Has A Bachelor’s Degree Lost Its Value?

Writes Lee Lawrence on the Christian Science Monitor:

The children of white middle-class, college-educated parents, Hugh Green and Turner Jenkins are just the kind of kids everyone would expect to be stepping out into the world one sunny June day, bachelor’s degrees in hand. But they both veered from the traditional American educational route.

One decided that a bachelor’s was never going to be enough, while the other concluded it was unnecessary.

Mr. Green enrolled in an accelerated program that will keep him at Emory University in Atlanta for a fifth year and earn him a master’s degree. Mr. Jenkins is immersed in a culinary training program in Gaithersburg, Md., that he hopes will launch his career as a chef.

Once the hallmark of an educated and readily employable adult, the bachelor’s degree is losing its edge. Quicker, cheaper programs offer attractive career route alternatives while the more prestigious master’s is trumping it, making it a mere steppingstone…

Read More: Christian Science Monitor

14 Comments on "Has A Bachelor’s Degree Lost Its Value?"

  1. Ronniedobbs | Jun 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

    student loan bubble in 3…2…

  2. There seems to exist a phenomenon I call “degree inflation.”

    Try getting a job today with just a high-school diploma. In my youth, it was no problem. (And not just because there were more jobs; employers hadn’t yet come to the bizarre conclusion that a 22-year-old kid with a degree was “better than” a 35-year-old, more mature and perhaps more intelligent person without a degree.)

    Fast forward to 2012, and you need a motherfucking PhD from Harvard to get a job sufficient to provide for yourself and your family.

    With certain technical fields (the sciences), I understand the necessity of having an advanced degree.

    But do you REALLY need a college degree to be a cop, a fireman, a salesperson? REALLY? Are the counter people at McDonald’s going to need a fucking Master’s to qualify in the future?

    Employers have told me: “The degree is pretty meaningless, but having one demonstrates the candidates’ ability to work hard toward a goal, and we have to draw the line somewhere. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum.”

    I counter: “It may also demonstrate the candidate’s ability to swallow a lot of societal bullshit, and his / her willingness to be indebted to the tune of $100,000 at the age of 22. I wouldn’t hire anyone so stupid—why do you?”

    • The average corporate worker drone or mid-level manager job is a study in drudgery. Anyone that would willingly sign themselves up for 4 more years of busy work after graduating high school is a perfect candidate for that sort of job.

      That said, if you’re actually interested in learning colleges are fucking fantastic places. If you’re not self motivated though, no one is going to care and they’ll be perfectly happy to give you the same sort of grade-based rote memorization busy work you had in K-12. In my experience that was at least 90% of the people I meet in college.

  3. according to this article and its contradictions, everyone is screwed except the elite.

  4. discusthrower | Jun 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm |

    getting a degree ends up being what one makes of it… a “C” student could end up with a better education than an “A” student…  except maybe in fields such as engineering, etc…

    How to make the education pay off in the way that you want it to is important.  Unfortunately, the public school system exists, or has existed, in an often times academic vacuum, too rigidly administered by zoo keepers and lion tamers. 

    In the years since I was in public school and even college, and now going back to school I appreciate that they are making some progress.  Unfortunately, our society often places higher esteem to charades rather than careful quiet work.  Getting a “worthless” degree the first time around was definitely valuable IMO.  I feel like a king and can appreciate some things that the majority of other people do not appreciate.

    • Well you are not a king and your awareness is average.  Degrees need to be valuable for everyone that acquires one, they all take the same tests and do go to the same type of classes but the majority is left with dept and thats the opposite of value. Education is an industry just like any other and they will never admit to something that makes them look ineffective. At the end of the day it just creates a cast system and instills more prejudice into a society that is already saturated with hate of all sorts.  At the bottom of all this is the realization that there is no guaranteed road to success and life is custom made for each and everyone of us and we all need to figure out a creative way to create happiness, health and wealth for us individually and when thats accomplished to help create the same things for others that are in need of a little push in the right direction.

  5. The bachelor’s degree is the high school diploma of the 21st century.

    It used to give you a head start in life, now it just puts you in debt for life. 

  6. If a college degree is still important to obtain a job,
    then say you have one;
    they will never check and
    if they do, no one will respond with any useful info.

    They will also not be able to tell you don’t have a degree
    by comparing you to those who have degrees;
    except you may be a little smarter; so try and dumb it down around the grads.

    • I was going to refute what you said, but then I realized I’ve never confirmed that someone actually had the college degree they claimed when I hired them.

      I would somewhat disagree about being able to tell who went and who didn’t by other means.

      There is a certain proficiency with language that comes with a college degree (there are certain exceptions). I don’t think people learn that in college as much as that ability helps select who makes it into and through college.

      In my experience, employers want people with Liberal Arts degrees because it represents a high tolerance for bullshit.

      • right
        a college edumacation is a good indicator of one’s willingness to tolerate BS

        > There is a certain proficiency with language that comes with a college degree

        actually, language skills are enhanced by reading,
        and pursuit of a college degree sometimes causes one to read

        for a 20 year period
        I interacted with highly educated clients
        many had MDs and PhDs
        of that group
        Americans were the most vacuous
        they hadn’t even the basics of a classic “liberal education”
        however, they knew a lot of sports and entertainment trivia
        Europeans seemed to have read more
        and had a greater appreciation of the arts

        most of the really smart and creative people I met at that time
        did not have a college degree
        but had degreed people working for them

  7. Anonymous | Jun 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

    If these student loan companies want their money back……wait do you hear that? Sound like a bubble getting reading to……

  8. the voice of the “sonic” fast-food chain has a PhD in Psych. and a nice voice.

  9. Real value? No. But it does depend upon which college you went to.  If you went to the local Quickie-Mart Interweb College of the Moment, not only is it irrelevant, it probably also put you into Debtor’s Prison.

    But as to whether some Human Resources Representative who’s “people evaluation skills” rise just barely above the level of “WalMart Security Guard” or “Psychic Friend”?

    Then yeah, you’ll probably disregard the value of a BA. If it’s a Liberal Arts B.A. you’ll definitely discount it, because you’re too fucking stupid to understand that having that sort of classical education means you might actually be a well-rounded person who is in possession of critical thinking capabilities which make you more than a mere automaton, and therefore more of an asset to a company.

    But I digress.

  10. If you really just measure the value of a college degree by how many extra dollars it will likely get you over the course of a career, the answer is surely “Yes!” Those with Liberal Arts degrees do seem to be having a rougher time coping financially in today’s America. Those with scientific and engineering degrees, on the other hand are doing better than ever. But the value of a college degree goes beyond mere enhanced earning power. It also lies in the knowledge and wisdom acquired. It lies in the increased understanding of who and what we humans are, where we came from and why we behave the way we do. That measure of the value of a college degree has NOT changed.

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