College Degrees have Become Meaningless


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Liberty's Edge

Here's the article.

What do you think?

Scarab Sages

Some good points. However, as with most things in life, I tend to think that the real answer is "it depends". You get out of college what you put into it. Some people go to college because they have a creative mind and love to learn. Others, like me, have a particular interest (in my case engineering) that they'd like to pursue. Still others just want a degree that they can use to get a decent job.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would say it depends on what course your doing as well

The Exchange

Aberzombie wrote:
Some good points. However, as with most things in life, I tend to think that the real answer is "it depends". You get out of college what you put into it. Some people go to college because they have a creative mind and love to learn. Others, like me, have a particular interest (in my case engineering) that they'd like to pursue. Still others just want a degree that they can use to get a decent job.

I'd say that your first two sets are the same - people who should go to university.

It's the last set that we are being cruel to by creating a society where you need a degree to get a 'decent' job, rather than an apprenticeship or experience etc.

Liberty's Edge

My degree was a requirement of commissioning (I needed it for my job because Title 10 Law requires commissioned military officers on federal service have at least a baccalaureate).

The fact that it is in English reflects the military's philosophy that the area of study, save in cases where specialized education is required for work in a specialized field (e.g., medicine or law), is a matter of individual interest and irrelevant to the organizational expectations of the officer. Rather, the process of the educative experience itself, which earns you the degree, is more vital.

My PhD is also in English, and while it virtually guarantees me promotion to colonel some years from now, it is relatively functionally useless to the Army. Nonetheless, they paid for it under those same philosophical considerations as mentioned above.

A college degree is only meaningless if you assign it no meaning.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Andrew Turner wrote:
A college degree is only meaningless if you assign it no meaning.

+1

In the Faculty of Education where I teach, we get students who have first degrees but now want to become teachers and we get students straight out of high school. The difference is quite obvious. A BA might not be valued by society at large but the difference in ability to reflect, question, and solve problems by those who don't have degrees and those who do is obvious to me.

Silver Crusade

Hmm. Well, my experience is that I work with a whole lot of idiots who have bachelor's degrees, and most of the time I can't fathom how they tie their shoes in the morning.

And I have known a lot of people with "prestigious" BAs that fold clothes for minimum wage. Talk about a rude awakening.

Silver Crusade

Oh, and great article.

Yes.

Silver Crusade

Andrew Turner wrote:

My degree was a requirement of commissioning (I needed it for my job because Title 10 Law requires commissioned military officers on federal service have at least a baccalaureate).

The fact that it is in English reflects the military's philosophy that the area of study, save in cases where specialized education is required for work in a specialized field (e.g., medicine or law), is a matter of individual interest and irrelevant to the organizational expectations of the officer. Rather, the process of the educative experience itself, which earns you the degree, is more vital.

My PhD is also in English, and while it virtually guarantees me promotion to colonel some years from now, it is relatively functionally useless to the Army. Nonetheless, they paid for it under those same philosophical considerations as mentioned above.

A college degree is only meaningless if you assign it no meaning.

Despite my posts above, I agree in principle with everything you have said.

That said, it's a sad state of affairs that, for many college students and the colleges themselves, the "educative experience" has been lost somewhere along the way, and too many are little more than diploma mills.

Edit: Hmm. Apparently I had a deep need to rant on this subject that I didn't know was there.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Celestial Healer wrote:
Hmm. Well, my experience is that I work with a whole lot of idiots who have bachelor's degrees, and most of the time I can't fathom how they tie their shoes in the morning.

That could well be. I've never watched them tie their shoes. They (the students with other degrees) seem to be better at writing academic papers than the ones without a BA though.

Celestial Healer wrote:
And I have known a lot of people with "prestigious" BAs that fold clothes for minimum wage. Talk about a rude awakening.

I've never watched them fold their clothes either. I do agree that a university degree should not be a pre-requisite for a job at The Gap.


There's a lot to the article. I've thought for some time that a bachelor's degree has become greatly devalued. I started a ROckwell with my shiny BSME at a time when they were laying off experienced guys with BA degrees. Those were good, smart, hard-working engineers.

