College Degrees have Become Meaningless


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Scarab Sages

Mmmmm....cookies.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
I wish my professors would do this. It would lessen the feeling of smug entitlement I've been seeing here. I worked very hard to get this far. However, a lot of the other students are simply Mustang-driving trust fund babies who thought "I don't know what to do with my life. Art school's easy, right?"

Be patient Shiny, I think I said this before but freshman year does a remarkable job of weeding out those folks as it is a tremendous amount of work and only gets harder as the years progress (at least it was at my school).


I read the article and having read all the posts I can only relate my personal experiance in the fact that my degree has made a world of diffrence in my life.

I didnt get my degree untill 2002 after having worked as a hog farmer,factory worker for some of the big boys(Hamilton Beach,M J Soffe and Black & Decker)finally out in Grand Junction, Colorado I got sick of working as a Optical Fabricator for 4.90 an hour(I was making more than most folks out there, I was male so I got paid more, most of the women were getting 3.75 an hr.) I joined the navy, had the time of my life and miss being in everyday. Got my AS in Electronics, and after travelling around for a few years as a PC support tech,gotta go where the works at, I am making more than I have every made in my life and am happier than I have ever been.

My degree played a large part in that turn around. With out the GI Bill and my degree I would still be castrating hogs, or guiding an over excited boar into the sow cause he cant hit the hole so your job is to reach under him and guild the missile.
As a counter point to this my buddy 3 degrees in computer science,electronics and something else and he makes 7 bucks an hour as a security guard for a methadon clinic, and hes armed. I make over 3 times his hourly wage and he has more education than I can imagine, he's forgotten more about computers than I ever will know.
The degree is important but the drive of the person is what makes the success. Final note to any hog farmers no insult was intended in any way shape or form, it was a job but not one I was suited for.


Tarren Dei wrote:
We should stop expecting universities to be primarily responsible for producing a more educated society and start looking for more ways to share the task of producing learning societies to other areas.

I think both I agree and disagree with this statement.

I agree, as has been stated previously by another poster, the emphasis placed on college-level education as opposed to apprenticeship/work experience for some fields is unnecessary; and effectively it should be re-examined for a more equal recognition of merit "education" wise. If I am understanding correctly, I believe this is the spirit of what Tarren Dei is saying above.

If taken literally, however, I must disagree. I truly believe that universities should have the primary responsibility for producing a more educated society and those graduates of them viewed on the same level of respect usually provided to a medical doctor or rocket scientist. As a society, we regard those fields with such awe forgetting there are several other fields which one can study which will have the same intellectual and work ethic standard required to acquire an advanced degree in them. Such theoretical education needs a location recognized to be the source of esteemed learning to encourage the brightest to strive for the opportunity to learn there such as it used to be.

Am I saying that universities should be elitist? Hell, no. Everyone should deserve their shot to try and enroll for that education, but if a person can't prove they have the education to be there, they shouldn't be there. It shouldn't be based on heritage, how involved they are in a variety of clubs, or community service. It should be an environment for true intellectuals to thrive and be recognized as such. Universities should be reponsible for creating a more educated society.

My favorite example is how universities and colleges are portrayed in fantasy settings much like the games we all roleplay. They are difficult to get into and produce the most educated people in any realm. And in times of strife or when faced with problems the king's military might cannot solve, the fantasy settings usually turn to these universities for the problem solving. In our modern age, we do have corporations and government think tanks to do that; but the need for universities as the origin of these educated folks remains.

If the movie Good Will Hunting is any example, we have intellectual geniuses who have no need to learn in order to be smart, but they still need universities as a forum to learn how to express themselves and connect with others in their field. One shouldn't expect an artisan to produce without the medium needed to do so. I believe universities are to intellectuals and a "more" educated society as studios are to painters or dojos are to martial artists. Personally, and perhaps alone, I feel universities should be tasked with producing intellectuals fine-tuned to be the respected members of society they always used to be in history. I feel the devaluation of intelligence in society over celebrity or the next quick-rich scheme has ultimately led to the current view of higher education. Artisans and philosphers are no longer being recognized based on their individual skillsets which is where universities and technical schools (apprenticeships) really need to get back to and should actually be held accountable by society for doing so.

