Now What?                               http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/defer/?emc=eta1

Harvard, Princeton return to early admission by Daniel de Vise http://voices.washingtonpost.com/college-inc/2011/02/harvard_returns_to_early_actio.html

The College Board’s Early Decision & Early Action The benefits and drawbacks of applying early http://professionals.collegeboard.com/portal/site/Professionals/menuitem.b6b1a9bc0c5615493883234011a161ca/?vgnextoid=eb6ccf9a10494110vcm-02000000aaa514acRCRD&vgnextchannel=7c72247eb2814110VgnVCM200000121a16acRCRD&vgnextfmt=print

Debating Legacy Admissions at Yale, and Elsewhere by Jenny Anderson                                                             http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/29/legacy-2/

Related:

More prospective college students getting deferral letters https://drwilda.com/2012/02/25/more-prospective-college-students-getting-deferral-letters/

Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’                  https://drwilda.com/tag/college-cost/

Is a woman’s college the right college for you?                         https://drwilda.com/2012/08/20/is-a-womans-college-the-right-college-for-you/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                               Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                             http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/

Is a gap year a good option for some students?

8 Oct

One Tennessee Study found that quite often kids are encouraged to choose college over vocational or trade options.  The societal push the last few years has been to have more kids go to college. Quite often schools are ranked on the percentage of kids that go directly to college from high school. So, counselors are following cultural cues they have received from administrators, parents, and the media.

Pros and Cons of Going to A Four Year College

A.     Five Reasons to Go to College

Chris Stout lists Top Five Reasons to Go to College

1.The undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma

There was once a time when college was entirely optional. Even today, smart, hard working people can develop  excellent careers and stable

lives without the aid of a university education. College is by no means

mandatory,  but when you’re ready to start building a career for

yourself, you will increasingly discover that a college degree is a

prerequisite  for many entry-level employment opportunities…. 

2.College will satisfy and expand your curiosity

If you possess a general curiosity about how and why the world works the way it does, then you owe it to yourself to attend college. Education is a personal project. If you want to develop your mental faculties and increase your knowledge base, then you have to college. If you feel that you’ve learned all you possibly can in high school, if you think that there’s nothing else that you need to absorb, then don’t go to college. If you have a passion for improved understanding, then college is mandatory.

3.College is a process of continual maturation

College is freedom. When you attend college, you are free to live on your own, according to your own priorities. As you carve out your own custom tailored living and learning experience, you can’t help but grow as a person. College is a time for self-improvement and development, so if you want to grow and mature as an individual, college is the perfect playground for self-progress.

4.College is all about networking

In college, you have the unique ability to create life-long associations in a structured environment. Networking is important, but it can also be difficult. If you want to build relations with students and faculty members, you have to put forth effort. Unlike the real world, in college, it’s easy to combine your individual interests with supportive allies who subscribe to those same interests. Take advantage of this environment and build up relationships that will help you in the future.

5.College exposes you to things you would not normally experience

When you set about choosing your path through life, it’s important to remember that finding yourself is as much a process of elimination as it is a process of discovery. Just as you seek out interests and identities, you need to rule out certain life-options and mental frameworks that you do not agree with. College exposes you to new risks, rewards, people, places, ideas, lifestyles, eating habits and career choices. Exposure is critical. You can’t form a genuine opinion on something if you’ve never been exposed to it.  

  College is a place for you to improve yourself, to satiate your curiosities,   to mature, to network, and to be  exposed to new things. College is an   important, irreplaceable experience in life. Going  to college is highly   recommended.

Stout places the emphasis on the college experience and the fact that college is not just a place for possible career training.

B.    Five Reasons Not to Go to College

Forbes. Com published Five Reasons Not to Go to College

1. You’ll be losing four working years.

There’s an opportunity cost associated with going to college: Not only will you lose the money you’ll have spent on tuition, you’ll also be out the amount of money that you could have made if you’d worked during those four years. And if your family isn’t wealthy enough to pay for your education on their own, you’ll also owe a hefty amount in interest payments for your student loans. Perhaps more importantly, with four years of experience on your resume, you’ll be far better off when looking for work than the average 22-year-old college graduate.

2. You won’t necessarily earn less money.

College grads earn an average 62% more over the course of their careers than high school grads. But economist Robert Reischauer of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., argues that those numbers are skewed by the fact that smarter kids are more likely to go to college in the first place. In other words, the profitability of higher education is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. In fact, you could probably make more money if you invested your tuition.

Put $160,000–the approximate cost of a Harvard education–into municipal bonds that pay a conservative 5%, and you’ll have saved more than $500,000 in 30 years. That’s far more than the average college grad will accumulate in the same amount of time.

