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Anyone thinks university is over-rated for getting a job? I think it is highly over-rated
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45 / LV-426
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Posted 1/31/14 , edited 1/31/14
I suppose I'm in the minority, but I disagree. I graduated from Stanford and between the education I received and my time in the Navy, I certainly would have never landed my position with Raytheon in Sherman, TX. (The position I was applying for REQUIRED a master's.) This led to my financial independence at age 41. I subsequently retired because it was time to pursue a less stressful life. While a degree alone may not make you rich, I would not have it any other way. Now I've sent my son off to Columbia University and the money I've invested in his future will give him a far better chance of attaining his career and financial goals than if he decided not to go to college.

Granted, there's always another Gates out there somewhere,(a guy who dropped out of college and conquered the world in spite of that)...but unless you're about to invent the next big thing, inherit a fortune, win the lottery, or hit it big in the stock market, the chances of someone achieving Gates status is slim to none.

For me, the object of going to college was not obtaining wealth, but to present myself with an opportunity to have a career and not just a job. I liked what I did in spite of the pressure, so I never dreaded going to work everyday. That's the true value of a degree.
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Posted 1/31/14
University degrees are only needed when you aim high in life. Once you reach some high ranks in the field you're fighting for, the only thing that matters then for a higher promotion is a university degree. If you have a rival and both of you had an amazing amount of experience and are both on the border of promotions, the one with the higher education degrees wins the promotion. In the end, your knowledge is an important asset to reaching higher goals.

Of course, if you're planning to do some little or acceptable job, don't even bother with university. So if you're barely clinging on the middle class, forget university, you'll just put yourself in a debt for the rest of your life.
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Posted 1/31/14

UndeadMiltonius wrote:

University degrees are only needed when you aim high in life. Once you reach some high ranks in the field you're fighting for, the only thing that matters then for a higher promotion is a university degree. If you have a rival and both of you had an amazing amount of experience and are both on the border of promotions, the one with the higher education degrees wins the promotion. In the end, your knowledge is an important asset to reaching higher goals.

Of course, if you're planning to do some little or acceptable job, don't even bother with university. So if you're barely clinging on the middle class, forget university, you'll just put yourself in a debt for the rest of your life.


Well put.
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Posted 1/31/14
Unless you have money saved up and/or have the drive to succeed in college or a higher field of education, college is a good idea. One can be very successful without a college education though. Too many people are trying to force college on people who either don't want it or just aren't cut out for it, and a lot of those people don't have any qualifications to say that. And as others have pointed out, college does not guarantee a job unless you are in a desirable field that needs workers like computer engineering. Google is always hiring for programmers. As for me, I plan on college to become a computer engineer and move somewhere cold, preferably Canada or Northern Europe. America is too fucked up with capitalism, corruption, NSA, and greed.
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Posted 1/31/14

dirty_soap_dish wrote:


UndeadMiltonius wrote:

University degrees are only needed when you aim high in life. Once you reach some high ranks in the field you're fighting for, the only thing that matters then for a higher promotion is a university degree. If you have a rival and both of you had an amazing amount of experience and are both on the border of promotions, the one with the higher education degrees wins the promotion. In the end, your knowledge is an important asset to reaching higher goals.

Of course, if you're planning to do some little or acceptable job, don't even bother with university. So if you're barely clinging on the middle class, forget university, you'll just put yourself in a debt for the rest of your life.


Well put.


Thanks, I read your earlier message and you also got the right idea. Sending your son to University to open up career chances for him is a very good idea if he plans on being something big, it will give him a huge chance. That's what University is about, opening new paths for you that would have been otherwise impossible to attain without extreme experience or talent in the right field. I bid your son good luck in his life, I say that to myself as well, will take an Economics class and try to get a PhD in physics, these are optimal for my current goal, and in all honesty, I chose physics more for the knowledge part.
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Posted 1/31/14

UndeadMiltonius wrote:


dirty_soap_dish wrote:


UndeadMiltonius wrote:

University degrees are only needed when you aim high in life. Once you reach some high ranks in the field you're fighting for, the only thing that matters then for a higher promotion is a university degree. If you have a rival and both of you had an amazing amount of experience and are both on the border of promotions, the one with the higher education degrees wins the promotion. In the end, your knowledge is an important asset to reaching higher goals.

Of course, if you're planning to do some little or acceptable job, don't even bother with university. So if you're barely clinging on the middle class, forget university, you'll just put yourself in a debt for the rest of your life.


Well put.


Thanks, I read your earlier message and you also got the right idea. Sending your son to University to open up career chances for him is a very good idea if he plans on being something big, it will give him a huge chance. That's what University is about, opening new paths for you that would have been otherwise impossible to attain without extreme experience or talent in the right field. I bid your son good luck in his life, I say that to myself as well, will take an Economics class and try to get a PhD in physics, these are optimal for my current goal, and in all honesty, I chose physics more for the knowledge part.


Thank you for the kind words. Physics is also a passion of mine and if I get too bored with retirement, I am considering going back to school to broaden my knowledge of the subject. I've read countless books, but I would love to study under one of the greats...like Leonard Suskind. I had the honor of meeting the man when I was attending Stanford, but I never got to take one of his classes.

