Veronica - posted on 01/12/2010 ( 24 moms have responded )




Ok, in another forum, a chick asked what we all had for college education. So over 230 replies have been posted to her post. As I read through this, from an entrepreneurial point of view - i began wondering how important is college education, really? I went, I have an Associate's Degree in business - but that didnt guarentee me anything - and when i went to pursue it - i got the same ole line "you dont have enough experience" -So i went to college, and am in debt up to my eyeballs - and i can't get a job to pay for it, because im not experienced? I can have a degree, but i must need the experience to get the job - how do you get experience, if they wont hire you??

Then I look at it on the other end, you basically bought yourself a ticket, that holds you at a little/much better status for the working world - but as an entrepreneur, i know what that means. It means - 45 years of working for someone else's success and freedom and time. What job are your truly working for yourself? Granted there are certain jobs that are needed in this world - doctors, nurses, miners, factory workers - in order to take care of us, make stuff, etc. (i can see those type of jobs needing a degree -- but even still they do not guarentee anything either) Even doctors dont have time or financial freedom - ive been seeing this first hand with the ones turning to entrepreneurialship - leaving their practices/hospitals/clinics.

But honestly -- do you really think that college education is THE most important/vital thing to have and do? And how do you feel about the big $$$ colleges are making - especially during the economy crash? Have you noticed any schools complaining?? NO - why? because they are pushing college education - people lose their "stable" jobs, and now have to pursue a different career.

I can go on and on and on -- but i will stop here, and continue to add as we go. Let's fire it up ladies!!


ME - posted on 01/14/2010




I think it depends on why you go to college...It NEVER occurred to me that the ONLY reason to get a college education was so that I could make money. Education is about becoming a more well-rounded, thoughtful, engaged citizen! Do I think a college degree is the only way to get a good job, no...but it depends on what you want to husband (until losing his job) has always made more money than I do...but he hates the work he is forced to do...I LOVE my job, and always have loved whatever work I am doing, because I chose a CAREER, and studied to become employable in a field I want to do well in. I am lucky that my parents taught me what an education is for, and didn't insist that an education is about making the most money possible...but, since they were both educators themselves...I guess it's not surprising!

Sara - posted on 01/12/2010




I work in higher education and I do think that having a college degree will provide you with more security in the job market, especially if you have a professional degree. It is a fact that on the average, college educated people make more money. I don't think that it's imperative to have a college education, but I think most need some kind of training post high school, at least at a technical college, to make themselves more marketable. That's the reality of the world we live in.

I do wish that the school system was more structured towards helping people pursue different paths. Not everyone wants to go to college, and it would be nice if there were programs where you could apprentice to help you on a certain career path.

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Karen - posted on 08/08/2012




I learned how to learn, was exposed to knowledge learning that I would not have been exposed to in the "real world" (majors in accounting, history, minors in Speech & Theater and French), got a chance to truly explore what I wanted to be when I grew up (went in wanting to be a lawyer, came out as an accountant, ended up doing several other things en route to being a Mom), made friends and contacts that will last me a lifetime. So yes, a college education, if you approach it from the standpoint of helping you figure out what you want out of the rest of your life rather than "career training / technical school" is very valuable (and if you actually go there to learn rather than party). A friend of mine, because of his college education, ended up as an urban archaelogist - exploring proposed building sites for possible artifacts before building could commence. Try finding that kind of job without a College Degree! And he loved it.

Michelle - posted on 01/20/2010




I have found that there are fields where you don't need a degree to enter into the field-- mine, for instance (criminal justice). You can be a cop or work in a halfway house or in corrections with a GED and a specific certification program (about 20 weeks usually). However, to advance in the field you do need to go get a degree. However, (I don't have exact numbers or research) I have heard in many different places that up to 65% of Americans do not work in the field they got their degree in. I think the important part is just having it, not what you focused on. It also really doesn't matter what school you went to, I go to a technical school, but I have just as many opportunities available as someone who goes to a traditional 4 year. Albert Einstein went to a community college.
I think the reason a degree is a big deal is the commitment and hard work it takes to get it-- it shows employers that you're committed to something and that you have what it takes to work that hard for something. Not to say that people who don't go to college don't have that work ethic, not at all, but I think that employers like to have that proof of something. However, if you have accomplishments that you can show a potential employer, specific projects you did, awards you won, etc, it shows them that even though you don't have a degree you are a hard worker and are good at what you do. I also think it's worth so much to have it because if you're going into that field it shows the employers that you are current in the developments of the field. It's just tough in this economy (sigh I'm so sick of saying that) without the degree because the job pool is so small and the applicant pool is so large and competitive. The Bachelor's degree is becoming less and less valuable as we speak. It's hard.
I don't personally think that the college degree should be worth as much as it is to getting a job and being able to survive, but unfortunately that's just how it is. College degrees just make it easier to find that dream job you're looking for.