Like I said, I believe the spirirt of Terran Dei's words were just regarding a more equal footing of recognition between university-style education and apprenticeship/work experience, it's just the wording used that struck a chord with me; and in no way am I trying to devalue his point.

The Exchange

pinvendor wrote:
Am I saying that universities should be elitist? Hell, no. Everyone should deserve their shot to try and enroll for that education, but if a person can't prove they have the education to be there, they shouldn't be there. It shouldn't be based on heritage, how involved they are in a variety of clubs, or community service. It should be an environment for true intellectuals to thrive and be recognized as such.

This, THIS is the problem! Elitist has become a bad word. Discriminatory has become a bad word. You go on to talk about 'they shouldn't be there', but we have become so afraid as a society of passing that judgement upon people that we try and push everyone through the same system.

A university should be elite. Only the top few percentile of minds should be able to cope with a university level education. The system should discriminate between those people who it would benefit society to send through university and those it would not.

Limiting the resources that we spend on degree level courses would allow us to focus more resources on teaching at a level that would be (frankly) more useful to society. The day they linked university funding to course intake was a death-knell for quality degree-level education.

I agree entirely with your points on equal access by ability not class/peer-group etc. and I would add wealth to that list. Anyone who appears capable of obtaining a degree in a subject should be fully funded by the state in their quest to do so.

Grrr! I really shouldn't respond to posts that concern subjects dear to me when I've been drinking.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

pinvendor wrote:
Tarren Dei wrote:
We should stop expecting universities to be primarily responsible for producing a more educated society and start looking for more ways to share the task of producing learning societies to other areas.

I think both I agree and disagree with this statement.

I agree, as has been stated previously by another poster, the emphasis placed on college-level education as opposed to apprenticeship/work experience for some fields is unnecessary; and effectively it should be re-examined for a more equal recognition of merit "education" wise. If I am understanding correctly, I believe this is the spirit of what Tarren Dei is saying above.

Partly. I believe that colleges are undervalued. I believe that workplace education is underutilized. I believe that the role of municipal governments in providing learning opportunities is poorly managed and often unimaginative. I believe the importance of playing, talking, reading, and working -- that is, educating -- your children has been neglected.

Also, the individual needs to take more responsibility for their lifelong learning. I meet far too many people who treat education as something they did to make a living not something they do for life.

pinvendor wrote:
If taken literally, however, I must disagree. I truly believe that universities should have the primary responsibility for producing a more educated society and those graduates of them viewed on the same level of respect usually provided to a medical doctor or rocket scientist.

Universities should take a primary responsibility in the education of their students and those students should be limited to those who are able to demonstrate the ability to handle university level work. Educating society requires a broader perspective. Not just because "theoretical education needs a location recognized to be the source of esteemed learning to encourage the brightest to strive for the opportunity to learn there such as it used to be" but also because in a information dense, knowledge-based economy learning needs to be continual and contextualized. A four-year degree on a campus tends to produce decontextualized knowledge.

pinvendor wrote:
Am I saying that universities should be elitist? Hell, no. Everyone should deserve their shot to try and enroll for that education, ...

Yes. It's called high school.

pinvendor wrote:
My favorite example is how universities and colleges are portrayed in fantasy settings much like the games we all roleplay. They are difficult to get into and produce the most educated people in any realm. And in times of strife or when faced with problems the king's military might cannot solve, the fantasy settings usually turn to these universities for the problem solving. In our modern age, we do have corporations and government think tanks to do that; but the need for universities as the origin of these educated folks remains.

Hmmm ... I should run a PbP that takes place entirely within a university.

Liberty's Edge

Lilith wrote:
If you're not feeling challenged in your classes, approach your profs and say "Hey, I enjoyed the lesson and really want to take it to the next level. What kind of exercises or projects can I do to really challenge myself?" (This is how I started learning Latin in High School - talking to a teacher.) Try and see if you can sit in on some advanced classes just to see what they're like.

I wish I could do this. However, not only are the professors notoriously difficult to contact outside of class, but the sheer amount of work prevents me from getting anything else done. The only thing I can do is challenge myself by refusing to half-ass anything.

