A new study released by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity reports that 37% of employed college graduates don’t need their degrees to perform the jobs they have.
The implication of the study is that attending college is a waste of time. This assumption might be true if a person’s reason for attending college is solely to gain practical training for entering the workforce.
At a liberal arts school, students study many subjects which might not seem relevant to a person’s livelihood. Literature, language, religion, art, and history aren’t considered worthwhile by realistic, money-driven types. They don’t produce jobs like the fields of finance, computers, medicine, and engineering do.
A liberal arts education might not direct a person towards any one particular profession, but it does hone one’s skills in reasoning, problem solving, critical thinking, and writing, all of which are highly desirable for a career in any field. Having a true education, rather than a certificate which denotes your competency to perform a task, makes for a more cultured, well-rounded, interesting individual who is appreciative of the world and how it works.
Vivek Ranadivé wrote for Forbes last year that “A Liberal Arts Degree Is More Valuable Than Learning Any Trade”:
I think we should make the liberal arts education more rigorous. If you teach students one trade, that skill might be obsolete in a few years. But if you teach people how to think and look at lots of information and connect dots – all skills that a classic liberal education gives you – you will thrive.
College used to have value. Now it’s a post-graduate assumption. With almost 70% of high school graduates now going on to college, not going to college has a stigma attached to it.
It’s impossible to have such widespread higher education and keep quality high. A college degree no longer sets a person apart, but keeps him afloat. Graduates feel lost when their degree in a narrow, specified field doesn’t get them the job they envisioned. If people want a technical job, why squander four years and thousands of dollars of debt on an education that’s often just prolonged job training sprinkled with liberal indoctrination along the way?
Tech schools, community colleges, and apprenticeships are underrated. Not everyone is suited for college, and not everyone wants to go. Everyone in America feels pressured to attend, and a college degree is now, according to Dr. Marty Nemko, a career consultant who appeared on John Stossel’s feature about “The College Scam,” “like a hunting license for a job.”
A college education isn’t necessary for most jobs, but a degree has become a requirement simply to apply for many. The result is paralyzing student loans for a generation, and a diluted sense of what education means. If people do decide to attend college, they should be rewarded with an education that will prepare them for whatever the economy might bring.