Rethinking higher ed as something more than a path to a higher pay check

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  • grandma12 Henderson, NV
    Dec. 13, 2012 12:46 a.m.

    Students and high school counselors need to get real and to SHOP for the school that has the tuition that they can afford. This kind of shopping will force the colleges to think of how they can attract students, and they might forestall building the extravagant buildings and promoting the professors who are only doing research. I realize that reseaarch is important, but some of it is just silly and useless to the realities of the job market and the students' future lives.

  • jttheawesome Scranton, PA
    Dec. 12, 2012 7:15 p.m.

    I first attended college back in the mid-1970's B.C. (Before Computers) College-level work was much more difficult, yet rewarding, back then. Jump ahead 38 years, to when I finally finished my college degree in 2010; online classes, open-book tests, nowhere near as much homework as I had in the '70's. As the "oldest kid on campus," I saw kids showing up on campus with wretched reading and writing skills, below-level math skills,and little or no foreign language skills. Most tests were either taken online or else true-and-false questions, and perhaps some multiple choice tests with an answer pool which all but gave away the correct answer. I had one class in which the professor dared to have us write - by hand, no less - an essay for a final exam. Previously, I had always excelled in essay tests, but to hear these kids today groan and moan when they found out that they had to actually WRITE OUT the answers to a series of essay questions, with no notes or open book - one would have thought that they were being tortured and executed! Bring back the "old school" schools, for heaven's sake!

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 12, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    @Ricardo Carvalho

    The price of anything is simply a function of supply and demand. My point is that demand has increased dramatically (and for bad reasons) while supply (the number of colleges) has not come close to keeping pace – if supply had kept pace the price would be unchanged. To your point, rather than continuing to artificially increase demand by subsidizing tuition expense, States would do better by increasing the supply – i.e., build more colleges.

    @ Wally West

    I agree with your second point and over time the free market will take care of that problem – if the best job a JD can get is at Starbucks, applications to attend law school should start to drop. As to your first point, sure, but at what cost? Does it make sense to spend $40K per year to get an art history degree if your job prospects are also limited to Starbucks?

    You could probably pay an art professor to join you on a summer European museum tour for a fraction of the cost, and perhaps get more out of it… except of course the piece of paper.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 7:31 a.m.

    I tend to agree with Tyler D to a certain extend. We need a more robust system of post-secondary education that includes the course of study at the technical colleges and community colleges as well as an apprenticeship system patterned after that in Germany.

    I would, however, argue with your characterization of education inflation. While the drive for everyone to go to college and the accompanying federal resources dedicated to that goal play a very large role, one must also look at state funding for the culprit. Whether one agrees that state funding should support higher education, it must be acknowledged that the increase in tuition bears a startling correlation with the decrease in state funding. Further, one should throw the ancillary services piece into the equation as well.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:31 p.m.

    re: BYU Track Star & Tyler D

    Maybe, we need a few more English Lit & Art History grads and **LOT** less MBA's & JD's?

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:28 p.m.

    @ dwaynerichards 12/11

    Or, what about... Don't know where I got this example... but those who go to college and then leave the work force after say 6 yrs to become a full time parent?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 5:50 p.m.

    Hundreds of non graduates can achieve entrepreneurial success. In terms of how many non graduates there are, however, it can be safely said that almost no non graduates are successful entrepreneurs. That's just the way it is. Bill gates and the oreck guy and the handful of others people name are the george burns of smokers or the lottery winner. The lotteries never publish the names of the losers. Best bet for kids these days is a trade.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 11, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    The main driver of education inflation is the silly notion the "everyone should go to college." This is nonsense. College, for the sake of a well rounded education and not as a trade, used to be focused on only a small minority that showed the desire and ability to absorb and profit from it. Today, a large percentage of kids are simply in it for the piece of paper and could care less about the finer points of Plato or Joyce.

    We would do much better to shift a large part of our resources to trade & technical schools and stop kidding ourselves that reading a Wiki page as preparation to write a paper on post-modern literary criticism is providing anything close to a return on investment... even an intangible one.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:52 p.m.