4. You don’t need to be in a classroom in order to learn something.

Truly motivated learners can teach themselves almost anything with a couple of books and an Internet connection. Want to learn a hands-on skill or trade? Consider an apprenticeship.

5. Plenty of other people did fine

Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Quentin Tarantino, David Geffen, and Thomas Edison, among others, never graduated from college. Peter Jennings and John D. Rockefeller never finished high school. 

Some people discover their passion earlier in life than others. Forbes.Com addresses its comments at those folks. The calculation is that if one already knows what they want to do, college could be an unnecessary detour.

Economic Value of A College Degree

A US News and World Report article estimated the value of a college degree

As the price of a college degree continues to rise, there’s growing evidence that the monetary payoff isn’t quite as big as often advertised. The best estimate now is that a college degree is worth about $300,000 in today’s dollars—nowhere near the $1 million figure that is often quoted. “That $1 million number has driven me crazy!” says Sandy Baum, a Skidmore economist who studied the value of a college degree for the College Board last year. Baum’s research showed that college graduates earn, on average, about $20,000 a year more than those who finished their educations at high school. Add that up over a 40-year working life and the total differential is about $800,000, she figures. But since much of that bonus is earned many years from now, subtracting out the impact of inflation means that $800,000 in future dollars is worth only about $450,000 in today’s dollars. Then, if you subtract out the cost of a college degree—about $30,000 in tuition and books for students who get no aid and attend public in-state universities—and the money a student could have earned at a job instead of attending school, the real net value in today’s dollars is somewhere in the $300,000 range, a number confirmed by other studies. But, especially these days, that still makes a college degree one of the most lucrative investments a person can make, Baum notes.

Better yet, college graduates can go on to earn advanced degrees, which return even bigger payoffs. The average holder of a bachelor’s degree earns about $51,000 a year, Baum calculates. But those who’ve gone on to earn MBAs, law degrees, or other professional degrees earn about $100,000 a year.

As the price of a college degree continues to rise, there’s growing evidence that the monetary payoff isn’t quite as big as often advertised. The best estimate now is that a college degree is worth about $300,000 in today’s dollars—nowhere near the $1 million figure that is often quoted. 

The article also mentions some of the non-monetary rewards of attending a four year college. The Wall Street Journal in a 2008 article at published at the beginning of the economic downtown describes declining value of a college degree

A variety of economic forces are at work here. Globalization and technology have altered the types of skills that earn workers a premium wage; in many cases, those skills aren’t learned in college classrooms. And compared with previous generations, today’s college graduates are far more likely to be competing against educated immigrants and educated workers employed overseas.

The issue isn’t a lack of economic growth, which was solid for most of the 2000s. Rather, it’s that the fruits of growth are flowing largely to “a relatively small group of people who have a particular set of skills and assets that lots of other people don’t,” says Mr. Bernstein. And that “doesn’t necessarily have that much to do with your education.” In short, a college degree is often necessary, but not sufficient, to get a paycheck that beats inflation.

A college degree is no guarantee of either employment or continued employment.

Alternatives to a Four Year College Degree

Great Schools has a concise overview of various options should a child decide they do not want to go from high school to a four year college. What if Your Teen Wants to Skip College There are several options. Options include a gap year, trade school, vocational school, community college, and for some the military. The only option that should be off the table is to do nothing.

Victor Lukerson has written the excellent Time article, Gap Year: The Growing Appeal of Not Going Right to College:

About 1.2% of first-time college freshmen choose to defer enrollment for a year, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. What these students choose to do with their time varies widely, from expensive study abroad programs, to volunteer programs like City Year, to staying at home and saving up for college.

In 1980, no one was talking gap year,” says Holly Bull, the president of The Center for Interim Programs, a company that offers parents and students consulting in choosing the appropriate gap year program. “I’ve watched this whole concept go basically from its inception to present day. I wouldn’t call it mainstream, but there’s way more awareness and support and colleges are now beginning to endorse it as a really positive thing.”http://moneyland.time.com/2012/10/05/gap-year-the-growing-appeal-of-not-going-right-to-college/#ixzz28eFKj1Ce

Whether a person chooses to attend a four year college after high school is a very personal decision and there is no one right answer. One thing the current economic climate has taught many is there are no guarantees in life, even with a college degree. The trades may offer some a means to earn a living and a fulfilling life.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

Resources:

A publication by the government Why Attend College? Is a good overview

Article in USA Today about gap year

gap year articles

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Why go to college?

