Is college really worth it?

Sara - posted on 04/05/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Can you learn the same amount of information picking up books and studying on your own or do you have to be in a college/school environment in order to get the most benefit?

If you had to hire someone and had two applicants who seemed to be equally knowledgeable in the field but one went to college and one had just life experience, which one would you chose?

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ME - posted on 04/06/2010

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I think that going to and graduating from college shows a certain amount of dedication, and a desire to better oneself. I don't think that it is necessary for everyone to go, but I know it changed my life a million times over, and I would not give back my degrees for anything. I would ABSOLUTELY hire a person with a degree over one without...but that's just me...getting an education isn't just about learning a set of facts, it's about something more intangible. My Philosophy students are learning a new way of thinking critically about the world. Most of them have never experienced anything like it before. I think this type of knowledge makes you a more well-rounded person, and a better citizen.

LaCi - posted on 04/05/2010

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You can learn anything on your own, but being educated isn't what counts in the job market, the piece of paper to certify that you're educated is what they care about.

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Ez - posted on 04/09/2010

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I don't think doing some reading on your own is ever going to compare to the experience of being at university. It certainly won't hurt, but it's not the same as learning in a structured environment and having to prove your understanding with exams and assignments.

I did a Communications degree, with a double major of Public Relations and Journalism, and have never worked in those fields. I was the same as Krista E - wasn't sure of what I wanted to do at university, just knew that I 'had' to go as I had been long labelled a 'gifted' student (attended an academically-selective high school). So I went, finished my degree, but have no intention of working in the media or marketing sectors. But I certainly don't regret it.

As so many of you have said, a degree means a lot to prospective employers. Even if you're going for a job in hospitality and you have a finance or physics degree. Having that piece of paper shows commitment, determination and ambition - all things that are held in high regard by employers. Obviously in any of the trades, or other practical vocations, experience carries a lot of weight. But even then people have to complete some formal theory to be fully qualified.

So if I was choosing who to hire out of two people who seemed equally intelligent, but one had a degree and one didn't, I'd take the one with the degree every time.

Tah - posted on 04/07/2010

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you can read and research things and teach yourself absoulutely, but things need to be taught in a school setting, in this day and age i believe a degree is necessary, some people luck up and get good jobs without one, but an employer wants proff that you learned it and it was acceptable and you will be able to understand what is required and deliver on it. If not college, you need to go to bill and teds xcellent school o learning and get a dilpoma or certification in something, but i have high expectations, so hopefully college.

Jessica - posted on 04/07/2010

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It's kinda hard, I think in todays world, yes it's benefit because all employers are looking for is that peice of paper that said you passed, but thats all it says, that u passed even if it may have been with the most basic barely passing mark. Whereas someone who has a passion for whatever field and has the life experiance and would be far better at the job gets passed over without the peice of paper....

Lea - posted on 04/07/2010

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Having a degree lends a sense of credibility. If you have a piece of paper that says you are qualified, to a lot of employers thats more reassuring. However, if you get an employer who got where they are through just life experience themselves, they might be willing to cut you a break if they like you. On the other hand, some employers won't even interview you if you don't meet their minimum requirements (certification). I think from their perspective, they don't want to it to come back on them if they hire someone who isn't tangibly qualified and that person screws up, no matter how small. I personally wouldn't want to put myself in that situation where I'm not sure if I'm qualified for the job or not, and I know I'll be subjected to more scrutiny even if I am hired. Co-workers can be nasty too... act friendly like they are trying to get to know you, and then go behind your back and talk about how they don't know how you got the job because of this and that and proceed to make your life difficult. But thats job/office politics for you.

Jeannette - posted on 04/06/2010

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I like Mary Elizabeth's response to this question, because she makes valid points, ones that I'm certain many employers are keeping in mind when hiring.
Did this person do more than the next? Does this person want more for her/himself? Did this person commit to something and finish?
With that being said, I also believe that the cost of the education should not be more than what you will earn. Of course for some reason or another some ppl will pay more than they should for their education because the name of the school is so very important to them.
I know ppl who have 2 year degrees who start out making what I make and earn over 20 grand more easy after just a couple of years experience because they work for the refineries here.
You don't have to have a college degree to do my job, and getting one won't earn you more...it does open up doors to other positions though.
We are trying to keep my daughter on track in how she decides which school she will go to for her RN education..she is currently going to a junior college for her basics and she is able to pay for it in full on her own without loans. Going to a 4 year nursing program will cause her to go into school loan debt, so I'm glad she's doing it this way for now.