It's a shame that the public school system is in such a sorry state in the U.S. Personally, that's why I think so many youngsters want to have nothing to do with college. By the time they get their H.S. diplomas, the thought of another four years or so of classes is utterly repulsive...and I can't blame them in the slightest. But I gotta tell ya, college is NOTHING LIKE PUBLIC SCHOOL!

I was lucky enough to get a 60% scholarship to Stanford, the Navy picked up an additional 30%, and my folks picked up the rest of the tab. So I was debt free upon graduation.

I wanted to go to college because I had (and still have) an insatiable appetite for learning. The money I wound up earning was unexpected and simply icing. There are ways to entrepreneurship without education. Aw hell, if any of you out there know the way, then by all means, DO IT! I, however, needed the knowledge before I reached my goals and it wouldn't have happened without Stanford.

Good luck to you, as well. Whatever your goals are, if you want them bad enough, you'll get there.

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Posted 1/31/14
I basically agree with the OP. I spent 13 years after high school in the University setting, earned a bachelor's and two doctorates (MD and PhD), and I don't regret a moment of it either, and yet I'd say yes, it's "over-rated" but not necessarily useless or utterly dispensable. As evidenced by the number of posts on this topic so far, people are wising up to this, unfortunately sometimes the hard way (e.g. by finding themselves with a useless degree, un- or under-employed, and hopelessly in debt), but there still seems to be a prevalent idea that a college degree is the necessary AND sufficient condition to a better life. Colleges themselves benefit by perpetuating this idea. The fact is that higher degrees are but one thing in the toolbox, and alternatives exist for those so inclined/gifted/called (e.g. the trades and other vocations-- look down on plumbers and auto mechanics all you want, until your toilet backs up sewage, your home heater won't go on and it's minus-15C outside, or your car won't run, then you'll be glad people do in fact choose and pursue these professions). For those who go to college, what you get out of it depends a lot on what you put in. Coast your way through coursework and other extra-curricular activities that tickle your fancy but give you nothing in preparation for functioning in the real world, but don't be surprised then when no potential employer or potential client or investor will give you the time of day as you've nothing to offer them. As others have mentioned, practical work experience is sometimes infinitely more valuable than time spent in a classroom. It is certainly true, though, that in some fields a college degree (and even much more afterwards) is an absolute requirement, and no amount connections or influence will get you in the door. Essentially, consider your future wisely and take the appropriate steps to prepare, while considering all the options-- and for the great majority of us, there isn't going to be an easy or guaranteed path to success. As a physician in the U.S., I'll be glad to answer questions to the best of my ability, or at least give you my honest opinion, from anyone just starting out in life and are trying to figure things out.

Some other observations/comments spurred by previous posts: I wouldn't count to heavily on your employer paying for your university-- they MIGHT do that only if that degree in your hands will benefit the company. Not all doctors make a lot of money (PhDs in certain fields in particular)-- if you're considering a doctorate degree, it'd still be wise to consider the costs as well as the actual benefits you can expect coming out to see if it'll be worth it. While if all other things were indeed equal, a higher degree might win out, it seems to me in general that the further away one gets from college, the more ones experience, post-graduate accomplishments, skill sets, and work history count rather than ones degree.
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I can't say college is overrated, because I definitely needed this, no matter how expensive it was, but I can definitely agree that not everyone needs to go to college, and going to college doesn't mean you'll become qualified when you graduate. While the vast majority of the people in my program leave skilled and mostly qualified, and some exceed that by so many levels it hurts to stand in the same room as them, there's still a handful that despite getting good grades and reaching their final year, they just aren't good at what they do.

It's definitely necessary for some paths of life, and if you can afford it, some people need the experience college provides. College is a calculated gamble. Know yourself, know your goals, and know your financial situation. And even if everything matches up, no one can predict when your house will catch on fire and all the money and time you bet goes up in flames.
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Sir_jamesalot wrote:

Right now there's an idiot proof policy on the developed world so anyone can use their equipment, drive a car, answer a telephone.
The key to living successfully is to be "of the majority." especially in a democracy.

So if you work in retail for minimum wage, are married with at least one child, rent your house watch more sport than is healthy and drug yourself into a stupor at least once a week then you are living as well as you can expect to.


Absolutely everyone I've ever known in nutshell ^

*contemplates the meaning of life* T_T
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Posted 1/31/14
I work as a system admin for a living and most of the people at my company don't have college degrees. Some of our management team doesn't either. What matters in this industry is your own knowledge and your drive to continually improve. I'm completely self-taught and have been working in this field for 3 1/2 years now. I make good money and in a couple of years, once I pass the 5 year mark, I'll be making over $100k a year.

I'm pretty happy with my situation, my career of choice, and the fact that I was able to get to where I am all without a piece of paper hanging on a frame on the wall behind me collecting dust.
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Posted 1/31/14
I think the experience of going to college alone is worth it.
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Let me preface by saying I recruit, train and maintain employees professionally.

