Published: Tuesday, May 28 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
What this survey tells me is that the top ten college are predominately
Engineering/Hard Science institutions. To paraphrase Willie Sutton: Boys and
Girls, Go into Engineering/Science because that where the money is. What it
means to me is, you realize during your undergrad years that being a competent
average Engineer pays a heck of alot more than awesome physical education
teacher. Not that there is anything wrong with being an awesome PE teacher.
In college you should make decisions that maximize your options. You create so
many options for yourself by pursuing a technical degree. There are so many
directions that you can take out of school that people will be willing to pay
you for.I've known plenty of people who felt they had little
aptitude for Computer Science or Engineering, but felt those degrees would pay
off and were willing to grit them out any way they could. It was tough going and
their grades were often just good enough to get by. They learned that there was
no shame in getting tutors and the greater understanding they gained through
being able to ask the same questions over and over until the concepts clicked,
was invaluable.Many of my colleagues are heavily involved in
interests outside of work that have nothing to do with their day jobs including
theater and competitive ballroom dancing. Are your passions in history,
foreign languages, literature or photography?A technical degree may enable
you to regularly travel and experience far off places in a way that even a
career in those fields might not. Even better, your travel plans can change with
@ Shamal - We are on the same pageStudying Engineering/Hard Science
is not for your average diletants. My classmates and I paid the price to get
graduated. A Skiing Class? Pfft!!!. We studied 50-60 hours a week outside of the
time spent in class. Many of us would knock off at 5pm for a daily workouts.
That kept me/us sane. After the break we'd get dinner and be back studying
til midnite. I've heard stories that's what the kids at Caltech in
Pasadena also did/do make it through the semester. I don't know how my
married classmates could juggle a wife and school?
There's no way in the world I spent $77k to earn my degree from BYU. And
I've had a pretty average run up in earning but am on pace to double his
ROI number over 30 years. Throw in non-earning related income (stock options)
and I'm well past his numbers. Where did he get his numbers since these
don't make much sense.
Sigh, this article isn't talking about ROI -- it's talking about raw
return, which is different. Return on investment refers to the bang for your
buck, not just the end 'bang' that is being ranked here. ROI takes both the gains AND THE COSTS into consideration, which is what makes
it useful because it allows you to see how much your money is actually working
for you. It also is not a dollar amount (like what is shown here) but a
percentage showing the ratio of how much you gained vs how much you spent. Just
because you get a 'boatload of money back' doesn't mean your
investment had a good ROI -- especially if you had to spend a 'boatload of
money' to begin with. And many highly ranked schools here are exhibiting
In the engineering program at the U, it's purposely made hard just to see
who can hack it. They cut the bottom 50% from the program each year based on
GPA. Some of the classes are ridiculously hard. I took tests that were so hard
that 35% would get you an A. And then you have to pass the FE exam - basically
an 8-hour death march - just to graduate. The pass rate on that test is less
than half.Honestly I've worked hard in my 20 years as an
engineer, but I've never worked as hard as I did in school. That's
what they're really looking for in college - whether or not you can work
hard. It's not so much about the facts and principles...it's about
your character.So it's easy to say everybody just needs to
major in something STEM-related, but the bottom line is not many kids can
survive the program.
@Brave Sir Robin:I really don't mean this to be offensive or an
attack on your and your school (maybe it provides insight into the reported
ranking), but when I went through the Engineering program at BYU 15 years ago,
our average annual pass rate of the FE exam was around 90%.
As an electrical engineering grad from BYU in 1982 I can add my testimonial to
the fact that hard sciences are not for everyone. However, there is another
aspect of ROI that I am afraid is getting lost. I am sorry that I treated BYU
as a vocational school. I took no art, no music, no history, and only one
literature class while I was there. All I expected - and all I got - was my
degree. I wish that I had gotten an education. I have encouraged my kids to be
a little broader than I was, and I encourage others to take advantage of more of
the college experience than just getting a degree.
The housing bubble burst a couple of years ago, I am just waiting for the
College Bubble to burst. The cost of an education is way out of line to its
worth - especially for the humanities which for the most part will not pay you
back what you have invested.
@executorioh,Reread robins post. Putting up your 90% number to his 100 %
number would in no way be considered offensive. The 50% pass rate is
nationwide, so you should still be proud that your program is above the average.
The study is interesting, but doesn't even cover half the real factors in
material success. 1) if you have a full ride scholarship, ROI is infinite.
So what school should you choose? Need to factor in that Ivy League doesn't
give full rides, just supposed "discounts" to tuition.2) largest
factor in material success is financial conditions of your parents. Money
generates money (usury in a sense). Money also generates valuable professional
contacts.3) this study is on average ROI, which is an inaccurate measure
of your chances to make a positive increase in your material wealth. The
percentage of graduating students with a positive ROI would be better because it
eliminates the skewed results. (I.e. the success of just 2 or 3 students could
eliminate the negative ROI of hundreds of graduates in the current study)
I am stunned that anyone is taking this study seriously. Are we expected to
believe that "only 150 schools" have a ROI that make it worthwhile to
attend college? My kids have worked and scrimped their way through Wisconsin
schools and BYU with much less debt than is suggested in this "study."
The real question to ask is why are so many Republicans trying to
convince people not to go to college?
College should teach how to put data in context. It appears that the vast
majority were either 1) schools in high cost of living areas or 2) engineering
schools. The abundance of schools in NY, NJ and CA suggest that those schools
have a higher "ROI" because there students will go to work in high cost
states where salaries are higher (their costs were much higher than the U or Y).
You would actually get a much higher ROI by going to the U or the Y and then
working in one of those states.This same factor may explain the
difference between the U and the Y. A much higher number of Y students will
return to California, Washington, and other higher cost states. A BYU grad
teaching in LA will make more than a U grad teaching in Sandy. They earned more
income - but at what cost? Engineering schools are also high on the
list. However, this is not a fair comparison as teachers, etc. make less than
engineers. Try comparing the U or Y engineering schools to the others and
adjust for cost of living? I bet the results change.
@ RBB, Yes, putting the study results in context thought is spot on!
Conceivably retiring from a high cost of living state,say California, and
retiring to a lower cost state, say Utah, is a future option for me too. @ Sir Robin. I have the greatest respect for the Grads of
the U of U Engineering school. These undergrad classes we all suffered through
winnowed out the weaker students. I've learned, those who leave can be
phenomially sucessful elsewhere. There is a retired wealthy lawyer, a Havard Law
School Grad. Monthly he puts on these Church History Seminars at his mansion in
Anaheim Hills. He has said he started out as an Engineering student at either
the U or the Y, But didn't find the course work a good fit for him after
his freshman year and changed his major. His talents obviously laid in his law
studies. @ At the Liberal Arts Deprived guy. There is
nothing stopping you from nuturing your Liberal Arts beast. De-constructing
literature should come easilier for us enginner/STEM types. My Former was a
English Lit major, now an Adjunct prof. Try it and it will grow your world view.
My father was an orphan in 1933 and did not complete HS. WWII interrupted his
apprenticeship as a Tool and Die maker, which he picked back up when he
returned. He understood the need for an education and completed his GED in
1955. he moved from the shop to an office position shortly after that and
retired years later as a Supervisor.Dad was smart, learned his craft
through experience. I believe to today that earning my BA and MBA did little to
enhanse my career, it only checked off the boxes people looked at. I retired at
a high position, depended more on experience and speciatlty training than
sitting in a classroom at night.
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