Friday, May 11, 2007

Unless You're Going Into a Hard Science, or are Super-smart, Skip College

College not a necessity for all students
By Bo Hewey
Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram
May 8, 2007

[All emphasis added]
[I]f all high school students went to college, would they all get high-paying jobs upon graduation?
Despite continually hearing how the economy is changing and work in the future will demand that all employees have college degrees, the answer is no.

Based on Department of Labor Statistics, scholars Jean Anyon and Kirsten Green conclude that 77 percent of new and projected jobs will be low-paying and a meager 26 percent of these will require a college degree. In addition, of the 20 fastest-growing occupations, only six require college degrees.

Dennis Redovich of the Center for the Study of Jobs and Education points out that 53 percent of jobs of the future -- employing 81 percent of all workers -- will be low- or average-paying jobs. Of all of the jobs projected for the year 2014, only 21 percent will require a bachelor's degree.
Meanwhile, in 2003 about 32 percent of the workforce had bachelor's degrees,
which explains why many college graduates end up underemployed.

This is particularly true of graduates who do not attend high-status private colleges and universities.
Stanley Aronowitz found that a full 75 percent of graduates of lower-tier colleges end up in working-class jobs.

Knowing these statistics, does it make sense to be encouraging large numbers of students to attend college when their future employment opportunities will likely not match their educational credentials?

[A] recent article noted that two-thirds of the jobs being created in the fastest-growing sectors require some education beyond high school. Though this may be true, it does not negate the above statistics.
A small number of jobs may be growing quickly, but these jobs continue to be a very small proportion of overall employment...

If a young person of average drive and intellignce attends State U., maybe even living at home if in a large urban area, or attends a nearby Community College for a couple of years before transferring to the U., then it probably makes financial sense for them to go to school.

But graduating with a Liberal Arts degree and $ 60,000 in student loans makes little sense.

Trade or vocational school is much cheaper and faster, and there are plenty of fields like auto mechanics, surgical techs, computer techs, or even the culinary arts, where a young person could be making $ 30,000/yr two years after graduating high school. (Or 40K if they live on the West Coast or in the Nor'east).


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

If maximizing income is the goal, then going to work for someone else is not the way to go about it, no matter what your education.

May 11, 2007 9:18 AM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

This is true, but rather few are really ideally suited for entrepreneurial success. 20%, maybe ?

That was recognized as far back as Aristotle, when he wrote in Politics: "For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule."

May 11, 2007 10:03 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Agree, most should not have been sent to Adv. babysitting univs., which was only full employment for yuppies to pumped out far too many hot air and paper so-called professionals to live off other people's and the genuine productive & export sectors.

U.S. needed to emphasize technology, and high level of skilled productive sectors.

@90% of subjects and programs should have been cut from univ. thirty five years ago.
Sc, technology, engineering, medicine should be favored.

Most are expensive Adv. Babysitting for the next generation.

Would have separate fee supported only Academies for arts, music, literature, journalism,etc. etc., including sports & rah rah sports of hormone problem participants.

May 11, 2007 1:30 PM  
Blogger David said...

Let me guess on which side of the line English composition falls.

May 11, 2007 8:10 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

One of the primary purposes of having kids go to college is to help ensure their indoctrination with the liberal point of view. That's very important (um, well, to liberals, anyway).

May 11, 2007 10:42 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

It would be nice if students actually had a command of English composition coming out of high school, but reports from the field indicate that even a college degree is no guarantee of even basic ability in that regard.

But I don't really know how widespread is the problem. Maybe the vast majority of h.s. grads are just fine.

May 11, 2007 11:22 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...


My experience is that it is a problem, but that attending college doesn't fix it.

Mr. Eager;

It's about efficient maximization. If the best you're going to do is an average job, which you can get with or without losing 4 years of income / seniority while accumulating $50-100K in debt, the college approach seems obviously sub-optimal.

May 12, 2007 7:06 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Bret, I don't think that liberalism is as pervasive across the whole of US colleges as you imagine.

May 12, 2007 10:47 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Don't want the hot air theories propagandizing of 18 to 21 year olds ...they haven't worked five years to pay taxes as an adult..

You make like hot air and flowery language usage, but you can keep your criticisms to yourself or I might just have to use very clear compound sentences, descriptive participial phrases, and maybe even gerunds to tell you where you can put them.

You have not a clue of the level my smarts and savvy with tested mettle (as in application vs. theories)

I have seen enough in life, that I have no respect for any one who doesn't have those characteristics any more.

Basic phrases to lines are are that are needed for comments to a blog.

May 12, 2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger David said...

Alexandra: I ain't looking for no style or grammar. I simply don't understand what you're trying to get across. Presumably you'll agree that you're arguments will be more successful if your audience had a fighting chance of figuring out what you're talking about.

Essays that advocate a point of view have only one form, generally summarized as "tell them what your going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them." In other words, state a thesis, present evidence, then restate your thesis as a conclusion based upon the solid foundation of your evidence. There can be some flourishes, like pointing out logical fallacies in the thinking of those who disagree with you, but that's the basic structure.

May 12, 2007 8:18 PM  
Blogger David said...

If you follow that structure, you will have a chance to persuade people. Not only will they understand what point you are trying to make, but they will have an objective reason to agree with you. They'll also think that you're smart, which couldn't hurt.

May 12, 2007 8:21 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Academia prefers hot air and papers.Contrary to what is indoctrinated by the hot air and paper crowd, the layers get in the way of clear thinking. Only academics and attorneys favor use of the extra layers of participles, gerunds,etc. phrases do not demonstrate clear thinking.

Attorneys get paid for extra money
filling reams of papers with circular reasoning and arcane case references. It's a British
based court system (almost anti-American) and very costly attorney business monopoly. Anyone who won't face the fact that power and money rule is in a fantasy. Facts, logic, fair play, and equity be damned.

May 14, 2007 9:30 AM  
Blogger tefta said...

From grade school up, we were exhorted to write clearly and every literary effort, no matter how trivial, needed an introduction, a body and a conclusion. I wonder if schools today teach anything like that.

As far as the legal profession using language to obfuscate, I tend to think the opposite. In order to make the meaning as unambiguous as possible, legal documents may use out-dated formulations that have exact meaning rather than the less rigorous speech of everyday communication.

Just a word about blogging. I think the charm of a virtual community is that there is no need for small talk, an over-rated skill in my opinion that I never fully mastered.

May 14, 2007 10:12 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Some, perhaps many, occupations use a college degree as a proxy for the ability to plan ahead, make a serious personal commitment, and work continuously towards an established goal.

While the intellectual corpus of my profession is non-trivial, it certainly doesn't require extraordinary IQ, or extensive academic preparation.

However, it is very difficult to get hired without a degree. The training is both very expensive and intensive. Consequently, it requires the ability to plan ahead, make a serious personal commitment, and work continuously towards an established goal.


I must second Dave -- your writing requires a great deal of work to suss, and leaves the suspicion that when I am done, I may have mis-sussed the point entirely.

May 14, 2007 3:11 PM  

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