07 March 2014

Why Go To College?

More people are asking themselves that question, as evidenced by the Google search auto-fill in:

From Art of Manliness
I think there are multiple reasons folks are asking themselves this question. Value is the most obvious, especially with the debt load most students now carry. While tenured professors are fat and happy, administrators are fatter and happier, and schools build massive, wasteful edifices to themselves, students leave their institutions and go home to live in their parents' basement, unable to get the job in the field they studied in while simultaneously being saddled with massive debt.

Then there's the question that should actually be asked first - is college even necessary. This ain't 1950 or 1960 or even 1970. The world and job market have changed, as have the options available for learning and training for a career/calling. Many college degrees are quickly becoming (or have already become) obsolete.

And then there's the concern over indoctrination. Many parents I know don't really want to spend $100,000 (give or take a few grand) to have their children turned into fans of Che Guevara. Maybe tech school or buying a business would be a much better investment.

Of course, going to college can be a very rewarding and worthwhile experience. But, again, it's not a given, as noted in a recent Art of Manliness essay:
The late 1800s and early 1900s saw the American corporation take off. Mom and pop shops were no longer the norm, and more and more American men ended up in cubicles. While specific skills were still learned on the job, corporations wanted men who learned leadership, problem solving, and critical thinking at college.
Today, we’re seeing changes in the opposite direction. Schools themselves are seeing increasing financial problems, students (and their parents) are not able to pay for school, and the disconnect between a college education and gainful employment continues to grow. A hundred years ago, the college boom changed American culture. Will the 2008 recession and the growth of technical jobs and entrepreneurship in America change American culture and attitudes towards college again? 
You can read the first in a 3 part series here

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