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College Degree vs. Skill Set

by denise knight 4 years ago in student

Does a college degree guarantee success?

South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela, has been attributed to saying, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". (Strauss, 2013). Not many would argue with this statement; however, what is meant by the term "education" could be debated. The google dictionary defines education as "the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university". The exact same source also defines education as "an enlightening experience". Dictionary.com defines education as "the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession". As one can see, there are many variations of the definition of education. Just as numerous are the avenues deemed acceptable for attaining a proper education. Education is key to success; education is key to changing the world.

The conflict with education comes into play as one entity insists their mode of education is superior to another. For example, students are indoctrinated from elementary grades to believe that a college degree is the only, or at least the superior, prosperous route to success. The messages are sent and received as high school students flock to colleges each year. The messages include: college graduates make more money, they are more successful in personal lives, and they are more influential in their world. However, this is not always the case.

Here are some facts pointing to the negative aspects of earning a college degree:

  1. "Student loan debt. It’s one stat that is currently gripping the nation at a hefty $1.4+ trillion. It’s got plenty of people worried including students, graduates, parents, employers, and politicians alike. Well, it is not to be understated to say the least; in fact, it is the second leading form of debt in the United States behind mortgage debt". (Cloud, 2016).
  2. Even if a college graduate lands a high paying job, many have 6 figure student loan debt and will spend years paying that debt off instead of accumulating wealth.
  3. It is becoming evident that skills are more important than degrees. A "survey conducted by Gallup on behalf of the Lumina Foundation found that only 9% of business leaders consider where a job applicant went to school to be "very important." Rather, the amount of industry knowledge that person possessed was overwhelmingly most important, at 84%, followed closely by the candidate's job skills at 79%." (Bond, 2015).
  4. When college graduates apply for jobs, employers overwhelmingly look for work experience rather than college degrees. "Right now, there are a hundred and nineteen thousand US-based developer job openings that mention experience". (Larson, 2015).

Self-education, skills training, and work experience cost much less and are usually more emotionally and mentally rewarding. While there are some jobs in which a college degree is absolutely necessary (doctor, engineer, scientist), there are others where self-education and skills training will open doors into the desired field.

The venue one utilizes to enter a career field must be a personal decision and must be based on what is best for each individual. One must be careful not to allow society or the experts to manipulate them into jumping on the college bandwagon if they would prefer another mode of education.

References

Bond, Casey (2015). Why college isn't worth the money. FORBES. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/caseybond/2015/09/04/why-college-isnt-worth-the-money/#4202540e653d

Cloud, Drew (2016). Student loan debt statistics 2017. THE STUDENT LOAN REPORT. Retrieved from: https://studentloans.net/student-loan-debt-statistics/

Larson, Quincy (2015). Data Shows Tech Employers Are Looking For Experience Over Education. FORBES. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/09/15/data-shows-tech-employers-are-looking-for-experience-over-education/#cd2a48e719c7

Strauss, Valerie (2013). Nelson Mandela on the power of education. THE WASHINGTON POST. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/12/05/nelson-mandelas-famous-quote-on-education/?utm_term=.c222ee240bd8

student

denise knight

wife, homeschool mom, author, musician, educator, and counselor

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