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College isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

By   /   February 27, 2013  /   Comments

I’m a student of the world, which is a fancy way to say I’ve learned most of the things I know outside of a classroom.  That’s not to say I’m actually down on a college education.  However, after years of people telling our kids that they need to go to college, it’s probably a good idea to realize that just getting a college degree isn’t quite as big a deal as it once was.

You see, the focus has exclusively been on going to college.  There’s been remarkably little focus on majors.  Kids are taught that if they go to a good school and get a degree, they’ll be good to go.  Unfortunately, that’s really not the case.  You see, college is only a part of the equation, not the whole answer, which is what it’s been presented as by many people.

I freely admit I don’t have a degree, and I’ll be the first to admit that it has caused me a great deal of difficulty.  However, I’m not alone in being held back, and a lot of those who join me actually have college degrees.

Folks, going to college is a good thing.  I think anyone who can thrive in a traditional classroom setting should go to college.  However, they also need to understand that some majors are just not going to give you a lot of options all by itself.  Women’s study majors aren’t exactly in demand in most modern offices.  Before you think I’m picking on women’s study programs, history and philosophy – more traditional college majors – are in the exact same boat.  Unless you’re wanting to teach these subjects, there’s just not a lot of demand for your major.

Now, that’s not to say folks shouldn’t study their passion.  However, those students needs to understand that they’re entering a job pool full of people who majored in whatever.  Their ability to find a job, especially one that will help them pay off large student loans easily, will be limited.

Folks, there are a lot fewer issues with engineering majors paying their student loans back, just to name one example, than African studies majors.  There are a lot other majors that fall into those categories.  Some are great opportunities, others aren’t going to give one a lot of financial options immediately after college.

College is a wonderful thing, and people should avail themselves of it if they’re so inclined.  However, we need to stop treating a college diploma as the end all and be all, and start pointing out the knowledge itself is what matters.  We need to urge students to be careful in selecting their majors based on what they wish to do for a career.  If we do that, college really will be all it’s cracked up to be.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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