Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Night OLists Happy Hour: Is College Worth It?

(Note:  This question has been suggested for Diana Hsieh's next Rationally Selfish Webcast, where she discusses various questions related to practical ethics, each Sunday morning.  If you find this topic of interest, check out her webcast info page here.  She suggested the topic for Happy Hour, and I think its a good one!)

Something that seems essentially taken for granted these days is the importance of a college diploma.  But is college really worth it?  As education costs continue to rise, and students/graduates find themselves saddled with huge amounts of student loan debt, one can easily see from the point of view of cost-benefit analysis that the question is not trivial.

Add to that the amount of time involved - typically 4 years for a bachelor's degree, and the cost side of the equation gets even more heavily loaded.  Those four years could be very well spent earning money, making inroads, and learning valuable lessons that can only be gained in the workplace.

Many professions these days require some kind of government license or certification, which usually requires an accredited degree.  For individuals absolutely dedicated to pursuing careers in this type of field, there may not be a better option than college.  This was my case, as I knew I wanted to be an architect from my early teenage years.

Also, many employers are unfairly biased towards those with degrees, who may be completely lacking in basic skills needed for the job.  I've seen plenty of this at firms I've worked in, and I'm happy to report that in my observation, justice usually prevails; those who can't cut it generally don't last long.

Yet, it seems that for many young people whose career plans are uncertain, college simply becomes an expensive 'parking spot' in life, where they can hang out while they explore career options and fields of interest, trying to decide what they want to do with themselves in the long run.  I can't help but think that many of these students would ultimately be better served by getting a job, experiencing the real world, and making further career choices from there.  (My personal experience in academia strongly reinforces this point for me.)

What do you think?  Is college worth it?  Let's discuss in tonight's Happy Hour.


Appetizer:  Did you attend college?  Why or why not?  What considerations went into your decision?  Knowing what you know now, would you make the same decision?

Drink Special:  Are you considering pursuing higher education or returning to school?  What do you hope to get out of it?  Are there other options available that you would consider?


Happy Hour takes place every Tuesday night, from 9-10 p.m. Eastern and 6-7 p.m. Pacific, at the new OList Chatroom.  Check your OList email for the login and password.

For more info on the OLists, check out the OList Events page here.

Your hosts for the OList Socials are @DianaHsieh@laforgetm (aka William Green) and myself, @Earl3d

1 comment:

  1. Just got my cheque for over $500.

    Sometimes people don't believe me when I tell them about how much you can earn filling out paid surveys online...

    So I show them a video of myself getting paid $500 for doing paid surveys to set the record straight once and for all.