Is Getting A College Degree Worth It These Days?
By: Brian Kim - August 28, 2007
I got the idea for this article after overhearing a conversation the other day between two teenagers. One was arguing that getting a degree was the only way to get a good job to make good money and the other was arguing that getting a degree wasn’t necessary in today’s day and age in order to make good money. I’m sure you or someone you know have had this debate at least once and I think it’s one that’s becoming louder and louder with each new generation. One side drags the income chart out and points to the statistics of bachelor degree holders earning way more than high school graduates The other side then gestures to famous high school or college dropouts and the successes they’ve had, proudly pointing out that they didn’t need degrees to succeed and that they had college graduates working for them. One side is proud to claim themselves as “well rounded” for the education they received at university. The other side points out that what they learned in school doesn’t really help or apply in the “real world.” The two seem to be endlessly at war, each countering the other’s arguments, dragging the debate to the point where there seems to be no clear winner. Every side seems to have its own pros and cons. So let’s sort this whole mess out and discover the true value of a college degree and see if it is really worth it in this day and age. Ever since we were little, we were told college was the answer by our teachers and our parents. We were put on the college conveyor belt. It would give us the good life. It would get us the job and we would make good money because of it. And they were right.
If they said that to us thirty years ago.
The idea that a college degree alone will help you in life today is obsolete. Back in the day, everything that was said about getting a degree was true. If you had a degree, you separated yourself from the pack. Not many people were able to get degrees because not many people were able to afford college. It was normally reserved for the rich or upper middle class. And that’s precisely why the degree was so valued, It was valued because it was scarce.
Scarcity creates value.
Nowadays, more and more people are going to college and in turn, a lot of degrees have been handed out so the scarcity of a college degree has dropped. For every job opening there is, you have a hundred applicants, all with degrees. What’s going to separate them from one another? The value of a college degree has declined.
But is there some value left?
The answer is yes.
Here’s the thing that a lot of people overlook when having the degree debate. Most people are only thinking of college in terms of a vehicle that gets them a good job after they graduate. They fail to realize the other benefits of going to college, aside from getting a job, that are intangible. Things like finding a marriage partner, making life long friends, making good contacts, networking with classmates and professors, the college life itself, exposing yourself to a broader scope of education, developing analytical and critical thinking skills, etc. If you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars on an education, you might as well get the most out of it because after all, it is an investment on your part. Unfortunately, according to the rules of society, or the system, whatever you like to call it, having a college degree does open a lot of doors and that’s just the way it is. If you don’t have a degree, your employment options are significantly reduced. Getting a college degree is important if you want to open up your possibilities in terms of employment. Ask any job recruiter and you’ll see just how important having that degree on your resume is in that respect. Why that is so, I have no idea. That’s just the way the system is set up and that’s how the game is played unfortunately. A college...