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  1. #1 Education Credentials Don't Always Bring A Big Payoff 
    Super Moderator bijou's Avatar
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    One of the ways of trying to reduce the vast disparities in economic success, which are common in countries around the world, is by making higher education more widely available, even for people without the money to pay for it.

    This can be both a generous investment and a wise investment for a society to make. But, depending on how it is done, it can also be a foolish and even dangerous investment, as many societies around the world have learned the hard way.

    When institutions of higher learning turn out highly qualified doctors, scientists, engineers and others with skills that can raise the standard of living of a whole society and make possible a better and longer life, the benefits are obvious.

    What is not so obvious, but is painfully true nonetheless, is that colleges and universities can also turn out vast numbers of people with credentials, but with no marketable skills with which to fulfill their expectations. There is nothing magic about simply being in ivy-covered buildings for four years.

    Statistics are often thrown around in the media, showing that people with college degrees earn higher average salaries than people without them. But such statistics lump together apples and oranges ó and lemons.

    A decade after graduation, people whose degrees were in a hard field like engineering earned twice as much as people whose degrees were in the ultimate soft field, education. Nor is a degree from a prestigious institution a guarantee of a big payoff, especially not for those who failed to specialize in subjects that would give them skills valued in the real world.

    But that is not even half the story. In countries around the world, people with credentials but no marketable skills have been a major source of political turmoil, social polarization and ideologically driven violence, sometimes escalating into civil war.

    People with degrees in soft subjects, which impart neither skills nor a realistic understanding of the world, have been the driving forces behind many extremist movements with disastrous consequences. ...
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    Long article but I think Thomas Sowell is always worth a read.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Janice's Avatar
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    Yes, good read. Thanks. :)
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    I can't argue with a single word of his article. But there still remains individuals like me, who actually should study the softer subjects, like history.

    That's because people like me have the ability to move up the ladder no matter where they are placed, and defining myself too sharply by becoming, say, an engineer would have resulted in a frustrating and fairly unprofitable career.
    As it is, I moved through the sales ranks, on into marketing (there is a difference), self employment, and so forth.

    So for me, the broader education was best. But not for everyone. Not for most, even.
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    Super Moderator bijou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck View Post
    I can't argue with a single word of his article. But there still remains individuals like me, who actually should study the softer subjects, like history.

    That's because people like me have the ability to move up the ladder no matter where they are placed, and defining myself too sharply by becoming, say, an engineer would have resulted in a frustrating and fairly unprofitable career.
    As it is, I moved through the sales ranks, on into marketing (there is a difference), self employment, and so forth.

    So for me, the broader education was best. But not for everyone. Not for most, even.
    Yes but you had or developed skills, you didn't just expect someone to pay you because you had a degree. A good quality degree programme should also develop thinking and organisational skills which will be useful in the workplace. I did a soft degree, but my career successes have been due to my ability to make the most of what I learnt in academic and other terms and a lot of hard work.
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    Another downside of making higher education more "Accessible" on this side of the pond has been a serious erosion of standards, to the point that a Bachelor's degree is no guarantee that a job candidate can successfully pen a grammatically-acceptable piece of correspondence, or even be counted upon to accurately read one in his or her technical field.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DumbAss Tanker View Post
    Another downside of making higher education more "Accessible" on this side of the pond has been a serious erosion of standards, to the point that a Bachelor's degree is no guarantee that a job candidate can successfully pen a grammatically-acceptable piece of correspondence, or even be counted upon to accurately read one in his or her technical field.
    Sadly Tony Blair's push to increase the numbers of graduates has left a similar situation here.
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    SEAduced SuperMod Hawkgirl's Avatar
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    And then there are people like me. I graduated highschool and enrolled in college. In two years, I changed majors three times, Education to Internation Studies to Accounting. Then a friend of mine introduced xray school, a two year hospital based program which ended with taking national boards. Within graduation, I had a higher paying job than my classmates who completed a four year degree. Within a few years and several promotions, I made a larger salary than my friends with Bachelor Degrees. With the exception of a couple of people who are civil and mechanical engineers, one turned VP of an Engineering Consulting firm.

    In retrospect, I do wish I had gotten my Bachelor's degree...but then I wouldn't be where I am now in the medical field. I'm not wealthy, but I live a comfortable life.

    My sister in law's brother finished his master's degree in 2008 and is now going to school for his PhD....yet hasn't worked in about 8 years...lol. He's on my facebook and his posts always revolve around the unemployment numbers and the tough economy...but he wasn't working even when the unemployment numbers were below 5%. He is a perfect example of too much education and not enough brains. There are plenty more like him.
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  8. #8  
    Ancient Fire Breather Retread's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck View Post
    I can't argue with a single word of his article. But there still remains individuals like me, who actually should study the softer subjects, like history.

    ....................
    I've got a little different take on it. I studied the "hardĒ stuff; Math and science but without specialization. The 'soft' stuff held no interest for me at all. Had a big face-off with the Sociology Prof when he took me to task for not acing his course - I told him my only interest in the course was a passing grade in a required subject. Thought he was going apoplectic.
    After teaching for 5 years, developing a duodenal ulcer and earning a MSc I went into the Ďoil bidnisí and loved it. I ended up working the last 20 years as a generalist of sorts, using arithmetic, geology, geophysics, petroleum engineering and general good sense to wrap all of the tons of information into a coherent scenario explaining why this well was dryer than a popcorn fart and that one came in at 45 mcfd and produced for 60 years (and is still producing).
    The reason for going through all of the above is in support of my position that the generalist is the hope for the future. So many researchers are blind outside their own little frame of reference while the generalist sees the input from multiple researchers and can tie all of these together showing the synergy.
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    People with degrees in soft subjects, which impart neither skills nor a realistic understanding of the world, have been the driving forces behind many extremist movements with disastrous consequences. ...
    Explains much of the entire liberal demographic. ;)
    Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkgirl View Post
    .........In retrospect, I do wish I had gotten my Bachelor's degree...but then I wouldn't be where I am now in the medical field. I'm not wealthy, but I live a comfortable life.........
    Time will fix that. Follow Dave Ramsey's advice.:)


    Quote Originally Posted by Retread
    So many researchers are blind outside their own little frame of reference while the generalist sees the input from multiple researchers and can tie all of these together showing the synergy.
    True. I have heard a great many recent college grads grouse about their inability to find work "in their field". Silliness. Take what you can, I say. Then figure out how to get ahead in it.
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