Is college a waste of time and money?

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Discus: Financial Aid and Scholarships: April - August 2003 Archive: Is college a waste of time and money?
By Kojikabuto (Kojikabuto) on Sunday, March 30, 2003 - 02:01 pm: Edit

it seems like a fair question in these times were everybody is so stressed. is it really worth it? what do you think about this? do you acknowledge that there is life out of college, is not the only way. I am just curious if you have anything good, an experience or comments thank you

By Maritimee (Maritimee) on Sunday, March 30, 2003 - 02:19 pm: Edit

Of course it's worth it. College graduates make a lot more money than people who didn't go to college, and they get all the good jobs/position, too. There are a lot of fields that you can't get into without a college degree.

By Kojikabuto (Kojikabuto) on Sunday, March 30, 2003 - 03:20 pm: Edit

point taken, but do you ever wonder what if.. when you are in college you do nothave any idea of what the real world is really like. Imagine you can invest all the money you are paying in tuition to own your own company. education? if you are autodidactic you dont need college. some students just go to college to waste time during class period. the only time they really learn is at 2 am by themselves in the living room hitting the calculus book.

By Wadad (Wadad) on Sunday, March 30, 2003 - 03:57 pm: Edit

There are many reasons for going to college, or not. The aim of a liberal arts education is to make you an educated person (sounds redundant I know), but not to train you for any particular career. It should make you read well, write well, communicate well, able to learn new things, give you some exposure to quantitative or scientific learning, and do these things all at a level above that taught in high school.

On the other hand, you can go to university (or some colleges) to earn a degree in engineering, accounting, teaching, or perhaps a few other fields, which explicitly prepares you to enter that field with a professional qualification.

You can also go to college or university to prepare for a graduate program, like medicine, law, business, or a PhD program in some field.

If what you want to do in life is to drive a truck, work actually making things, farm, fish and the like (all skills and professions that the economy will always need) you don't need to go to college. But you still might want to if you want to be an "educated" trucker, farmer, etc.

For some people college is a waste of time and money. In many countries (most in Europe for example) a much smaller proportion of the college-age population goes to college than in the U.S. The answer to the question depends mostly on you.

By Kojikabuto (Kojikabuto) on Sunday, March 30, 2003 - 04:08 pm: Edit

it makes me wonder: how much individuality is left in a student when they spend the whole college experience in building up a resumer or transcriot even a gpa. you definitely dont need college to become an educated truck driver or janitor. if you can handle to live on a short budget and you can manage you expenses you dont need college. many people just go to college because if they dont they are afraid of looking stupid. anyway college does not gives you a white collar job. you have the same brains and decision making ability with or without a degree or diploma. after all colege is just a business, and if you have the money you can enter as easy as that.

By Highlander2000 (Highlander2000) on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 12:13 am: Edit

Hey lets clarify some things here:

There is more to non-college degree work than farming, or driving a truck, etc. Some opportunities can be highly technical/technically intensive. However, there are some FACTS that u can bank on:

1. College grads make more money. Few exceptions.

2. College grads have BETTER, higher rank opportunities. It's quality, not quantity.

3. College grads CAN have a larger degree of certainty in their career futures/ availability of jobs. Still not perfect, but virtually always better.

4. Technical (non college degree requiring jobs) are in demand, however. As the USA becomes a larger conglomerate of services and products, more technical workers will be needed to maintain the quality of life.

5. College grads will find an increasingly tougher job market. With more people obtaining degrees, the labor pool of America is becoming "smarter." Also, colleges generally offer very high quality (relatively) educations across the board. Differences between college grads. will be harder to discern. The job market for grads could be quite tight in the future depending on economy.

This brings up an interesting point of discussion: With a college degree so highly emphasized, is America really creating a safe economic future? To the typical pro-education supporter, it does - more education = better jobs, more pay, etc. However, how are all these good jobs created unless sustained across the board growth is achieved? (which the USA does not have full grasp of) Also, technical jobs will need to be filled on a large scale, but with a proportionally smaller technical labor class, who will fill the void? Will this void hamper the US economy? It could.

I digress. But anyway, is college a waste of money? The question is black and white, but the answer is in color. It can be a waste of money if you approach with the wrong objectives/ambitions in mind. Or It could be the greatest investment u ever make. Or it may only make a slight difference. But, research shows that college does have on average a significant positive impact. Does that mean you should forget about the technical/service(non college degree) labor sector? Heck no, this sector is a critical backbone of the economy.

In my opinion, those who obtain a college degree should feel confidence in what they are doing. But why spend one's whole life on one career path? After a good 35 years of work in your degree's career field, or after all the bills/debts are paid and the kids are on their own and you've got a good bit of money set aside, don't stop working - move into the technical field. Repair machinery. Work at a restaurant. Work in a factory. Be a clerk or cashier. Do SOMETHING - I hate the picture of retirement society paints today. In it, you PURPOSELY do all of the following: get old, then retire, waste ur time away, then move into a nursing home. Screw that.
Keep contributing to the system that sustains you - don't just take, but give back. That is why when I am ready to retire from my projected career path in engineering, I wont stop working. I feel a strong Responsibility to give back, and not just money either.


