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Old 04-17-2007, 11:07 PM   #16
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Originally posted by redkat
I think we overpay those with the most schooling and shortchange ourselves by not compensating people enough for doing other essential work. These things lead us to encourage EVERYONE to get a degree.
But you know, that's not even necessarily true. PhDs, for example are by and large not well compensated. The rate of success for a PhD in biological sciences to be put on tenure track (ie have their own lab) is somewhere around 2%, believe it or not. The other 98% will work in industry (mostly big pharma or biotech), or as research associates or highly qualified techs or will do peer-reviewed editing for scientific journals. And here we're talking about people who did a 4 year BS + a PhD of about 5-7 years (no pay except grad stipend) + on average 3 years of postdoc (paid ridiculously little, no better than techs). So you're talking about 12-14 years postsecondary education for little compensation.

The only people who are getting compensated really well are those who do a professional program after their undergrad. Everyone else....spending a lot of money for questionable benefits. Tuition is just absurd.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:15 PM   #17
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It's so depressing how little a bachelors is worth

With the shrinking of the middle class, though that BA isn't worth much it's better than nothing. There are plenty of smart people in the world who never got advanced degrees and contributed to society. It is sad that now to have any hope of a good job you've got to fit into the college model. To have a comfortable lifestyle you've got to spend a good eight years in school.

I think we overpay those with the most schooling and shortchange ourselves by not compensating people enough for doing other essential work. These things lead us to encourage EVERYONE to get a degree.


I just started back in school after being out for ten years. Reading this makes me feel like it's all going to be a waste of time.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:22 PM   #18
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Nah, you're doing paralegal, right? Those kinds of programs seem better because they are more specific. Compare that with someone who just has a degree in "biology", in a very general sense. What would you do with a degree in biology?
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:26 PM   #19
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Nah, you're doing paralegal, right? Those kinds of programs seem better because they are more specific. Compare that with someone who just has a degree in "biology", in a very general sense. What would you do with a degree in biology?
Yep, the main reason why I chose that program is because you can essentially get a job anywhere with that degree.

Ok, I feel better now than I did after reading through this thread the first time, lol.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:32 PM   #20
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I think you are doing it the way more people SHOULD be doing it. You went back once you figured out what it is you want and now you're in a specific program that is very practical in terms of being trained for an actual job and there being a demand for these kinds of people.

Phil keeps saying "I never should have gone to college just because my mom pushed me too." He's got a B.S. that's basically BS to him because he didn't get into the program he wanted and the degree is in a field where most of the employees are short term or volunteers. Now he's studying for what he REALLY wanted all along and what will guarantee him a job, being a younger man in special ed with a K-5th teaching certificate.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:59 PM   #21
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But you know, that's not even necessarily true. PhDs, for example are by and large not well compensated.
The academic job market is so oversaturated right now that only a miserably small percentage of graduates land teaching jobs their first year out.

I'm graduating next month with a PhD in English. I've been on the job market since October, and even though I've stopped counting, I know I've applied for at least 60 teaching jobs, everything ranging from one-year visiting positions to community colleges to small and medium-sized four-year schools. I had one preliminary interview in December, but I've had absolutely nothing beyond that. Half the schools never even bother to send rejection letters. I'm a very qualified applicant; it's just that for every job, there are often several hundred people applying. I'm to the point now that I'm going to have to take anything that's offered to me. I have to start repaying my student loans in November, and I have very little in savings. My university has offered me an adjunct position for the fall, and I've tentatively accepted it, but after going to school for the last 10 years, I'd really hoped to be making more than $5,000 a semester (without any healthcare whatsoever).

Not all high school graduates are ready for college. Some go only because they feel like they have to, and those are often the ones who get very little out of a college education. I even see graduate students who are still in school because they don't want to go out into the "real world." What so many of them don't realize is that they're wasting their own time and money not to mention the time of their classmates and professors if they're not committed to their own education. Not that students have to know right away what they want to major in or pursue as a career, but they need to be willing to explore and do the work necessary to figure things out.

Very often, I think returning students have a much better perspective. They have clearer goals and a better understanding of what they want out of life. Some "traditional" students (I hate the "traditional"/"non-traditional" division) possess that perspective, but I hate seeing bright people drifting aimlessly through college because their parents are footing the bill and they don't feel like actually working.
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Old 04-18-2007, 08:50 AM   #22
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Yep, the main reason why I chose that program is because you can essentially get a job anywhere with that degree.