The net effect was that you ended up with baccalaureates doing the same job that an associate had done without increase in quality.

I see the same thing happening today with Master's degrees. The people with bachelors are being shown the door in favor of guys with a "better" degree and no clue about how to do anything.

The diploma mill mass production of degrees has resulted in a watering down of the product.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

therealthom wrote:
There's a lot to the article.

It was very well-written ... by a student in his 4th year of studies, wasn't it?


The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:

Here's the article.

What do you think?

Do not go to college unless you know exactly why you are going; like someone mentioned above it was a requirement.

I think if it is going to take you more than 3-4 years to get your degree, then do not waste your time. Just get a job, and start saving for retirement, because you will need every cent to pay for medical bills.

If you've been in college for 5+ years and you're still an undergraduate, then any perceived advantage you thought you were going to gain is gone. Stop. Get a job.

If you work full-time and go to school at night, well then you must have a reason. Keep it up.


Having gone to art school, I've gotten an entirely voluntary degree. I didn't need it to get a job, I didn't need it to make a portfolio. One of my instructors at school would say to the whole class,"You know, none of you are geniuses. If you were, you wouldn't have to be here." I put it down a lot, but I do think it was a valuable experience. I'm much better than I was before college and I at least feel more capable. Is college a money-making scheme? Absolutely. But a great teacher can make it valuable and a great student can ring a lot out of it. I've started to realize that maybe everything I thought was lacking in my education really was available: I was just a mediocre student.

Maybe people just assume that a degree should be more than it is. It's not a magic ticket, opening the doors to wealth and influence. It's just a function of your own effort. Having a Bachelor's DID open doors just enough to get a job interview, but from there one is expected to close the deal oneself. And that's where the connections you've made as a student help out: a hard-working student will have teachers, administrators and former employers in their corners.

So, I don't think a Bachelor's is worthless. You just need reasonable expectations.

And to go with what Tensor said: the best teachers I had told me during the mandatory post-graduation, pre-employment freakout that unless you're going to be a lawyer or doctor, grad school isn't of that much utility right after college (at least, for people like me). I think fear is what keeps grad schools full of students in many cases.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

OP's article wrote:

Part of this change most definitely lies in the fact that universities almost always used to be privately owned and controlled, were inspired by national identity and regional dialogues, and were generally made up of a small, privileged group of people.

This, of course, brings us to the fact that nearly everyone these days is pursuing higher education when the opportunity arises. And like everything else that becomes trendy and mass-produced,

Stopped reading.

Liberty's Edge

The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:

Here's the article.

What do you think?

I never went to college. Gave up scholarships to join the USMC. Honorably discharged after 4 years, went straight to work on Wall street and here I am over 20 years later earning well in the six figures with no degree... Of course both of my kids are going to college next September!

Liberty's Edge

Alright, here's my reason for posting that link, other than the fact that I wanted your collective opinion. I apologize for anyone I inadvertently offend, but please remember, it's not directed at you.

I am finishing my first quarter of my first year at the Savannah College of Art and Design. For six years, I'd been putting money away in order to go somewhere that wasn't a New York State public university. However, once I got here, it almost seemed like a giant step backwards. At twenty-two, I'm one of the older freshmen here, but I feel like I'm back in high school.

The level of b%$%%%+@ and hand-holding that one has to go through here is absolutely unbelievable. Rather than treating students like adults with thoughts and ideas, it seems that the sole aim of the school is to generate revenue while shuttling the little bastards through as fast as they can. I left a really rough, ignorant part of the country, and it's incredibly saddening and disheartening when I come to a place like SCAD and see the very same types of people, only with more money to blow on expensive clothes and cars.