By Maritimee (Maritimee) on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 01:41 pm: Edit

That's a good point, Highlander. Makes me feel glad I'm getting my mechanic's license next year.
As for retirement-- it is the way it is because people's attitude toward work. On one hand, they treat work as an integral part of their own identity and life. On the other hand, they consider work as something you get sick of and need a break from-- that's why we hear so many people say, "when I'll retire, I'll do something I really *want* to do"-- that is, in contrast to what they're doing right now.
Going through life like this is just awful.

By Crackcorn (Crackcorn) on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 07:58 pm: Edit

"College grads make more money. Few exceptions."

That's true. But if you want to be RICH, not just upper-middle class but filthy RICH, does it matter whether you graduate from UC or an Ivy? If you look at Fortune magazine's list of billionaires, did a degree from a top college help get any of them their fortunes?

By Cheetosxp (Cheetosxp) on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 08:50 pm: Edit

lol Very true.

College isn't the only factor that would determine if you would be filthy rich.
But then again, to get filthy rich, you need either a lot of skills or talent that average people don't possess, originality and creativity, have a lot of luck, or rob a bank.
But I don't think that a lot of people don't have those potentials, so they go to college.

But, if you're a person that doesn't need so much luxury, then I guess you wouldn't need to go to college.
That would be a waste of money, but not necessarily the time though.

By 1tcm (1tcm) on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 09:07 am: Edit

Maritimee, makes an excellent point. But let me shed a little light on why there are folks who say "When I retire..." Sometimes unfortunately, there are those who are pushed into a career by circumstances. Perhaps they became a lawyer, not for a love of the law, but because mom and dad said they should, perhaps they went into business because one day the family expected them to run the business, or perhaps that they just had no choice as to career, doing what they had to do to raise and provide for a growing family. It seems as though (especially between the age of 30-50) when you meet someone on the street the first question out of their mouth is "Where do you work?" We are identifed by our work ethic and social standing, and that social standing will hinge upon what you do. I think about our small town and there are two major employers, and everyone in the town wants to work for them, not necessarily because they want to work in those industries, but because they pay better than the average. So perhaps you get someone who loves another area, but ends up spending 30 years of their life behind a desk in the insurance profession.

I think, and this is JMHO, that this very reason is why we agreed to stay out of our sons decision on what to study. While he probably won't make the money after school he otherwise could, at least he will be studying a "passion" so he can get up in the morning and "love" going to his career not just "going" to work. The key is studying what you love, not what someone else wants for you. That in itself makes a college well worth the money.....IMHO anyway. :)

By Urban_Gentleman (Urban_Gentleman) on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 05:06 pm: Edit

After reading some of the above comments, I think we need to identify what we're discussing. I would hope we all know that a college education equals greater earning potential, so lets speak of this no longer. It should go without saying.

However, what should be discussed is, "wasting ones time" in terms of knowledge and the mirror image of college and high school class material.

In my opinion, they were very similar and thus a waste of time. I had to re-learn 90% of what I learned in high school. Saying college is the thirteenth grade is an insult to thirteenth grade. College is actually more like re-taking ninth grade and paying attention. It seemed I could've used my time in college, learning about new topics that are foreign in high school. Entering college should be similar to entering high school. When you enter it, you don't re-take all the material you just learned in 6th, 7th & 8th grade do you? Of course not. It's a steady and gradual advancement in learning. I tried to make the most of it by taking such courses as middle eastern politics, Israeli/Palestinian conflict, mass media in society, 20th century film and literature, stereo types in america, and every economics class I could get my hands on, just to name a few.

For the most part, all 101 courses in science, English, mathematics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, art, etc. were the biggest wastes of time in my life thus far and I've sat through some pretty bad movies in my day, mind you. None of these courses broadened my horizons.

I hate to sound entirely negative, because I did have some very enlightening courses and professors, but I would really like to get other varying opinions on the matter. Thanks in advance!

By Lynch1000s (Lynch1000s) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 03:58 pm: Edit

Some believe that people make it in the real world based on their innate abilities and skills rather than a college degree.

But just a quick note, people with liberal arts degree typically move up corporate ladders than people with science degree. 38% of CEO's have liberal arts degrees, while only 38% have MBA degrees.

Bill Gates and the rest are the exceptions. You don't need a degree to become an entrepreneur, but 80% of businesses fail in their first 3 years. If you want to become a doctor or a lawyer, you do need a degree.

In no way is a college education a waste of money. A college degree doesn't prove a lot in the real world, but not having one will (probably) hold you back from reaching your full potential.

By Jdrummel (Jdrummel) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 05:25 am: Edit

Hi I am Jessica,
and I go to Fleming College in Peterborough Ontario. I am workin on a major final exam research paper for my sociology class and it happens to be on this discussed topic. I am having issues with figuring when this issue became a social issue? I know it has been around for centuries asking the question but when did it become a serious social issue? One other question if you don't mind is if there are any legal connetions to the issue. I am studying to eventually become a lawyer and I have to relate it to legal standings but I do not see any? You guys would be awesome if I could get your opinions and I hope you don't mind me quoting your awesome and well backed opinions above . .

Thanks a Million

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