Ok, I feel better now than I did after reading through this thread the first time, lol.
No, you totally did the right thing. There are some undergrad programs that are worth it - anything that leads you to essentially having a professional degree, particularly if it carries a license with it is gold. They can't hire a non-paralegal to do paralegal work, and that's a huge advantage you have in the job market. Meanwhile when they're hiring somebody for general office work, you get several hundred applicants with varying qualifications.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:18 AM   #23
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its a pretty scary reality. Especially with your wack paying back schemes for your loans.

Bonoismymuse - i really feel for you. I think its totally disgraceful that you have put in so much effort, only to take a job way below your professional level and barely earn enough to pay back the student loans you took out SO you could gain a better position!

I agree with whoever said college is not for everyone - i think they really need to bring back specific degrees and trades, instead of widesweeping generalised degrees that way people gain specific skills.

I'm just thankful for my public relations degree and my post grad in teaching - no one can take my friggin jobs (well pr anyone can do, but i have and accreditation and am a memeber of the PRIA institute...so that is very favourable)

good luck with the job hunting!
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Old 04-18-2007, 04:27 PM   #24
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Im not complaining as long as China and India are expanding.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:24 PM   #25
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Originally posted by anitram


There are some undergrad programs that are worth it
I'm not really sure what you mean here. Some undergrad programs are inherently less "worth it"? According to who?

I was in one of the most popular programs, in a very broad field, in the worst economic climate in this country, but it was worth it to me because that's where I fit and that's what made me happy (after trying four other programs - with considerably more stable job prospects - that made me miserable). It doesn't guarantee me a job anywhere, but I'd rather be happy with myself. Professional degrees and vocational-track programs aren't simply better just because you'll get a higher paying job.

I suppose it all depends on what makes us happy. Work doesn't really make me happy or sad, I don't care for it one way or the other, I just do it because it pays the rent, puts food on the table, and gives me the opportunity (financially) to do what DOES make me very happy, which is volunteering for the dogs who pay nothing and put me in the hole with all the crap I spoil them with. I can't wait for Phil to get a job so I can volunteer full time. Do I regret going to college or think that was a waste? No way! I plan on using my degree later on in life, since it taught me a lot about administration, operating an organization within legal standards, marketing, and dealing with people in general. I think I accomplished a lot in college and I'm happy with how I can use that, even if it has nothing to do with a professional career.

I think ALL undergrad programs are "worth it", just for the right people at the right time in their lives.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:37 PM   #26
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I should have clarified....what I mean is that before, a few decades ago, a BA meant something and gave you a big leg up in the world. Today, an undergraduate program means nothing anymore, people (students and employers alike) take it for granted, and you are simply not as competitive in the employment race with a BA when so many people have how many other degrees concurrently.

I'm not saying nobody should do an undergraduate degree - obviously it has worth. But on its own, it has inherently less value in our world because people no longer see it as anything special or out of the ordinary. Everyone and their brother pretty much has one.

And I get your point about wanting to use your degree later on - I think most people do want to get into the field that interested them enough to spend 4 years studying. However, once again, you go into whatever field you've chosen and now you're competing with hundreds of people who have an undergrad and probably hundreds who have grad work or some other degree. Which makes them much more competitive and so the "worth" of your undergrad is by comparison lessened. 40 years ago, fewer people went back to school for second or third degrees, and the competition was therefore less stiff.

That's what I meant. So I'll rephrase: an undergraduate degree has worth, but alone, these days, you are much more handicapped without continuing your schooling than you would have been in a different time.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:44 PM   #27
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I guess if you treat college as a glorified training program for a specific job, then perhaps things are not what they were 20, 30 years ago. However, if you look at a college as an actual chance for higher learning, then I cannot see how anyone can term any degree not worth it. Even the worst institutions might provide you with that one class, that one professor, who fires your interest, or imagination, and spurs you on to do something you never imagined you'd be interested in.

