Useless College Degrees

December/26/2015 8:38AM
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How do young people today decide where to go to college and what to study?

From what I’m observing it’s all peer group driven. Seems parents have little to say, the high school guidance counselors are slightly used, the aptitude tests don’t apply, and where the person lives may play a bigger part than any other factor.

It never, or rarely ever, starts with what career the student wishes to pursue. Parents spend hundreds if not thousands on sports travel teams for kids but rarely a dime to help the kid decide the most import decision of their lives. So, off Janie or Johnnie go to a Big Ten school if they are in the Midwest and that’s where their peer group in their suburb go and they either begin  amassing big student loans or draining Mom and Dad’s retirement fund. Or, if they live in a small town or poorer suburb, it’s off to a state school or community college where they begin  to accrue debt. Sometimes, but rarely, the scholarship process is put into play. Sports, academic, or based on need, the school that will help the most gets the nod.

Does it seem to you that before you invest $160K in anything you should know why you are investing. Shouldn’t little Janie or Johnnie know for certain what they want to be before they decide what to study? Who is having that conversation with them and when does it start? I am watching the Millennials go off to college and I’m asking my kids, their kids, their peers, and their kids a lot of questions. I have only one set of responses that seem to make sense.

A set of parents used a consultant early on with their two daughters. I absolutely despise consultants. So, if you think I am one of those who use a consultant for anything , you are wrong. I believe a consultant knows 24 ways to have sex but knows zero potential sexual partners to send you to. But, in this case, I bend to the wisdom of what I’ve observed. These two young ladies, working with this consultant, knew what degree they wanted to  pursue. They got the grades they needed to get financial help despite their parent’s financial situation, and they went to the schools that had the best program for their chosen vocations and that paid most of their education relative to other choices.

It’s the same old deal. In their teens kids don’t want to hear what Mom and Dad think about their futures. And, Mom and Dad aren’t real good at listening. Nor, are they up to date on whats going on in this arena. The school guidance counselors are the same. Aptitude  tests don’t really answer anything. So the kids go off to the school that has the best football team, or where the boyfriend or girlfriend are going, or the one that’s the furthest from home. Then go there in genera studies because the degree they really want requires a better ACT or SAT score or grade point average. They will get the grades. But, guess what, they don’t.

Now, there’s a whole new set of peers who will influence the career choice. Mom and Dad are definitely out of the picture unless they are paying the bills. The kid gets a useless degree from a prestigious university with a good football team and a lively Greek system, but there are no jobs and there is that little $160K student loan that can’t be paid with the menial job the kid has.

Maybe, just maybe, there should have been an adult in the room at age 15, 16, or 17 spending a specific amount of time with Janie or Johnnie discussing this when the kids were getting coaching on a sport they will never play again. So, you parents out there want some advice, find that person who has a track record with kids and pay them to do what the kids won’t let you do, and see if they can steer your kids to a place with a degree that can repay the student loans. Why not, it’s only the rest of their lives we are discussing.

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Comment (1)

  1. Charlotte says:

    Very interesting points. I think it would be a really cool job to help kids (young adults) find the correct college.

    The problem now is that colleges are really just indoctrination camps for young adults to figure out who can be the biggest victim. Not all, but most.

    College should be a time of discovery, and maturation with classes worth taking, and challenges taken. The present crop of socialist professors are making it a kindergarten class so that if someone gets their feelings hurt, they are allowed to color in coloring books to make it “better.” Go figure.

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