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actually i never went to college and was making more than my neighbor who had a bachelors degree. most college kids today just go for the free money or to party. its stupid that you cant even get a waitressing job without college anymore. i am about to go just so i can get a job. i know alot of people in college that are wasting time and i am alot smarter with no college.

Mary - posted on 04/06/2010

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Do I think that a college education always results in a more intelligent, competent, and capable employee? No, not necessarily. However, in today's job market, it is almost essential to have that degree to not only get hired, but also to advance within your chosen career.

I don't discount the importance of life experience or basic common sense and innate intelligence, but for many, obtaining that degree also speaks about personal motivation, and a desire to improve one's general knowledge. Obviously this is not true in all career paths. A bachelor's degree is not going to be of much practical use to a plumber or electrician, but a good one is going to have completed dome type of formal training and apprenticeship.

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If you are self-motivated and self-directed, then I am sure that you could gain a good knowledge of something just by "picking up books and studying on your own", but college/university/schools etc excel in structuring learning specifically to maximise the educational experience. When you are looking into something just out of interest it is easy to be sidetracked by other information.

As for hiring people based on education/experience, it really depends on the field. I work in the health care industry and I have to say, I would rather be working with other nurses and doctors who have degrees rather than just someone with an interest in medicine and a bunch of books. Experience counts for a lot but in my field it is essential to have the theory behind you before you go practicing in order to gain experience. I believe the best education is one that combines theory with experience.

Jess - posted on 04/05/2010

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I didn't go to Unniversaty/college and I have a very good paying job, which is very much worth my time. A good employer should be able to offer on the job training. My employer paid to get me a certificate 3 in financial services. Not becuase its a requirement for the job, but to better educate us all and to give the best customer service possible. I don't think college is the only option to a good job. The choice will be my daughters and I will support her either way, but graduating high school will not be optional !

Sharon - posted on 04/05/2010

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That is tough. I believe a person can self educate.



I also believe some people are really good bullshitters.



WIthout knowing someone personally I would let the paper helpme make a choice. The paper says, yes this is what this person knows for 100% sure.

Caitlin - posted on 04/05/2010

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I wish that life experience counted as much! I had to go back to university (still studying) to get a degree because any job I can get without a degree isn't a job wirth doing for the rest of my life. I wish that a bachelors degree wasn't required but it is pretty much the minimum requirement here for any career type job. On the other hand, comparing with my mother who also got an english degree, they have really dumbed it down since she finished hers. People can't spell or write essays, it's quite depressing...

Lindsay - posted on 04/05/2010

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I hope it is and that I'm not getting myself in debt for nothing. But honestly, it truly does depend on what job you are seeking. You don't have to have a degree to make a good living, but it makes for an easier road to have that degree in your pocket.



If it were completely a battle of book smarts versus street smarts, I'd say that street smarts would win 9 times out of 10. To really have a leg up, you need both experience and a degree.

Jocelyn - posted on 04/05/2010

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I truly believe that (if you are motivated enough and have enough interest in a subject) that you can do just a good job educating yourself, as you would at a school.

If it came down to two applicants for...lets say rewiring my house...and they where equally knowledgeable, I would probably hire the one I got the best vibes from. Just because someone went to collage doesn't mean that they know more than the guy who "only" trained at his father's side.

I met this philosophy major at Chapters years ago and we got into a pretty heated debate surrounding Frederick Nietzsche. Afterward he asked me what school I had studied at (he thought I was a graduate). He almost fell over when I told him I was only in grade 11. I was also (basically) a self taught draftsman (I actually ended up teaching the Design Studies 10/20/30 class my last year in HS because the teacher didn't know how to use the newest Auto CADD program. I also ended up being asked to compete in the Skills Canada Trade Show. I was one of 25 students from across Canada competing in our area, and everything I had learned my final year I taught myself.

Krista - posted on 04/05/2010

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It really depends on the field. With more scientific fields, I can see how the school environment would ensure that no details are missed. But, it's also valuable to have in-field experience to see how that theory translates into practice.



With more generalized fields of study, like my English degree, I think the same amount of information could have absolutely been learned via life experience and a lot of reading.



Unfortunately, there are still a lot of employers who use a degree as a way to weed out candidates. It doesn't even matter if the degree is necessarily pertinent to the job -- they just want to see a degree in order to cull the numbers, which is not fair. So until that practice changes, then a degree does have that additional value of keeping certain doors from closing.



I went to university with absolutely no clue what I wanted to do. I only went because that was what was expected of me, due to my good grades. When my children get to that age, I don't want them to go to university until they have at least a very good idea of what field they want to be in. If it means them taking a few years off and working, that won't kill them.

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