In addition, there are no clear channels of authority. Gripes are supposed to go up, not down or sideways: there is no way to communicate grievances to people in positions of power, only to complain to other students. Most of the professors regard their jobs merely as sources of income, and really couldn't give a flying f~++ whether the students got an education or not. Worst of all, the administration doesn't even seem to be vetting their own staff.
Case in point: my roommate's English Composition professor is from China. She speaks only basic English, and with a pronounced accent that makes it hard for the students to understand her. Now, I've met her, and she's certainly an intelligent person, but what is she doing teaching English to freshmen? If anything, she should be teaching Mandarin.
Another case in point: the professor I have for 2D Design / Visual Composition has several things going against her. First of all, she has no teaching ability whatsoever. Her method of "teaching" is to give us a handout and leave the room. Secondly, she has no sense of how to apply media to particular tasks. For example, she had the class doing fine detail work with acrylic paint on canvas paper. Acrylic paint, for those of you who aren't familiar with art materials, is usually used for broad strokes, particularly in the venue of expressionistic painting. For detail, one would usually use oils or watercolors, and certainly not on canvas paper. To replicate the experience for a non- art student, imagine trying to do a fine line drawing in crayon on a piece of ribbed wallpaper.

Finally, the students are not treated as responsible adults. It has been my experience that if you treat people like children, they'll act like them, and when you have a policy of automatically failing students that miss four classes, it smacks of high school. This is the grown-up world, and I demand to be treated like a f!&!ing adult. I've been waiting for this my whole life, and if I continue to be s!*~ on like this, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to take my business elsewhere.


I think a lot of kids today see college as a process that one goes through to get a piece of paper that entitles them to a decent paycheck. I don't think enough kids today see college as a means to becoming more valuable to other people, and thus able to earn a decent paycheck.

I also think there are many many exceptions to this.

I also think that a degree is mandatory for some opportunities, but that in at least as many cases they only give you an edge in getting a chance to prove yourself. You rise or fall on your merits, not your piece of paper.

If you go to college to get a piece of paper, then you will come out with it, and it is close to meaningless. If you go to college to increase your value to other people, you will be ok. eventually

For reference, I have a Master's in Engineering and am low tier management in a consulting firm. (read: I have managerial responsibilities, but my main job is to be an engineer)


The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:

Case in point ....

Another case in point:...

Would you consider the possibility that these are the kinds of issues that people have to deal with in the real world and forcing you to figure out a way through these challenges is treating you like an adult?

Liberty's Edge

What can I say? People f~##ing suck, dude.

I remember first day of....meteorology, freshman year.
Teacher starts talking about the elemental composition of the atmosphere--nitrogen,....oxygen,....
this kid gets up, says "WOAH! NO WAY! ELEMENTS!!! I'M DROPPING THIS CLASS NOW!!!" and leaves.

I remember taking a precalc class, freshman year. They get this substitute teacher in; she shows us a statistical curve; this is how many of you will FAIL. If you got THIS sucky grade on your first exam, this is the chance that you will get THIS sucky grade in the class. There's a big enough statistical sample in this class to guarantee that this is true...And it was true, but way to f*@@ing motivate people, lady. Oh well; weed the freshman.

I remember taking a chemistry class, at which I sucked bad:
1st test-C
2nd test-D
3rd test-C
then digging deep, saying "I WILL MAKE YOU MY BYOCH, CHEMISTRY! I WILL F*!@ING DESTROY YOU!" and cramming for a week straight with Metallica full-blast for inspiration and getting
FINAL TEST-A.

There's some good stuff there too; I can't vouch for the school you're at because I have no knowledge of it whatsoever, but there's some good stuff there too. There's stupid s#!~ wherever you go in life.

Liberty's Edge

You get a degree, it'll never hurt you on a job interview.


This guy sounds like he's having trouble getting his head around the fact that his dumb lab partner is affecting his grade and that he has to take a cross-cultural class he doesn't like.

Frankly, he comes across as a guy who thinks he's better than his peers and that his degree is sullied by their presence.

Ask anybody who's the first in their family to go to college if a degree is worthless. Or better yet, ask your friendly neighborhood corporate recruiter who is likely to be the more productive employee, the guy with a degree or the guy without one.

Liberty's Edge

Heathansson wrote:
You get a degree, it'll never hurt you on a job interview.

+1

I have practical SAP implementation and usage knowledge coming out of my ears (SD, MM, WM, PP and QA modules for those taking score), basically ran a factory that handles $800 million in government contracts when I was in prison, did ALL of the paperwork and standards implementation required to get the place ISO:9000 certified, wrote the SOP, material acquisitions and warehousing standards for six factories, wrote most memos, prepared all production and R&D reports for D.C., conducted meetings with both vendors and government agency end users and trained dozens of clerks. On top of that, I found and corrected millions of dollars of waste and convinced the factory manager to auction off all of our dead inventory for a tidy amount of tax payer savings (the proceeds were figured into our budget).