[deleted account]

No I personally don't think so. During high school I wanted to be a travel agent. I did a mock interview with a man in his early to late 50's who had spent many years as a travel agent. Told me straight away that its hard to get into as in the industry, they look for experiance.
At the moment I'm not sure weither to do a couple of courses or not as I'm thinking of possibly studying makeup artistry with a bit of buisness management (obviously the last one I would)

Charlie - posted on 01/19/2010




I believe the only way to be happy career wise is to do what your passionate about and sometimes that doesn't mean going to college if your passionate about medicine then yes go to college if your passionate about hairstyles then get your hairdressers cert . !

Its pretty simple .

Louise - posted on 01/19/2010




College education is no guarantee to make good money or get you a stable job. It's entirely up to the person. I, however, acknowledge that having the degree I have gave me more opportunity than I have ever imagined. It was a way for me to be financially independent, not living paycheck to paycheck and able to provide for my child.

However, it's a waste of time, effort and money if you go for a degree in underwater basket weaving as my husband would say it. So people should weigh the cost of going to college. Some schools are just diploma mills. I watched Suze Orman and a lady had $90k on student loans to pay for culinary school, and she was being paid minimum wage. Her loan ballooned to $140k due to interest. I can safely say, that degree wasn't worth it.

However, I believe education is good, it can open opportunities. We live in a world where we compete for jobs not just among other americans, but the entire world. If we were to be in the cutting edge, we should have an educated workforce.

Just my two cents.

Veronica - posted on 01/19/2010




Thank you Morgan - you sum up a lot of what we are kind of saying - but I like how you have added the fact that different types of people are needed for different types of job, etc. This is definatly agree with. If we all did the same thing - there would be a lot of stuff not done, taken care of, made, helped, or regulated.
Im not trying to condemn education all together, I just think some of it is more time and money wasted - when programs could/should be designed more precisly for what someone needs for the career they choose.
As an entrepreneur I have definatly learned that everyone is different, they all want something different, and one thing may suit one person, but not another, etc.etc.

Thank you for your input - a very good point of view!

Krista - posted on 01/19/2010




Veronica, you make perfect sense about not needing college to be successful. House painters, mechanics, electricians, hair stylists, police officers, etc. etc. don't need a college education but can be very successful without a four year college degree. And it is true that high schools push their students to go to college. My dad was told by his high school counselor that he needed to be an engineer soley based on his GPA. My dad HATES math and mechanical things but went to college anyway to avoid the draft. He ended up with a degree in history which won't get you far unless you teach or get lucky like he did. He manages a Civil War battlefield and museum and loves it, a far cry for the engineering degree he was told he needed to pursue. His brother on the other hand, didn't do well in high school and skipped out on college. He was a truck driver until he started a family and now he checks oil rigs and makes way more that my dad who has a college degree. Funny how that worked out. Kids should not be pushed into a four year college. We've already decided we want to start a college savings for our daughter but when it comes to it, if she doesn't want to go, fine. As long as she finds a way to support herself and be happy, we will be happy for her.

Precisely. When I was in high school, it almost became like a caste system. If you had REALLY good grades, you went to university and took math or sciences. If you had good grades, you went to university and took liberal arts. If you had okay grades, you went to the community college or trade school. If you barely passed, you just wound up finding some min. wage job out of high school. What the person actually WANTED was considered somewhat irrelevant.

I went to university solely because it was expected of me -- I hadn't a sweet clue what I wanted to do with my life. I DID know that I didn't want to take math or sciences, however, and you would not believe the hard time my teachers and guidance counsellor gave me about taking an arts degree. Because I graduated in the top 5th percentile, they all felt that I was wasting my brain by taking a lowly arts degree. The only way I could shut them up was by lying and saying that I wanted to go to law school. LOL!

