One of the biggest scams today is college education. Basically every high school student is coerced into thinking that they need to go to college in order to be somebody in life. Since they have basically no savings, they have to finance their entire four or five year college education, which typically averages out to $25,000 in student loans by the time they have their 22nd birthday. Since they’ve really never had a career job, they just assume that they’ll make big money right after college and be able to pay these loans off in no-time. Quite often though, this just doesn’t happen.
Nearly 20% of all bankruptcy filings are from 20-something year old kids. They get a phenomenal education, but can’t find a job in their field and therefore can’t pay their debts. Since their net worth is in the negative and the job that they do find is paying them $10 an hour (instead of the $25/hr. job they thought they would get), their only option is to file for bankruptcy. It’s a sad occurrence that just happens all too often.
Is College Really Necessary?
As I began to think about those poor college students that have been duped into this fantasy world of a grand career after college, I began to think, “Is College Really Necessary?” I mean, when higher education first came onto the scene, I think it was certainly beneficial. Even 20 years ago I could see a relevant purpose to the learning. After all, what was the main source of learning outside of college? Books, personal experience (via traveling and meetings), and snail mail. In order to find all the information that you needed to know for your desired job, it just made sense to get your training at a single institution.
But what about today? When you don’t understand something at work, what do you do? Do you dig out your old textbook? Do you mail someone a letter with your questions? Do you actually hop on a plane and get your answers first hand? Of course not! Here’s what most of us do. We ask Siri on our iPhones or we take our question to Google. Within seconds, we have all the information we need right in front of us.
So, with all of this information available, why don’t we just teach ourselves what we need to know? If you want to be an accountant, you could probably run a Google search such as, “what do I need to know to be an accountant?” and you could pretty easily find a helpful site that would detail all of the topics that you would need to know in order to excel at your job in accounting. You could then run more detailed searches on each one of those topics and learn them all, just like you would have in college, but for free!
So what the heck is the point of college? What does your little certificate really mean? If I were an employer, it wouldn’t mean jack squat. That piece of paper would tell me that you were able to memorize some facts from a textbook to pass your classes, but most likely, you still have a lot of on-the-job training to go through before you’re of any value to me.
The Sad Truth of Employers
The sad fact of the matter is that not only have the students been duped into thinking that a college education is important, the employers have been as well. They see that you’ve earned a 3.87 GPA and they’re suddenly interested in bringing you in for an interview. If, however, you haven’t attended college, they somehow ‘lose your resume’ into the trash can. Employers aren’t all that dumb though. They know that you may have done well in school, but that doesn’t necessarily transfer into being a model student. So, what else are they looking for? Mainly, they want to see experience. They want to know that you’ve already performed well for a previous employer and that you’ll continue to be a model employee for them as well. This is what the whole interview process is about. That college degree is just your ticket to get into the door, but should it be?
Employers Need to Change Their Brain
So, to be completely honest, there are many areas where a college degree is important, but not because of what you’re learning, it’s just for your certificate that allows you to be considered for that job you’re hunting for. But, is that really worth $100k in education, or $25k of debt once you get out? I don’t think so. Instead, I think the employers need to change their mentality on their hiring process.
If I had a potential employee walk through my doors and tell me of all the things that researched and learned on his own time in order to educate himself about the job he’s interested in, I would be far more impressed than the applicant who just sat his butt in a chair and passed a few tests by the skin of his teeth. That first candidate is a natural go-getter and is self disciplined enough to learn on his own accord. He’s the one I would hire. If employers don’t soon understand this, there will be even more college grads filing for bankruptcy and more employers that are dissatisfied with their workforce. Guaranteed.
What is your opinion? Is a college degree worthless? Is it worth the tens of thousands of dollars that you paid for it?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.