All of this as an inmate. Job listings for my skill set detailed above START at $95k a year.

What does this all get me in the free world? Nothing but a handshake and a "Thanks for interviewing with us" without a degree.
So I manage a deli.

Get the degree.


The Eldritch Mr Shiny wrote:
For example, she had the class doing fine detail work with acrylic paint on canvas paper. Acrylic paint, for those of you who aren't familiar with art materials, is usually used for broad strokes, particularly in the venue of expressionistic painting. For detail, one would usually use oils or watercolors, and certainly not on canvas paper. To replicate the experience for a non- art student, imagine trying to do a fine line drawing in crayon on a piece of ribbed wallpaper.

Okay, tangent: buy smaller brushes and either water it down or use an extending fluid or matte medium to keep it open and workable for longer. You can do detail in almost anything and acrylic is one of the most versatile media. Also: Stay Wet palettes, if you don't already have them, can really help get the most out of the paint you've mixed. Milk that student discount while you've got it.

The first year in art school, sadly, is a waste of time for most people. Go along with the assignments, try to get it over with. You'll find better and better teachers as you go on; SCAD has had a good showing at the Society of Illustrators student shows. There have to be some good teachers there. Believe me, after foundation year it gets steadily better. Just hang in there.


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.

Furthermore, many professors in technical fields care only about publishing in journals to increase their prestige. They don't really care about teaching - some even look down on others who do. This is first hand experience from someone who has worked at a state school.

Liberty's Edge

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

:)


Heathansson wrote:
this kid gets up, says "WOAH! NO WAY! ELEMENTS!!! I'M DROPPING THIS CLASS NOW!!!" and leaves.

Cultural Geography:

"At the end of this class a portion of the final will entail filling in a political outline map with proper country names. The map will cover most, but not all, of the globe."

You'd have thought he asked them to eat their children. I mean, that's not even hard! It's sixth grade cognitive functioning, tops, and he's giving out the map with the test*. Frankly if you graduated grade school and couldn't at least get the largest couple countries on any given continent identified right, you should be humiliated. I was embarrassed to share a room with them, and the older students were just as bad (sometimes much worse "if I was teaching this class...") than the ones right out of high school.

Yet all of these people groaned about such an obvious bit of padding for their final, which they'd have an entire semester to get up to speed on and which a substantial part of the supplementary material for the course was geared around.

*If he wanted to really make sure you knew your political geography, instead of the map he would have had a few hundred questions that amounted to "Identify the country between X and Y" or "immediately NW or France and SE of Belgium" and not given any kind of map.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Andrew Turner wrote:
The fact that it is in English reflects the military's philosophy that the area of study, save in cases where specialized education is required for work in a specialized field (e.g., medicine or law), is a matter of individual interest and irrelevant to the organizational expectations of the officer.

Hmmm, I vaguely remember from my ROTC days that the area of study affected your score (along with GPA and score in Advanced Camp [measured on a 1 to 5 scale]) that was used to determine what type of commission you received (such as a Regular Army commission) and also your branch choice. I know your intended major definitely affected your scholarship chances (I'm talking the 4-year scholarship), with technical degrees (like Engineering) being more desired than humanities. I was in ROTC probably about the same time you were (if you went that route) from '92-'95. I'm probably wrong here, but that's how I remember it working.

[SlightRant] I don't buy the thesis of the article. I think you're going to get out of college what you put into it. I also think degree requirements are silly at most schools. For example, I couldn't get my degree in engineering without taking 2 english comp classes (understandable), 2 humanities classes, 2 world history classes, 2 humanities electives (in my case, literature appreciation & jazz appreciation), and a social science (intro anthropology for me). however, you can get a degree in any of those courses of study (english, humanities, history, sociology) without stepping foot in a basic science class. Apparently, producing well-rounded, educated people only applies if you don't study fine arts or humanities. Getting such a degree seems to make you well-rounded without studying any other fields. [/SlightRant]

-Skeld

Liberty's Edge

houstonderek wrote:

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

:)

Oh, hellz no. It was just bitter enough. ;)

The Exchange

houstonderek wrote:
Heathansson wrote:
You get a degree, it'll never hurt you on a job interview.