Liberty's Edge

brock wrote:
pinvendor wrote:
Am I saying that universities should be elitist? Hell, no. Everyone should deserve their shot to try and enroll for that education, but if a person can't prove they have the education to be there, they shouldn't be there. It shouldn't be based on heritage, how involved they are in a variety of clubs, or community service. It should be an environment for true intellectuals to thrive and be recognized as such.

This, THIS is the problem! Elitist has become a bad word. Discriminatory has become a bad word. You go on to talk about 'they shouldn't be there', but we have become so afraid as a society of passing that judgement upon people that we try and push everyone through the same system.

A university should be elite. Only the top few percentile of minds should be able to cope with a university level education. The system should discriminate between those people who it would benefit society to send through university and those it would not.

THANK YOU.


houstonderek wrote:

I hope my previous post didn't sound too bitter.

:)

Oh it did - but it probably made your point more powerful.


The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
The only thing I can do is challenge myself by refusing to half-ass anything.

That's the best way to approach life in general. We only get one shot at this. :P


Lilith wrote:
The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
The only thing I can do is challenge myself by refusing to half-ass anything.
That's the best way to approach life in general. We only get one shot at this. :P

+1!!!

I for one am proud of you, David. You have worked your ass off to get there. Please do not give up. You deserve the best that you can do for yourself!


College degree's meaningless? Probably.
Collage education meaningless? Probably not.
Collage education > independant education? Probably not.

I am not to sure that college degree equals greater pay, or more importantly happiness. I personally think the cost of an education is to high. I have broke the 6 figure mark without a degree. I am ex military. I have less than 5 classes from a B.A. in philosophy and about 10 claasses for a B.S. in Business from a top 20 national school.
If I had it to do over again I would skip the business degree.

-side remark- what is with all the qouting in these forums, for the most part it is pointless.

A writer should remember what was said without the need for qoute's. Scrolling up and down will show what other posters have wrote.
I personally will skip almost reading every qoute in a forum message, mainly do to the fact I have already read it.

I love humor please keep qouting funny things.

L. of course we have more than one life, rez,raise dead etc... And of course my favorite one Re-incarnate. Lets all take this life a little less seriously and start worring about the next one.


Red-Assassin wrote:


-side remark- what is with all the qouting in these forums, for the most part it is pointless.


Kruelaid wrote:
Red-Assassin wrote:


-side remark- what is with all the qouting in these forums, for the most part it is pointless.

Spelling?


The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
The only thing I can do is challenge myself by refusing to half-ass anything.

You're hired.


You're hired.


Maybe it's just me, but I think that last one makes more sense with the quote.

Plus my first one wouldn't have been funny if I had left it blank.

Yes to quotes.


K.

My own form of a prose poem, a sure sign of an individual fighting conformity.

-sure should be spelled shure--sound it out-


You're going to do well here.

Welcome to the Paizo boards!


I attend a large research university (in fact, one mentioned in passing in the article). I have found the classes educational, the faculty approachable, the overall environment welcoming, and the doors opened by the experience priceless. There is no point in my life that I can imagine looking over at the degree that will be framed on my wall and concluding that the time spent earning it was worthless.


I attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Contrary to others here, I met nobody in University who is an effective contact in my current life. I met some useless people, I met some good people. Man, I can hardly remember their names.

As for the quality, I suppose it was pretty good as far as schools go. Still, one thing is for sure, and I learned it early, 99% of what I got out of University was put into University by me.

And the job I have now, I wouldn't have it if it hadn't been for my degrees.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Red-Assassin wrote:

K.

My own form of a prose poem, a sure sign of an individual fighting conformity.

-sure should be spelled shure--sound it out-

Yeah, but the spelling of college should probably stay the same from line-to-line. Kawledge. Sound it out.

Red-Assassin wrote:

College degree's meaningless? Probably.

Collage education meaningless? Probably not.
Collage education > independant education? Probably not.

Silver Crusade

I think the title of this thread, and the title of the article in question, has attracted more controversy than the content of the article. Shame on the writer of that article to use such a blanket statement that is, in fact, not supported by his thesis.

College degrees have not become worthless. As the author himself points out, college can be quite valuable; it is just being used in ways it probably shouldn't be.

Dark Archive

To respond to the OP: College degrees have not become meaningless. They're pieces of paper that can get you a good job.

