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the value of a university education

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by scarphe, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    I guess it shouldn't surprise me that this question is raised so often among the general popultion (i.e. non-teachers, etc.).

    Here's my economics (and former professor) take on it:

    Your college degree is a signal to employers that you are able to learn. Sure, little of what you learned in class may be applicable to your actual job and you will learn much of what you need to know while employed. But college (just like HS and primary school before that) give you the basis from which to learn those things. Showing your potential employer that you are able to learn (and learn quickly) tells them that they won't have to spend so much time teaching you stuff. That's why things like your GPA and course distribution count so much. Were you able to learn well in many different subjects? If yes, then you look even better.

    Beyond that, I'd argue that going to college and learning a bunch about a number of different subjects also makes you a more interesting person. And no matter how much anyone argues that you could learn that (history, art, philosophy) on your own I have two responses: (i) aside from learning names and dates, you won't learn much else and (ii) you'll never actually do it if you're not forced. And I'm all for forcing people to become more interesting.

    b



    pretty much agree completly
     
  2. suited

    suited Well-Known Member

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    Agreeing with this. While it's theoretically possible to study almost anything yourself (clinical and other applied sciences aside), it's very hard to find the self-motivation to make any serious advances.
    It's rather easy to "study" things that interest you completely on your own. College is a reflection of how much you're willing to learn about things that may or may not interest you, while paying someone to do so, instead of being paid.
     
  3. v0rtex

    v0rtex Well-Known Member

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    i am just wondering why such pressure is put on a university degree, as form experience most of the people with degrees learn 99% of the things they need to know working.
    People are lazy and like to take shortcuts. This is an innate part of human nature (see Robert Cialdini's "Influence"). From assuming that a $50 widget must be better than a $25 widget, to assuming that a guy in a nice suit must be wealthy, to assuming that a person with a degree is smarter than someone without, humans rely on a simple set of signals to make snap judgments about people. I have a degree from a good school with a complicated sounding major and it's incredible how many people take this to immediately assume that I am some kind of genius without knowing anything else about me. This is both depressing and incredibly useful. In reality I cruised through college with mediocre grades because I found it boring and preferred to spend most of my time intoxicated and chasing women. That bit was rather fabulous. Since then I've pretty much forgotten anything I learned about the specialist academic field I got my degree in and live in terror of actually running into anyone who knows enough about the subject to quiz me on it. Meanwhile, the guy who spent that 4 years building up commercial experience has to spend time explaining all his work and how it improved his skills - time which many people just don't have to give (not least recruiters who're thumbing through a stack of resumes). It's unfair and stupid, but a college degree makes people assume you're smart and flings opens doors which you'd otherwise have to work damn hard to get a foot in. Whether or not a top-tier US degree is worth it is another question. In the UK, where you pay about 10% of the cost of a top US degree, it's unquestionably a bargain in terms of return on investment over your lifetime.
     
  4. Tardek

    Tardek Well-Known Member

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    I also forgot, it might not have anything to do with the value of a university education but you are unlikely ever to meet such a large selection of girls willing to sleep with you.

    Until you hit the workforce? There are usually 3 or 4 girls in any mid-sized situation who will sleep with you at any given time.

    Anyway, yes, university is important, because otherwise you can't get your foot in the door for a lot of jobs. Good luck doing it with an arts degree as well.
     
  5. crazyquik

    crazyquik Well-Known Member

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    Until you hit the workforce? There are usually 3 or 4 girls in any mid-sized situation who will sleep with you at any given time.

    Anyway, yes, university is important, because otherwise you can't get your foot in the door for a lot of jobs. Good luck doing it with an arts degree as well.


    It is much harder to find a mate of the same socio-economic class as you outside of a university setting. While that's not the be-all, end-all; your marriage is more likely to last if you start off on about an even foot. I don't want to sound crass, but few MBAs are going to marry high-school drop outs, and vice versa. People will largely marry someone with comparable education.
     