+1

I have practical SAP implementation and usage knowledge coming out of my ears (SD, MM, WM, PP and QA modules for those taking score), basically ran a factory that handles $800 million in government contracts when I was in prison, did ALL of the paperwork and standards implementation required to get the place ISO:9000 certified, wrote the SOP, material acquisitions and warehousing standards for six factories, wrote most memos, prepared all production and R&D reports for D.C., conducted meetings with both vendors and government agency end users and trained dozens of clerks. On top of that, I found and corrected millions of dollars of waste and convinced the factory manager to auction off all of our dead inventory for a tidy amount of tax payer savings (the proceeds were figured into our budget).

All of this as an inmate. Job listings for my skill set detailed above START at $95k a year.

What does this all get me in the free world? Nothing but a handshake and a "Thanks for interviewing with us" without a degree.
So I manage a deli.

Get the degree.

Hopefully while you are managing the deli you are planning how you are going to start your SAP consulting business. HR won't hire you because you don't have a degree - they will be in trouble if they hire you based on experience and you don't perform. However, it sounds to be that you have the experience and interpersonal skills to set yourself up as a small business with 1 employee and some posh business cards and go in as a consultant. Just a thought.

Contributor

I wouldn't say degrees are meaningless - it's certainly easier to get certain jobs when you have a piece of paper. And, of course, you can't get any job in certain industries without a degree.

The real question is whether college, as a whole, is valuable. I'd have to say yes. Sure, it can be annoying and seem like a waste of time, but the real value is not in the degree but in the relationships you make, and in the opportunities you have access to. I would never have gotten my job at Deloitte & Touche if I hadn't gone to college - and job that taught me a lot. Did I learn more in two years in a CPA firm that I did in four years at SUNY Albany? Without a doubt. I would never have landed at D&T without the piece of paper as my ticket inside.

Side point: I've long held that the accounting profession would be better served by an apprenticeship structure, as opposed to the higher-ed model it uses now. It'll never happen, sadly. They keep moving toward more college, not less.

Interestingly, not everyone wants 'a job'. If you're a serial entrepreneur, like me, degrees hold less value. If you have the drive and skill to go it alone, you really don't need college.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm currently doing a Bachelor of Arts (Majoring in English, Submajor Art History & Film... LIT NERD!) and a Master's of Teaching. A BA in and of itself is a bit of a useless degree (particularly in English, Art History and Film), but I like the act of learning. I also like teaching, and hence my need for a degree.

I have friends who have worked in software engineering, the ones who got the jobs they wanted made opportunities for themselves by creating code outside what was required by their degree.

The degree itself isn't so flash, but it does what I need it to.

I know a guy who got a 99.95 UAI (imagine the highest grades in the SATs for the americans out there), he got a BA (in Philosophy) and now rides around the country on the back of a motorcycle. His degree is just a piece of paper, but as far as I'm concerned the dude is BADASS.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

Well, ever since the Bologna process universities don´t seem to cater to letting the students learn on their own, but are rather focused on students getting their credit points in order to prove their own success in teaching. What´s more, since study fees were introduced in Germany for public universities as well, students who need to earn their own money need to finish the studies quickly, which tends to leave out those students who come from lower- and even middle class families.

I am just finishing (hopefully in January) a MA degree I´m doing at a local university of applied sciences. The course of studies you need to take to get that degree within four semesters gives you a full-time job of 40 hours a week in lectures alone, not counting the self-studies and other things you need. And this is based on the assumption that you have a BA in architecture if you take on this particular MA - woe to you if you have a different BA. It was not so bad for me, as I have a old german engineers diploma in architecture, but still, there needs to be more room for self-studies. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplom for anybody interested in the old german Diplom).

Inquisitive minds are squished by study courses stuffed with lectures, IMO. This is something really I don´t like in the present higher learning.