Are there other jobs that do not require a degree that pay good money? Absolutely.

Are there people who do not need a college degree to teach them something they already know (Bill Gates as an example)?

Yes, but talent without a degree is sometimes frowned upon. An employer could see a prospective employee without a college education who does a better job than anyone with a college degree, but will still tell them that he can't hire them unless they have a degree. Unless you can be creative and have really good luck, you might have a very hard time finding employment.

Case in point: I am in the Army. I work finance. I have done cashier work, contracting work, etc. But do you know what that will amount to in the real world? Very little. Employers don't believe that experience=diploma, they believe experience<diploma.

I was in college, CLEPed out of English and one other course I can't recall atm, and when I found out my entire first year (save the English II course) were an EXACT rehash of what I learned in High School. Screw That. Oh, and I HAD to do them. I couldn't just skip straight to the interesting stuff I was paying for college to learn. The second year of college is like the first, but with more pages tacked on to the essays.

So I dropped out and joined the Army...but that was a bad decision for me, as it turns out. It seems as though the free college tuition (the GI Bill) was not as well planned out as everyone thought and 30% of veterans aren't getting the tuition money.

As in, they are being forced to take out a loan that the Army will most likely not pay back to attend a college they were supposed to be going for free, or as close to free as possible.

In short, a College Degree isn't useless, but the first 2 years of college are. And you don't always get what you pay for.

Liberty's Edge

It should be pointed out that Bill Gates took a LOA from Harvard and simply never returned. Had he stayed in school, the likelihood of him and Ballmer creating Microsoft is immeasurably thin. Gates was at a crossroads: seize the initiative with Altair, or continue on as a directionless student at Harvard.

He (and Steve Jobs, amongst others) is not a good example for the argument that college is unnecessary for personal or professional success. It's similar to the argument that since Einstein didn't speak well until he was 9 years old, your nonverbal child might also be the smartest man in the world.


Lily Ana Dessandara wrote:
The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:

Here's the article.

What do you think?

I certainly agree with some of it. Universities have become corporations, top heavy with overpaid administrators who make 500k and receive bonuses on top of that. This is rampant even at public institutions that receive state dollars. Like corporations, they say this is necessary to attract the "most talented individuals". Well, I'll tell you what, if the only thing these people care about is money I don't want them at the University anyway.

I couldn't agree more!


Andrew Turner wrote:
It should be pointed out that Bill Gates took a LOA from Harvard and simply never returned...

Not true. He is finishing on-line. Bill Gates speaks about it in >this lecture< from Feb 2008.

On another note, they now say a Masters Degree is the new Bachelors Degree. Undergrad work is so watered down these days it is just like High School. Maybe this is because they have to cater to the lowest common denominator, kinda like how high school used to be. I guess high school is just day-care for teenagers now.

So, the conclusion of this thread is that high school has become meaningless, and you need to achieve education beyond the undergraduate level for it to have distinction.

Think about it, BA from Harvard. Meh. Who cares... do you have a Masters in anything??

Liberty's Edge

Andrew Turner wrote:
It should be pointed out that Bill Gates took a LOA from Harvard and simply never returned...
Tensor wrote:

Not true. He is finishing on-line. Bill Gates speaks about it in >this lecture< .

On another note, they now say a Masters Degree is the new Bachelors Degree. Undergrad work is so watered down these days it is just like High School. Maybe this is because they have to cater to the lowest common denominator, kinda like how high school used to be. I guess high school is just day-care for teenagers now.

Regardless, my comment is concerned with the invocation of Gate's name with respect to dropping out of Harvard, insomuch as it's used, in conjunction with his professional success and fortune, as fodder for the crowd shouting, "University is pointless--look at Bill Gates! He dropped out of Harvard!"

Harvard gave him an honorary degree in 2007. As to him completing a degree program online--I haven't heard anything on it. I didn't hear him say as much in the lecture. He said he is fond of online coursework--not that he has returned to Harvard (which offers online coursework, by the way), or that he is pursuing a degree.

As to undergraduate degrees being less important to industry than intermediate degrees--that's a twofold result of salary usually being commensurate with education and certain sectors of industry being technically complicated enough that advanced learning (and the analytical skills learned in graduate school) is necessary in order to do the work.

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