Rosie - posted on 01/19/2010




i'm not sure on this one. i went to college for 1 year and my major was pre-vet medicine. to get into vet school i had to maintain a very high grade point average and i just didn't apply myself as well as i should've. i was going full time and working full time, and had just moved in with my fiance who i'd been with since i was 14, and trying to figure out how to make that work. i also had to take classes that had nothing to do with my major,i really didn't see what introduction to modern china had to do with helping animals. as a result i couldn't get into vet school, and had to rethink my major. now 13 years later i still have no clue what i want to do-maybe criminal justice or culinary arts. i now work at a hardware store and have for the last 13 years. i'm very unhappy there, but i feel stuck. they pay me just enough to make it hard to leave as nobody offers that high starting wage, and they work with my schedule very good. if i need to leave to take my kid on a sledding trip for school, they have no problem with that. i know there are a few other jobs around my area that would pay me more, but i do not believe that i would like them or they would not work with me as well as my current job does. i soooooooooooo wish i would've stayed in school. unfortunately it is the only way to get a well paying job for the things that I like to do.

on the other hand plenty of people don't go to college and become very successful. but i know for myself, college would've been the best thing for me. i agree with other posters that something needs to change, whether it be free tuition, or employers being willing to take someone with no experience, i don't know, i wish i had the answer.

Veronica - posted on 01/14/2010




So true, Sara. I think you just hit it right on the head! I too was forced into college - my counselor told me nursing was the only thing i could go for with my high school classes/grades. I HATED it! Dont get me wrong - I love people - but Im for health and wellness, and also outer beauty - cosmetology. I love doing makeup! Its my passion - not being in a clinic/nursing home or hospital - I give the nurses in this world a lot of credit - i see exactly what you have to put up with (and im sure there is more behind the scenes!!) but im not one to associate myself around sickness and death.

But to get back to my point -- thats is all you get is a shove into college -- and downgrading if you dont. No one gives anyone an option, or asks what they really want to do - and you know what? At 18 years old, I think the main priority at that point is FREEDOM!! You are an adult now! You dont have to listen to mom and dad anymore! YOu get to have a place of your own!! If school counselors would focus more on helping people take the necessary steps and open avenues to them - people would be doing what they love - rather than what they were shoved in to do. And the key word is "want" -- some want to go to college, some want a trade, some want to slum around for a few years before deciding their life's career. Let's give them the tools - instead of shoving them out there with a one track mind/one path to follow -

[deleted account]

Veronica, you make perfect sense about not needing college to be successful. House painters, mechanics, electricians, hair stylists, police officers, etc. etc. don't need a college education but can be very successful without a four year college degree. And it is true that high schools push their students to go to college. My dad was told by his high school counselor that he needed to be an engineer soley based on his GPA. My dad HATES math and mechanical things but went to college anyway to avoid the draft. He ended up with a degree in history which won't get you far unless you teach or get lucky like he did. He manages a Civil War battlefield and museum and loves it, a far cry for the engineering degree he was told he needed to pursue. His brother on the other hand, didn't do well in high school and skipped out on college. He was a truck driver until he started a family and now he checks oil rigs and makes way more that my dad who has a college degree. Funny how that worked out. Kids should not be pushed into a four year college. We've already decided we want to start a college savings for our daughter but when it comes to it, if she doesn't want to go, fine. As long as she finds a way to support herself and be happy, we will be happy for her.

Veronica - posted on 01/14/2010




As for $$ with colleges - I obviously do not have all the facts - and didnt mean to be offensive to schools/teachers who are struggling. It was a major assumption on my end, considering everyone who is going back to school - the big grants that are being pushed for education, etc. I assumed since nothing is in the open, that the colleges were doing pretty nicely with the economy slump - which maybe there are some that are, for all we know. Next time i will not put an assumption on here, without the facts - i apologize to Diane and Sara. Thank you for giving me a picture of whats going on near you.

Veronica - posted on 01/14/2010




I think you all make very valid points - to all aspects of college/further education. I think it depends on what you want in life. I also understand that regardless of what you do, you still need some type of education - whether its schooling, apprentice, or on the job training.

I am a makeup artist/senior consultant. Ive done my makeup forever (well over 10 years). Although i 'know' how to apply makeup - I still went in for certified training to learn about makeup, learn about face shape, skintone (we make custom blend foundation/mineral powder etc.); color, and what each peice of makeup is for - what its best use is - what it can be used for,etc. etc. -- so I still had a degree of education. And to keep up with my focus - i must go to training in order to stay with the times-new trends, colors, makeup, etc.