28 Nov

Adam Davidson has written an interesting New York Times article, It’s the Economy: The Dwindling Power of a College Degree:

A general guideline these days is that people are rewarded when they can do things that take trained judgment and skill — things, in other words, that can’t be done by computers or lower-wage workers in other countries. Money now flows around the world so quickly, and technology changes so fast, that people who thought they were in high demand find themselves uprooted. Many newspaper reporters have learned that their work was subsidized, in part, by classified ads and now can’t survive the rise of Craigslist; computer programmers have found out that some smart young guys in India will do their jobs for much less. Meanwhile, China lends so much money to the United States that mortgage brokers and bond traders can become richer than they ever imagined for a few years and then, just as quickly, become broke and unemployed.

One of the greatest changes is that a college degree is no longer the guarantor of a middle-class existence. Until the early 1970s, less than 11 percent of the adult population graduated from college, and most of them could get a decent job. Today nearly a third have college degrees, and a higher percentage of them graduated from nonelite schools. A bachelor’s degree on its own no longer conveys intelligence and capability. To get a good job, you have to have some special skill — charm, by the way, counts — that employers value. But there’s also a pretty good chance that by some point in the next few years, your boss will find that some new technology or some worker overseas can replace you.

Though it’s no guarantee, a B.A. or some kind of technical training is at least a prerequisite for a decent salary. It’s hard to see any great future for high-school dropouts or high-school graduates with no technical skills. They most often get jobs that require little judgment and minimal training, like stocking shelves, cooking burgers and cleaning offices. Employers generally see these unskilled workers as commodities — one is as good as any other — and thus each worker has very little bargaining power, especially now that unions are weaker. There are about 40 million of these low-skilled people in our work force. They’re vying for jobs that are likely to earn near the minimum wage with few or no benefits, and they have a high chance of being laid off many times in a career.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/magazine/changing-rules-for-success.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

The societal push the last few years has been to have more kids go to college. Quite often schools are ranked on the percentage of kids that go directly to college from high school. So, counselors are following cultural cues they have received from administrators, parents, and the media.

Chris Stout lists Top Five Reasons to Go to College Stout places the emphasis on the college experience and the fact that college is not just a place for possible career training. Forbes. Com published Five Reasons Not to Go to College Some people discover their passion earlier in life than others. Forbes.Com addresses its comments at those folks. The calculation is that if one already knows what they want to do, college could be an unnecessary detour. A US News and World Report article estimated the value of a college degree

Amanda Paulson of the Christian Science Monitor has a great article, Does Everyone Need A College Degree? Maybe Not Says Harvard Study about a new Harvard study.   

A new report released by Harvard Wednesday states in some of the strongest terms yet that such a “college for all” emphasis may actually harm many American students – keeping them from having a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood and a viable career.

The American system for preparing young people to lead productive and prosperous lives as adults is clearly badly broken,” concludes the report, “Pathways to Prosperity” (pdf).

Marcus Wohlsen of AP has posted the article, Tech Mogul Pays Bright Minds Not to Go to College at Seattle PI.Com. Wohlsen reports that tech tycoon Peter Thiel has set up a scholarship which two dozen gifted young people $100,000 not to go to college but to become entrepreneurs for the next two years.

A college degree is no guarantee of either employment or continued employment. Still, because of the economic uncertainty there is an “arms race” in education. Laura Pappano is reporting in the New York Times article, The Master’s As the New Bachelor’s

Call it credential inflation. Once derided as the consolation prize for failing to finish a Ph.D. or just a way to kill time waiting out economic downturns, the master’s is now the fastest-growing degree. The number awarded, about 657,000 in 2009, has more than doubled since the 1980s, and the rate of increase has quickened substantially in the last couple of years, says Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. Nearly 2 in 25 people age 25 and over have a master’s, about the same proportion that had a bachelor’s or higher in 1960.

Great Schools has a concise overview of various options should a child decide they do not want to go from high school to a four year college. What if Your Teen Wants to Skip College There are several options. Options include a gap year, trade school, vocational school, community college, and for some the military. The only option that should be off the table is to do nothing.

Whether a person chooses to attend a four year college after high school is a very personal decision and there is no one right answer. One thing the current economic climate has taught many is there are no guarantees in life, even with a college degree. The trades may offer some a means to earn a living and a fulfilling life.

Follow your passion, and success will follow you.
— Arthur Buddhold

There are no easy answers in the current economic climate.

Resources:

  1. A publication by the government Why Attend College? Is a good overview
  2. Article in USA Today about gap year
  3. gap year articles
  4. Advantages of Going to a Vocational School
  5. Vocational School Accreditation
  6. Accredidation Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology
  7. The Federal Trade Commission has Choosing A Career Or Vocational School
  8. How to Choose a Vocational School
  9. How to Choose The Best Trade School


Dr. Wilda says this about that ©