    I hope that people will learn to do something useful, something that creates wealth such as homes, furniture, food, electronic goods, inventions, or fills the great void for inspired, honest and wise administrators and statesmen. I hope we will have honest businesses perhaps working in co-operation rather than cutthroat competition, that we will increase the happiness of man, rather than prostituting intelligence and imagination for the glory of xyz corporation and the inglorious demise of our competitors.

    I hope people will enjoy their work, work conscienciously and know, at the end of the day, that they have added to the wealth and happiness of their fellows and provided for the comfort and wellbeing of their families too. I hope they still have time for their wives and children and for personal development.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:47 p.m.

    Red Headed stranger.

    I had classes in both high school and college where we didn't even use the textbooks at all but it was required to have them. I got an A in both classes.

  • dwaynerichards Provo, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:45 p.m.

    SLC gal,

    Not only is it a waste of time go to college for "education's sake" but it drives up the cost and makes the paper the degree is printed on worth more than the degree itself. The more people who have a degree than less value it will have. If I'm an employer interviewing 10 candidates for a position and 9 have a college degree and one doesn't and 6 of them have work experience including the one without that degree and 4 do not have any real work experience I will immediately rule the graduates without any experience out.

    At that point it would come down to those with work experience and if I feel the one with the no degree and work experience has skills that can not be learned in college I will choose them. Who cares about a piece of paper anyone can buy with loans and federal aid? Even people with developmental disorders and no work ethic get degrees. I may hire them as cashier and let them put their degree on display but they will never become my CEO even with a worthless piece of paper.

    Sad but true

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:45 p.m.

    Most college degrees are worth a token in the subway. That's the reality that these colleges won't tell you about. Much better to learn a trade. I know from experience. College was the worst decision i have ever made. It's good if you know somebody so you can fight the inflation of education and nursing degrees out there.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:41 p.m.

    In the Musical "Avenue Q" the early on song "What can you do with a BA in English?" seems appropriate. I told my kids early on in High School that they need to study something that will help them be financially independant. So far so good.

  • dwaynerichards Provo, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:32 p.m.

    "High-profile success stories like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are exceptions. Most well-paying jobs still require degrees."

    I don't believe that Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg are exceptions but are just two of the most highly known of those who have been successful without a college degree. You have Paul Allen (Microsoft), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Richard Branson (Virgin), Michael Dell (Dell), Bill Gates (Microsoft), David Oreck (Oreck), Richard Schultz (Best Buy), Alfred Taubman (Taubman) and Ty Warner (Ty) among many others. These names are more familiar than the hundreds of others highly successful people without a college degree but there are literally millions of others who are successful by any standard who did not go to college or who do not have a college degree.

    Lying to young people and telling them a college degree is required for well paying jobs is wrong. The degree means nothing if the right person comes along. A business owner will hire someone that's highly qualified and have the right work skills over someone with a college degree every time. People who are successful have something more than a degree. That's the commonality. Guess what it is.

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:15 a.m.

    College is a waste unless you're going for a specific purpose. If you want to be a lawyer or doctor, please get the degree first. Going for "education's sake" or even just to get credits until you figure out what you want to do is a waste of time and money. To survive in this economy, you can't be a bean counter, you have to be the person who makes the beans to count.

  • rogerdpack Orem, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:53 a.m.

    Skipping college "might" work well for entrepreneurs. Since they're self employed, having a degree "on paper" doesn't help them much. But for those of us who want to work in a probably helps a lot, even if it's on paper :)

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    I have always told my kids that a BS degree is a MUST to even compete in society today. An MS degree is an insurance policy that you may have to use at some point. There is always the temptation to skip the pain of college and jump into some ready cash from some start up company but usually that flash in the pan job doesn't last and you are left to find something else ... with no degree. College is a must for most kids today unless you plan on working in the trades but even there you need state certifications. There really is no short cuts to education. The worry - which is legitimate - will graduation provide a job and over the past 4 years it hasn't for the most part. Kids are left to pay off student loans with no decent jobs.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Dec. 11, 2012 7:00 a.m.

    "one-third of today's students take no course requiring more than 40 pages of reading,"

    How is that even possible? My middle school classes required that much reading. No, seriously. Please DN, provide more information on how that data was acquired because it doesn't seem possible. If it is true, then I guess the goal of having everyone get a college degree truly is a farce. An expensive, time-wasting travesty.