The answer is not a simple yes or no. It is a multi-faceted issue:

1. Depends on your geographical location, and job market
2. Depends on the field of work
3. Depends on the concentration of degrees in that area
4. Depends on the amount of previous experience that is applicable to the job

If you are in the rural Midwest US, having a degree is not as essential unless you are in a specific field of work. If you are in say, Washington DC where the degree concentration is reaching 1 out of three applicants, then having a degree becomes almost imperative, because employers can require a degree simply out of supply and demand, for any position.

In the second example, having a degree simply becomes a qualifier of perseverance and basic intelligence, such as a high school diploma used to. I expect that this will likely become worse as out culture has begun to look down on any path that is not military or academic.

However, this is only generally true for those who are at the mid to entry levels. If you by some chance manage to work your way up and acquire valuable experience, that will eventually put you on equal footing with someone who has a degree and less experience, or has failed to perform better than you regardless. The reason for this is that employers are increasingly less willing to train, and want someone who can hit the ground running, so to speak.

While there is the chance you'll hit the "degree glass ceiling", it will again depend on all four factors and how valuable you are in relationship to the organizations requirements. Someone who proves able and valuable can be waived on the degree to advance, or the company may even provide the means to earn the degree while still on the job.

High school grads need to consider what is realistic for where they want to live in relationship to the lifestyle they want to have, and the industry they plan to go into. It's not a onesize fits all situation.
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Posted 1/31/14 , edited 1/31/14
The biggest problem is that my generation was raised believing that college is this end-all be-all key to whether or not you succeed in life. Everything in grade school, starting as early as elementary school, was all built to get us accepted into good colleges. I'm not even exaggerating, I remember specifically taking practice exams in 5th grade in preparation for the SAT that I wouldn't take until 11th.

But what I learned the hard way is that a degree by itself isn't that valuable. Since so many people are getting degrees nowadays, having actual job experience is starting to prove to be just as if not more valuable than a degree alone. I am working as an engineer for the military and hoping to start working on my new degree when I get stationed to a land unit, and talking with some job providers outside of the military it's interesting how much they reject fresh people out of college.

It makes sense though. You may be able to draw up schematics and spout of system parameters like a freaking manual, but if you've never actually turned wrenches and built that engine how can an employer really trust that you are competent enough?

Getting actual work experience with a degree though can make you an extremely valuable asset. It shows that you have done the job before even if just under an internship, and you have the credentials that say that you earned the knowledge to do the more advanced work that those without it can't say.

So getting a degree can be worth it depending on what it is, but my generation is really getting the shaft as far as that goes because honestly, we were bred with the idea of, "You WILL go to college or you WILL be a failure" even though it's not true, and in fact can even serve to create false expectations (psychology degree anyone?) and put you in a worse position than if you just became a manager at a McDonalds.
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Posted 1/31/14

BigDaddyDelish wrote:

The biggest problem is that my generation was raised believing that college is this end-all be-all key to whether or not you succeed in life. Everything in grade school, starting as early as elementary school, was all built to get us accepted into good colleges. I'm not even exaggerating, I remember specifically taking practice exams in 5th grade in preparation for the SAT that I wouldn't take until 11th.

But what I learned the hard way is that a degree by itself isn't that valuable. Since so many people are getting degrees nowadays, having actual job experience is starting to prove to be just as if not more valuable than a degree alone. I am working as an engineer for the military and hoping to start working on my new degree when I get stationed to a land unit, and talking with some job providers outside of the military it's interesting how much they reject fresh people out of college.

It makes sense though. You may be able to draw up schematics and spout of system parameters like a freaking manual, but if you've never actually turned wrenches and built that engine how can an employer really trust that you are competent enough?

Getting actual work experience with a degree though can make you an extremely valuable asset. It shows that you have done the job before even if just under an internship, and you have the credentials that say that you earned the knowledge to do the more advanced work that those without it can't say.

So getting a degree can be worth it depending on what it is, but my generation is really getting the shaft as far as that goes because honestly, we were bred with the idea of, "You WILL go to college or you WILL be a failure" even though it's not true, and in fact can even serve to create false expectations (psychology degree anyone?) and put you in a worse position than if you just became a manager at a McDonalds.


Really glad my military service pays for my education then! Imagine if I went for philosophy...
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Aye to that. From around when I turned 8 to almost all of high school, the only goal drilled into me was "get into a good college, get into a good college". The overall atmosphere of my high school, which was "join clubs, do volunteer work, save a pregnant woman from a traffic accident" really didn't help.
Well, what happens after college? It didn't really sink in until I was a senior that I can get into a good college, but still fail. Either academically, or in finding a career, or while I'm in a career. Or maybe I just run of out money, and while I can totally get into Harvard, I can't pay for it. I actually broke down and cried when I found out how much debt I would be in if I attended the school I was accepted into.

Although many people left theaters saying the first movie was better, this is the reason why I loved Monster U so much. They got into their dream school, they failed out of dream school, and then they climbed their way up to their goal without needing the college education. Kids need that. They need that other voice to contest what going to college means. What it can give them.
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