I guess the point of this forum is this - people super push college education. You do not need college education to be a successful person. I may have my business assoc. degree - but that is not what is helping my success. I am an entrepreneur, success for me is getting out in the field and doing my business. No amount of college is going to build my business for me. Do you understand? I think it is wrong for people to fill others head with - you will never make it without a college degree - because this isnt entirely true. Coming from an entrepreneurial end of things.

Im not downgrading college - obviously there are jobs that you need schooling/training for e.g doctors, nurses, etc. etc.etc.

Its just not fair to say that college alone is the only way to wealth.

Does that make sense?

Cassie - posted on 01/14/2010




I think having some sort of an education is key today. Whether that be a tech school, associates, or bachelor's. My husband tried college for two years but was not the "student" type and could not pinpoint a career path for himself. He was just putting us in debt without making any real dent in his educational path. We decided it was in our best interest at the time for him to stop school and just work full time until he could decide what he wanted to do with his life. He had a few full time jobs but with no education or training, he was paid basically minimum wage. There was no way we could ever support a family on that. We were told that a city in our state was hiring police officers and would pay while training them so we applied. It took 2 1/2 years to get hired but he was able to be fully trained while being paid and can now work as a police officer in almost an state in the US.

For me, my mom always ingrained in my sister and I that we needed a college education. She was a stay at home mom who graduated high school but did no schooling past high school. My dad owns his own business and was comfortably able to support our family without my mom working. She was always afraid though that something would happen to him and she would be left taking care of 3 children on her own with no education or work experience. She told us that even if our dream was to be a stay at home mom (which is my ultimate goal) that we should prepare ourselves to be able to support our family if it ever became necessary. I now have my bachelor's degree in Education and am pursuing my Master's. I was easily able to get a part time interventionist job that was really well paid as soon as I was ready to go back to work. I only wanted part time because I still wanted the feel of being at home with my daughter. My sister has not finished a degree and struggles to make ends meet. She has only ever been able to get waitressing jobs and is unable to find a job that offers good pay and benefits without an education.

I do think having that education, even if you just use it as a fall back option, is important in the world today.

Sara - posted on 01/14/2010




I agree with Diana, the economy has affected higher one at the University I work at got a raise last year, and it looks like we won't this year either.

Jodi - posted on 01/13/2010




There seems to be a much greater push toward higher education now than there was when I was a school leaver (22 years ago). When I was in high school, it was very common for a percentage of kids to leave school at 15 and go into a trade, and then again, another lot of kids who left at 16 to do the same. No-one wanted apprecntices who finished school, because they cost more money to train. I continued to graduate high school (Year 12, whatever you call it wherever you are) and applied for a place at University for the particular course I wanted. I didn't get it, but it wasnt a tragedy. It was easy for me to get a good solid job in a sharebroking department of a bank and I never looked back.

When I was 23 I went back to University and did a degree, but by then, I had experience, I had 5 years of it behind me. It took me 6 years to complete my degree part-time, and no, it qualified me for absolutely nothing because I decided not to continue on to a post-graduate diploma, but I do believe it helped me develop in the position I was in at the time. However, with no "real" qualifications (but definitely some schooling an experience) I was able to earn around AU$95,000 by the time I was in my early 30's, and I strongly believe it was a result of BOTH education and experience. (No, I don't earn that now, but that is purely by choice so I can be with my kids and work at home).

Now, to directly address the OP, I do have a problem with college graduates coming out of college with a business or management degree and expecting to be able to get a job "managing" or in "business" without practical experience at all. I did also get halfway through an MBA (I quit when I fell pregnant with my duaghter - I may go back to it one of these days), and management/business theory is a hell of a lot different to practice.

So in summary, my opinion is that a college or university education can certainly give you an edge in certain circumstances, experience is just as important.

Of course, if, however, you are going on to something that REQUIRES a degree and a certain level of education, then that is different. I wouldn't want my doctor operating on me just simply through work experience - I would much prefer he had a University education!!! Same with the teachers teaching my kids, and so on. In general, however, I think there is a balance.

[deleted account]

Actually, I'm employed by a college, and I can tell you first hand that there ARE colleges suffering from the economy. The school at which I work has been in a hiring freeze for a year now. The state is looking at merging several universities in order to consolidate higher faculty and save money by running an umbrella administration that covers several of them instead of having lots of higher faculty members. TImes are tough for most all of us-even colleges.