  6. GQgeek

    GQgeek Well-Known Member

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    Until you hit the workforce? There are usually 3 or 4 girls in any mid-sized situation who will sleep with you at any given time.

    Anyway, yes, university is important, because otherwise you can't get your foot in the door for a lot of jobs. Good luck doing it with an arts degree as well.


    Depends. Some of us have mad skillz. ~ Btw, there was a study done years ago that showed that there are more CEOs with Arts degrees than anything else. I don't know if that's still true, but often times people with arts degrees tend to be more well-rounded, hence their increased success.
     
  7. MCsommerreid

    MCsommerreid Well-Known Member

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    Unempployable how?
    There are two Engineering degrees that are extremely general: Chemical and Mechanical.
    As a Chemical Engineer, you will learn about physics and mechanics, electrical systems, thermodynamics, material science & eng., heat and mass transfer, etc. Basically you get all the tools regarding applied science.
    Philosophy on the other hand gives you a strong background on logic, ethics, metaphysics, epistimology, etc. which give you an understanding of the world.
    Combine the knowledge of applied science with the understanding of your human environment and you become a decision maker.
    At this level of intelligence you have more of an employer than an employee.
    If you feel that you'll be unemployable that is great: long live entrepreneurship, long live greatness, long live capitalism, long live America.


    It's called a joke, last time I checked.
     
  8. Tardek

    Tardek Well-Known Member

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    Depends. Some of us have mad skillz. ~

    Absolutely. When I finished my arts degree in history and asian studies for example, I almost immediately scored a fantastic job in the kitchen of a law firm [​IMG]

    Clearly a study undertaken by a student of the arts. When was this the case, in the fifties? Most CEOs by now probably have MBAs.
     
  9. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    Nothing wrong with a humanities or social sciences degree, but for god's sake please do an internship. If you graduate with nothing but "B.A., sociology," you're going to be pushing paper at some two-bit company.
     
  10. makushin

    makushin Well-Known Member

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    Depends. Some of us have mad skillz. ~ Btw, there was a study done years ago that showed that there are more CEOs with Arts degrees than anything else. I don't know if that's still true, but often times people with arts degrees tend to be more well-rounded, hence their increased success.

    Yeah, how many people here are going to be a CEO? I'd say the talent needed to head a corporation does not come from obtaining a BA degree.

    The point is that an arts degree from an average school does not usually get someone on top of a pile of resumes for a fast-track position. I think those studies often confuse causation and correlation.

    An econ degree from a state school typically gets you a government job or a commercial banking job. There's more money to be made in union construction and small businesses and countless other occupations. For example dock workers on the west coast make over $100k a year. These are the kinds of jobs my friends from HS that didn't go to college are doing, and some of them are very successful, while many of the college folk are fumbling around in dead end 'white collar' jobs.
     
  11. PolePosition

    PolePosition Well-Known Member

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    I have to disagree with some of what has been written. I think when a person studies one of the hard sciences; math, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics. they change as a person. This change also happens with other majors but it is most vivid in those that study the sciences.

    No doubt there are many college grads working in fields not related to their studies. I would venture to guess the more difficult the major the less you see of this - I can't imagine many engineering grads working retail.

    I studied communications as an undergrad and am perusing a graduate degree in a highly quantitative discipline. The change I am noticing in myself as a person, as a being, is stark. I think, I hope, the tools and outlook I take from this experience are highly desirable by employers. And if not, I'm a hell of a lot smarter for the journey and that is truly priceless!


    For the most part, I agree.

    To add to that, in this country the mentality is that you go to school in hopes of acquiring knowledge and skills for future employment. Upon entering school, it is quickly noted that any knowledge acquired will more than likely not be directly used in the future and is discounted as rubbish. Likewise many just want to attend class, get their desired grade, and receive their paper and get on with life.

    This is the WRONG APPROACH to education. Knowledge is power. The integration of any acquired knowledge into daily tasks and problem solving is of paramount importance to being successful as a person and employee. Being teachable is a valuable asset. Those that are teachable at a university will be able to properly acquire knowledge and apply this knowledge to situations that many will not even consider as being applicable to.