Stefan

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
The level of b@%*!&#@ and hand-holding that one has to go through here is absolutely unbelievable. Rather than treating students like adults with thoughts and ideas, it seems that the sole aim of the school is to generate revenue while shuttling the little bastards through as fast as they can. I left a really rough, ignorant part of the country, and it's incredibly saddening and disheartening when I come to a place like SCAD and see the very same types of people, only with more money to blow on expensive clothes and cars.

You might be surprised how many of the professors agree with you. If you are a responsible and dedicated student, capable of doing the work and who doesn't need their hand held, approach the professors that you admire about getting involved in something more challenging. I encourage my students to participate in conferences, and when I get a call from someone who needs to hire a student in my area, I think first about the hardworking students who have expressed a need for extra work.


Samnell wrote:
Heathansson wrote:
this kid gets up, says "WOAH! NO WAY! ELEMENTS!!! I'M DROPPING THIS CLASS NOW!!!" and leaves.

Cultural Geography:

"At the end of this class a portion of the final will entail filling in a political outline map with proper country names. The map will cover most, but not all, of the globe."

You'd have thought he asked them to eat their children. I mean, that's not even hard! It's sixth grade cognitive functioning, tops, and he's giving out the map with the test*. Frankly if you graduated grade school and couldn't at least get the largest couple countries on any given continent identified right, you should be humiliated. I was embarrassed to share a room with them, and the older students were just as bad (sometimes much worse "if I was teaching this class...") than the ones right out of high school.

Yet all of these people groaned about such an obvious bit of padding for their final, which they'd have an entire semester to get up to speed on and which a substantial part of the supplementary material for the course was geared around.

*If he wanted to really make sure you knew your political geography, instead of the map he would have had a few hundred questions that amounted to "Identify the country between X and Y" or "immediately NW or France and SE of Belgium" and not given any kind of map.

My brother told me that one day at luch a colleague was reading a newpaper article. The article concerned Paraguay and the reader did not know where the country is. Another guy at the table volunteered (in earnest) that it must be near Poland.

My brother had to explain to the second guy that countries are not arranged in alphabetical order.

Dark Archive

Bill Lumberg wrote:
My brother had to explain to the second guy that countries are not arranged in alphabetical order.

They aren't?


Joe Biden wrote:
Bill Lumberg wrote:
My brother had to explain to the second guy that countries are not arranged in alphabetical order.
They aren't?

Of course they are. And between Belgium and France there ought to be some country starting with C, D or E.

Greece?

Silver Crusade

Allow me to elaborate a little bit.

I don't deny that there are many jobs, including mine, that one can't get without a college degree. And as long as this is the case, most people are well-served by getting such a degree.

That doesn't mean that this is how it should be. In fact, this set of circumstances has resulted in a lot of people going to colleges who, quite frankly, lack the curiosity or inclination to get the most out of the experience. For too many students, the only goal of college is to pass, and this is a great shame, because there is no retention and little personal growth going on.

For students that really want to learn, on the other hand, there are a lot of opportunities in college to expand one's knowledge and perspective. And I will restate what I said before, a college degree greatly improves employability.

That said, there is a push for everyone to go to college, and for the colleges catering to that set, I have no doubt that the curriculum has been watered down to accommodate. Two examples have already appeared in this thread. I knew the elements up to something like atomic number 40 when I was in high school, and I HATED chemistry. And I could label the countries on a map in junior high. If this stuff is beyond someone, why are they being given a college degree? What does this say about college degrees?

Here's an example from my own life. As I said, a college degree is required to work in most jobs at my company. So why is it that when most of my coworkers are faced with the problem below (spoilered), I get blank stares?

Spoiler:
Celestial Healer owns a company, Paizo, and, based on his benefit elections, he is going to make $4,237.00 in pretax benefit payments. Two other employees, Heathansson and Aberzombie will be contributing $3,987.00 and $5,070.00, respectively. As an owner, Celestial Healer's contributions need to be lowered so that they do not exceed 25% of the total contributions in the plan. How much is he allowed to contribute?

Solution:
Option 1: "I don't know where to begin."

Option 2: $3,323.50
4237 + 3987 + 5070 = 13,294 x 25% = $3323.50

Those are the only two responses I ever get, and they're both wrong. Is it difficult math? Yes. Is it calculus? No.