I used my 4 years in college as a chance to get a degree in a certain field, but, I also took as many electives not related to my field of study as permissable, and I continue to take non-matric classes when time allows. I'm not pretending everyone should look at college as a 4 year liberal arts experience, but, it does sadden me when people look at college as a means to a professional end, only. I'm not implying anyone in here said or implied that, just saying that I see that attitude all the time, and it, for whatever reason, bothers me.

Oh, it might be worth adding that I do ok in my field, after starting as an intern, the very bottom, and climbing my way to whatever you'd want to call the level I'm currently at. And I'm in a field that brings me great joy, always has, regardless of the salary I've commanded. So, I feel like I made some decent choices regarding education and then about how to approach my jobs. I've noticed, over the past few years, in hiring new people, that they take maybe 2 minutes in an interview to ask about upward mobility, whereas in the past, we'd get to that, but it was not necessarily the first thing out of candidates' mouths. They also get antsy after a year if they are not promoted. It's like the example used before, about students being irked over getting a "C". Just because you worked hard and well for a year does not mean you magically get promoted. Eh.

Lastly, I agree with Bonoismymuse that students that return to school to complete unfinished degrees or get additional degrees make the best students, because their motivation is usually purer, and more mature.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:03 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoIsMyMuse



Not all high school graduates are ready for college. Some go only because they feel like they have to, and those are often the ones who get very little out of a college education. I even see graduate students who are still in school because they don't want to go out into the "real world." What so many of them don't realize is that they're wasting their own time and money not to mention the time of their classmates and professors if they're not committed to their own education. Not that students have to know right away what they want to major in or pursue as a career, but they need to be willing to explore and do the work necessary to figure things out.

Very often, I think returning students have a much better perspective. They have clearer goals and a better understanding of what they want out of life. Some "traditional" students (I hate the "traditional"/"non-traditional" division) possess that perspective, but I hate seeing bright people drifting aimlessly through college because their parents are footing the bill and they don't feel like actually working.
I have to agree with you as a graduating high schooler this year. I know of so many kids in my class who are going to college, but like to party way too much, and are only going because "they should". It's ridiculous. Of course, they're the people who will end up flunking out, but they shouldn't have been in a college setting to begin with; they simply aren't ready to handle the responsibility of doing work without parents watching over their shoulders.

Good luck with your job search as well! I'm sure you'll find a great job
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:23 PM   #29
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I guess if you treat college as a glorified training program for a specific job, then perhaps things are not what they were 20, 30 years ago. However, if you look at a college as an actual chance for higher learning, then I cannot see how anyone can term any degree not worth it.
Eh, I think my posts are being misunderstood, but whatever.

Look, of course there is value in going to get a degree. The purpose of a university was never to train you technically, it was to teach you to participate in critical thinking. That is still true today. However, let's also face reality here. College today is VASTLY more expensive than it used to be. There are people I know who have debt of $60K for an undergraduate degree. There is one I know who owes $75K. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to start out in life that deep in the hole? Particularly when an undergraduate degree, in most cases, is not going to lead you to a highly paid job! These kids are graduating into the workforce to make what, $35K annually? $50K if they're lucky? Well good luck paying off your loans and starting a family, buying a property in one of the expensive cities, etc. It's absolutely unreasonable.

So while in theory it's all nice that we can go and learn for 4 years, the reality of the matter is that it is no longer financially feasible to do so for a lot of students out there. And that's very, very tough.

My Mom is a prof at a top university. When she went to school, she studied English and did a double major in Art History because it interested her. So she dabbled. University was practically free back then and she had no debt so of course she didn't mind going to grad school which also practically cost her nothing and didn't put her in debt. She said that today, she would not advise my brother to do the same (he was thinking about it) unless he was absolutely certain only because the debt incurred is astronomical and the benefits are more and more questionable. If you absolutely love it, go ahead. But it's not unreasonable at all for somebody who is planning on having a family, or who has other personal interests to ask themselves: is this worth the debt that I'll be paying off for the next 20 years. For a lot of people, that answer will be no, and I can't blame them.
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:39 PM   #30
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These kids are graduating into the workforce to make what, $35K annually? $50K if they're lucky? Well good luck paying off your loans and starting a family, buying a property in one of the expensive cities, etc. It's absolutely unreasonable.
It still beats having only a HS diploma, which is harder to advance with. I think there's something like a $20k+ annual income gap between those with a HS diploma and a 4 yr. degree.
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