That said-I don't think that a college education is the end all and be all for everyone. I don't think the American system of education is the best system, either. We keep kids in school for far too long before we allow them to start specializing. For some jobs, it's more important that you be educated in the ways of the trade, with an apprenticeship or something, than that you have an actual degree.

I do think college is important, though. Very important. I just don't think it's the right fit for everyone.

Krista - posted on 01/13/2010




It was really drilled into our heads in high school that the only way to be successful in life was through post secondary education. I was an honors student, and so I basically agreed, and university was always my plan, but I couldn't decide what to take, so I worked in retail for 3 years after high school. My parents definitely did not push me to go back to school - neither of them even graduated high school and ran their own successful computer business, so they didn't see the point. For a while, I actually thought I might just move up in the retail world and be a store manager in the mall some day...but I started to loathe my job and eventually went back to school and got my education degree. I loved university, but so many of the required courses were such a waste of time, and I learned so much more during my 8 week practicum in my fourth year than I did during the 3 years prior. At least trade schools are a lot more focussed on teaching actual skills and practical experience. I went to a local college for my first 2 years and had a lot of scholarship money, so I didn't rack up a huge debt. My loans were paid off about a year after I graduated and I got a job only a few months after I graduated, and being a teacher, my job is pretty secure. So, education was a great choice for me, not so much for others. My husband, for example, has no post secondary and is now working for an oilfield company as a manager and makes $100 an hour (a hell of a lot more than I make!). I wouldn't be upset if my kids chose not to go to university, but I would hope that they at least have a career plan and take some kind of formal training.

[deleted account]

It's a hard decision to make because so many employers require a dagree these days even if you don't need one to do the job. The problem with this is that you're also expected to get work experience too. Part of me wishes that I had gained more experience in the workplace before I started my family.

La - posted on 01/12/2010




I spent 5.5 years on 2 majors in college before I realized I had wasted all that time and money when I could have gone to a tech or trade school and been working and saving right out of high school and continued my education once I had the work experience under my belt. Most of my friends with bachelor's don't even work in the field they studied. Seems like a waste to me.

Jenny - posted on 01/12/2010




NO and I wish our system was more diversified to focus on the individual paths you can take to success. I am a bookkeeper/office manager. I did go to college but only finished my first year. I got everything I needed out of pretty much one course - Financial Accounting. I didn't understand why I needed to take marketing and management principals and all the other lame course to crunch numbers so I dropped out. I've been with my company for 4 years, pick my hours and make $16/hr. so I'm happy with my decision. Previously I worked in a print shop and learned more about marketing there then the course ever taught me. Now I'm basically my boss' sidekick and handle everything about the business except for building the cabinets. I'm also happy to be saddled with only one year of student loan debt and not four.

My partner is a fire sprinkler fitter. It was four years on the job with six weeks of schooling in each of those years but now he makes an excellent wage.

My boss had no schooling. He maanged a body shop for 30+ years, then quit to go build furniture. He is happier and more successful then ever.

Trades were frowned upon when i was in high school, they were considered a fall back career or something you did to "get by". And considering EVERYTHING we have in ALL of our communities was built by tradesmen that is obviously a crock.

I think all post secondary should be FREE; academic, trades, entrepenurial (sp?) school or whatever and focus on turning out the most skilled generation we've ever seen working in the areas they truly want to be in. I bet we'd see a ton of progress then.

[deleted account]

No a college education is not the most important thing. I know peopel who are making more with no education than I have the potential to make with my degree (that I am not using as I am a SAHM). I don't regret my education at all. Finishing my Masters before children was a decision my husband and I made together. I plan on using it when my kids are in school and if anything happened to my husband I have something to fall back on. By the way, I am a teacher so no problem finding a job.

In my state, we have a program called TOPS. Stands for Tuition Opportunity Program for Students. Basically if you make an average GPA and SAT/ACT scores in high school the state will pay your tuition for a public college in state. Its great for many who normally would not be able to pay for school. But you have to go to college immediatly and carry a full course load and it stops after 8 semesters. I've had friends go to college for a year because they got TOPS then dropped out because they lost it due to college GPA and couldn't afford to continue. I think it is unrealistice to expect all 18 year olds to know exactly what they want to major in so they can graduate in the 8 semesters before TOPS ends. It is also unrealistic to expect them to carry full course loads if they need to work to pay for living expenses. I would like to see the program be a little more flexible. Maybe so many wouldn't drop out after the first year and waste that year's tuition money the state gave them. That was a little off your topic...sorry.

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