(Real answer: [(3987 + 5070)/75%] x 25% = $3019.00)

(Acceptable shortcut: 25%/75% is a ratio of 1/3, therefore (3987 + 5070) x 1/3 = $3019.00)

Option 2 may look right on paper, but when you lower Celestial Healer to $3323.50, the total contributions drop to $12,380.50, and his contributions are 26.8% of the new total. It's about thinking things through from all angles.

In my opinion, instead of shuttling as many high school graduates as possible through college, we would be better served as a society by relying more heavily on apprenticeship models and the like, while keeping colleges and universities as centers of intellectual rigor.

That said, I'm going to say, yet again, that circumstances (and the labor market) being what they are, most people are best served by getting a college degree.

I also don't blame anyone in particular for the way things are. In fact, there's plenty of blame to go around. Is it the students? The college administrators? The college faculties? The parents? The government, for pushing for more and more people to go to college? Are colleges picking up the slack from the high school (and earlier) education system? The employers, who mandate college degrees instead of using more comprehensive methods to pick employees?

It bears repeating, I'm not telling anyone not to go to school. Really. The way things are, it opens a lot of doors. And for those who went to school (or want to go to school) for all the right reasons, I applaud you. I think it's a shame that all of those right reasons are being obscured by all of the wrong reasons out there.

[/rant]


I think the underlying point is closer to 'have degrees become meaningless as a measure of expected job performance?'. Still, a degree is oftentimes the price of admission to a job interview. Hmmm...

Maybe, 'What is the meaning of a college degree?' in this day and age is a better discussion point.

The Exchange

Emperor7 wrote:

I think the underlying point is closer to 'have degrees become meaningless as a measure of expected job performance?'. Still, a degree is oftentimes the price of admission to a job interview. Hmmm...

Maybe, 'What is the meaning of a college degree?' in this day and age is a better discussion point.

I've done 4 degrees - 2 because I was interested in the subject, 1 because I didn't know what else to do with my life for a year and 1 because I was interested and it guaranteed that I'd be able to eat.

On the courses that were purely academic, there were few people who were there just to pass.

On the other courses, there were a lot of people who were only interested in getting a passing grade. Ironically, it is the fact that these people went on to get the degree that has probably contributed to the devaluation of the qualification as they would not have had a clue how to apply the knowledge that they were presented with the opportunity to understand, rather than just learn.

We shouldn't have allowed the 'meaning' of a degree to change from 'shows the ability to reason and apply knowledge to understand the unknown; worth teaching how to conduct research'.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Emperor7 wrote:
Maybe, 'What is the meaning of a college degree?' in this day and age is a better discussion point.

A college degree means that you're able to set a long term goal (get a degree) and perform the work necessary to attain that goal (take all the required classes). Your GPA should be an overall reflection of how well you performed while trying to attain the goal.

At least that's how it ought to work in Skeldland.

-Skeld

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Emperor7 wrote:

I think the underlying point is closer to 'have degrees become meaningless as a measure of expected job performance?'. Still, a degree is oftentimes the price of admission to a job interview. Hmmm...

Maybe, 'What is the meaning of a college degree?' in this day and age is a better discussion point.

If society (parents, funding agencies, professors, students, and all) act like everyone is entitled to a college degree, then fewer and fewer students will get a college education.

Enrollment continues to grow at many universities in Canada, partly because of the belief that a university degree is a pre-requisite to employment and that university should be accessible to everyone. This does result in professors feeling over-worked and somewhat pressured to keep students (many of whom may have needs not well-met by higher education) to stay in university.

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.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Keegan wrote:
Having gone to art school, I've gotten an entirely voluntary degree. I didn't need it to get a job, I didn't need it to make a portfolio. One of my instructors at school would say to the whole class,"You know, none of you are geniuses. If you were, you wouldn't have to be here."

One of my professors said on the second day of junior illustration classes, "Look around you, look at all your fellow classmates. Only 10% of you will make a living off your art, the rest of you will be bartenders, waiters and hamburger flippers."

