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To answer the question in the title, it depends on the career field you're looking for. For an electrician (going by your example), not necessarily, but if a student were to find an electrician certification program, it might provide a leg up.
A lot of your analysis is spot on. I don't believe in shoving your kids into college. My oldest son is in a VoTech program at the college where I work. I WANTED him to atttend, but was clear to him that were he to find a job that paid him well, kept him happy and provided a decent standard of living...I was ok with him not going to college. Understand, this is a kid who talked about dropping out of HS, can't be still for more than a few minutes before he gets bored and aggitated.
I gave him to the end of his summer following graduation to find a decent paying full time job, or all bills were his to pay. Insurance, repairs, maintenance, maybe rent. He piddled around all Summer and didn't get a job, so he had to go to college.
He'll finish this Summer with a basic certificate and thinks he can't do any more. It may be a hard lesson for him if he can't find something different, but its a lesson he clearly has to learn. He's simply not in a place in his life where he can do college. More than a waste of his time, it would be a waste of my money.
nthsll (rep: 12.4k) posted May 04, 2012
Good read VirginaPeanut, as a parent, I have chosen to invest in Colorado 529 plans for my Texas Children. The way we've set up these savings plans, the money can actually be transferred to "other" family members, should the child not attend College later on in life.
As for going to College and your article, I would give two pieces of advice to those thinking of attending:
1. Major in something the market demands, not on something you necessarily like/love. Contrary to belief, not everyone does something they love for a living. I would argue that very few do. However, most people work at something they're good at... If you're good with computers, study that, it's in demand and will be for years to come. If you're good with math study finance/accounting. Nursing/Medical professions will always be in demand as will legal/paralegal type occupations. Avoid certain degrees that will require special circumstances for use in the future... i.e. Latin, Music Therapy, Theology, English Literature, Social Sciences, Art History... etc.
2. Weigh costs vs. reward. A public school in many ways can provide you with a rewarding education at an economical price compared to a private one. I know individuals 5 years ahead of me still paying off college loans, and my "paid off" public education degree provides for a higher monthly check than their "private" one. This isn't always the case, but look at the value in the school. On top of this, it's very economical to get your basics out at a local community college and then transfer into a University.
Texas_Aggie (rep: 3.5k) posted May 04, 2012
I can only speak for myself. In my field your better off doing manual labor. Engineers in my field start at $65,00. An operator in my field should make no less than $90 his first year. After a year that engineer will start pulling in around $125k bu operators will still continue to compete with that. My second year I made $139k for working 3-4 hours a day plus all the other perks, free truck, corporate card I can essentially buy anything job related i need, fuel is paid, mileage, per diem, etc. With No college (i should say no degree), no experience. So of course it all depends on what he wants to get into but to make a good living of course its not needed.
Acidbaby (rep: 6.9k) posted May 04, 2012
Speaking as someone with a bachelors degree, two masters degrees, and working on a doctorate, I would have to say "no." Obviously if you want to be a doctor, lawyer, psychologist, nurse, etc. then college is a requirement. But if your goal is to be successful financially you can do well on your own. Several of my in-laws have owned their own small businesses since they were just out of high school and they all out-earn me by a wide margin and they are very happy and well-adjusted people. Going to college should be something that you do more purely for the education and less so to earn a living. The stats do say that you will earn more if you go to college but that does not take into consideration owning your own business or truly excelling at what you do(they are, after all, talking about average people. Clear as mud, eh?
Another thought comes to mind; I make my living as a professor and I see a great many students that seem to be out of place in college. They seem to be there because it was either someone else' idea or they are playing along with a societal norm that they buy into. They look miserable. It's not hard for anyone to discern the students who really want to be in college from those who are just doing time. Some are barely 17 (or still 16) and too immature to be in college or otherwise not ready. I think all of that is sad and a waste of a person's time and valuable resources such as student aid. Just wanted to toss that into the mix :)
The debt is part and parcel of going to college. I was able to pay mine off fairly quickly and the payments were low. Some folks do not find jobs right away, post-graduation but most should find something, somewhere. If their major was history or philosophy they are not likely to find a job related to their degree without getting a grad degree. But, those degrees often help people in sales & marketing jobs. I've not gotten wealthy in psychology but I found jobs in the field and I've loved all of them including my current job teaching psychology.
I think that the high cost of college and the dearth of opportunity for graduates make it a raw deal for most people. Unless one is a top-of-the-class student serious about pursuing a career that requires a degree, most college students are just going to end up saddled with a huge debt that will follow them to the grave. There are already many sad stories of student loans that got out of control with penalties such that the student ends up owing 3 to 4 times what they borrowed because they had no means to pay, and their loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Some students trapped in this situation have even committed suicide.
The idea that everyone MUST go to college has been drilled into every student's head, along with the borrow now, worry about it later mentality. It is very hard to get anyone to seriously consider an alternative to college, even while a growing surplus of graduates are finding little to do with their degrees.
fluffy (rep: 2.2k) posted May 04, 2012
I was fortunate enough to get a full scholarship to college. It certainly wasn't the college of my choice at all, but I knew I wouldn't be making a ton of money as a teacher and where I went did not matter too much for what I was going into.
Maybe it is because it wasn't a "top-notch" school, but I really believe I would have been an ok teacher with just my student-teacher internships but no degree. It might be because I went into Special Ed. and that really requires more experience than knowledge, who knows. A girl I know works at a restaurant and the general manager position is open. She applied and they told her the position required a bachelors degree. This woman has been working for the company for 15 years, does inventory just about every day, orders the food and equipment, and knows the restaurant inside and out. She is very bright and the owner knows that but I guess there is a policy. I used to work there and I don't think the position should require a degree. It should certainly require experience and she has plenty of that. The last GM at the restaurant had a MBA but fumbled around the restaurant making unnecessary changes and eventually quitting because of the stress. *sigh*
VirginiaPeanuts (rep: 12.3k) posted May 05, 2012
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