    I have a business degree and am about to finish a biology degree; after which I will enter pharmacy or medical school....... I have been able to apply much of what I've learned from both degrees into all aspects of my life and in working various jobs. I've been able to learn many things quickly because of a wide and varied amount of general knowledge that I have acquired through years of education. I can see things and figure out things in my science classes that most of my peers cannot because they do not value education and as a result are unable to problem solve because they have no foundation of general knowledge and definitely no foundation in scientific knowledge either because once they "learn" something for a test they throw it out. I've been able to problem solve issues in real life or been able to make better life decisions (life is wide and really just encompasses anything) as a result of integration of historical, psychological, philosophical, chemical, etc. knowledge I have acquired. All this as a result of a college education. Knowledge makes life easy but people just do not realize this.

    I'm not trying to say I'm smart, because I'm not. Many people think faster than me, see things from angles I can never see, etc., but my life and the obstacles it presents and the challenges I face from places of employment get easier with the more knowledge I acquire and apply. My girl is has said to me "Why does it always seem like you know everything. Anything I ask you, you have the right answer to". My response is "I don't know much at all but I use what little I do know to figure things out that I don't yet know about".

    Knowledge is power. Thirst for it and you will be richly rewarded. A college education is nothing to scoff at. If all you see is "why am I learning this, this has nothing to do with my future job" then you are already missing out.
     
  12. Contingency Plan

    Contingency Plan Well-Known Member

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    Whether or not a top-tier US degree is worth it is another question. In the UK, where you pay about 10% of the cost of a top US degree, it's unquestionably a bargain in terms of return on investment over your lifetime.

    Gotta love it. My tuition fees are only £3145 a year; my bursaries are almost £4k.

    Are the Ivy League schools really 10x better than Oxford/Cambdridge?
     
  13. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    Are the Ivy League schools really 10x better than Oxford/Cambdridge?
    No, not 10x.
     
  14. Dewey

    Dewey Well-Known Member

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    a university education is a luxury. you do it because you can do it
     
  15. Eason

    Eason Well-Known Member

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    A university degree at least shows they have some work ethic, I wouldn't hire somebody who didn't go to university unless they showed me they had lots of experience, because you learn precisely dick before college in American schools.
     
  16. Squall.Leonhart

    Squall.Leonhart Well-Known Member

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    I'm getting a BS in film.

    Does it mean I'm going to helm the next multi-million dollar comic book adaptation for the big screen? Probably not. But like a lot of you said, for the internships at most of the studios I've spoke with, they won't even give you the time of day or opportunity unless you have a university degree in the field of film or business (depending). We have family friends in the industry who I've known my entire life that can't wait to let me intern for them, but they also told me that they won't give me the opportunity until I've finished school. When I asked them why I couldn't just pack my shit up and head an hour south to LA, they said "because when someone asks me what you've accomplished when you are following me around or getting my coffee, I need to tell them you're a film school graduate". I think it's about the clout that it brings, and how a degree inadvertently says that you know how to complete something you've started.

    IMO a degree isn't a hand-out for a $250K+ salary, but more like a badge. You'll always have something over the other guy standing next to you.
     
  17. TyCooN

    TyCooN Well-Known Member

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    You'll always have something over the other guy standing next to you.
    What's next after everyone gets a degree?[​IMG]
     
  18. x26

    x26 Well-Known Member

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    What's next after everyone gets a degree?[​IMG]

    Advanced Degree's...
     
  19. crazyquik

    crazyquik Well-Known Member

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    What's next after everyone gets a degree?[​IMG]

    Masters in Made-Up-Unsupported-Goofy-Bullshyt.
     
  20. MCsommerreid

    MCsommerreid Well-Known Member

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    What's next after everyone gets a degree?[​IMG]

    Actually requiring people to know shit again? 80-90% of people with degrees these days don't know jack squat, either about their major or really much of anything. So many garbage degrees given out by garbage schools to garbage people. Makes me want to vomit.
     

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