He then proceeded to point out people (based on their work) who he thought would not make it.
Overall, I agree that an artist is hired based off his portfolio and it has nothing to do with his schooling. But the 4 years did give me a lot of growth that I really needed and exposed to a lot of new medium that I never even knew of.


Cpt. Caboodle wrote:
Joe Biden wrote:
Bill Lumberg wrote:
My brother had to explain to the second guy that countries are not arranged in alphabetical order.
They aren't?

Of course they are. And between Belgium and France there ought to be some country starting with C, D or E.

Greece?

I can see Russia from my house!

Dark Archive

Emperor7 wrote:

I think the underlying point is closer to 'have degrees become meaningless as a measure of expected job performance?'. Still, a degree is oftentimes the price of admission to a job interview. Hmmm...

Maybe, 'What is the meaning of a college degree?' in this day and age is a better discussion point.

It's kind of like around here, everyone is expected to get their Eagle Scout. I was listening to a guy I work with plot out how he could get his son to get his Eagle by the time he is 14. It seems that peopl around here have an expectation that if you get your Eagle Scout, you are automatically a good person. I usually tell them that there is guy wo got his Eagle Scout the same time I dd who is in thepae at least twice a week having been arrested for either tresspassing or drunk and disorderly.

Liberty's Edge

Callous Jack wrote:

One of my professors said on the second day of junior illustration classes, "Look around you, look at all your fellow classmates. Only 10% of you will make a living off your art, the rest of you will be bartenders, waiters and hamburger flippers."

He then proceeded to point out people (based on their work) who he thought would not make it.

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?"

Dark Archive

The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
Callous Jack wrote:

One of my professors said on the second day of junior illustration classes, "Look around you, look at all your fellow classmates. Only 10% of you will make a living off your art, the rest of you will be bartenders, waiters and hamburger flippers."

He then proceeded to point out people (based on their work) who he thought would not make it.
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?"

I used to have a keychain that said "I have a degree in art, would you like fries with that?"


Callous Jack wrote:
James Keegan wrote:
Having gone to art school, I've gotten an entirely voluntary degree. I didn't need it to get a job, I didn't need it to make a portfolio. One of my instructors at school would say to the whole class,"You know, none of you are geniuses. If you were, you wouldn't have to be here."

One of my professors said on the second day of junior illustration classes, "Look around you, look at all your fellow classmates. Only 10% of you will make a living off your art, the rest of you will be bartenders, waiters and hamburger flippers."

He then proceeded to point out people (based on their work) who he thought would not make it.
Overall, I agree that an artist is hired based off his portfolio and it has nothing to do with his schooling. But the 4 years did give me a lot of growth that I really needed and exposed to a lot of new medium that I never even knew of.

With respect to the school experience, I think this is the type of attitude/behavior that results in increasing levels of ass-hattery at art schools. Someone always getting crapped on by a teacher, ending up going into the same field to one-up them, and in turn craps on the next generation of artists, regardless of their level of talent. Sometimes I'm glad I can't draw a straight line without a ruler.

Dark Archive

Freehold DM wrote:
Sometimes I'm glad I can't draw a straight line without a ruler.

I had a art teacher that told me none of the best atists can, since nature rarely consists of straight lines.


Hey Shiny,

As one of the degree-less, I can tell you that NOT going back to college has been one of the biggest disappointments with myself. Not because I think I need it to get a job (though it would certainly help), but because it is a goal I had set for myself and never achieved.

However, as ephealy points out, the biggest advantage of going to school is meeting people. No matter the industry, no matter the field, it pays to know people.

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.

There are some caveats of course. Any of the experiences you gain in college are a petri dish, self-contained and (usually) free of outside influences and often bear no relationship to the real world. I learned more by doing when I first started a computer-related job and I was fortunate enough to have a boss that was a believer in the learn-as-you-go method.

Shiny, I'm sure that any time you want to talk about art, there are a plethora of Paizo peeps that would love to do so as well. If you're interested in a daily creative brain challenge, check out ConceptArt.org's Daily Sketch Group. Even if you never post your drawings on that board, I think it's a highly useful way to get the thinky-meats going.

And as always, never give up and never stop drawing. *hugs, cookies*

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