True Value of College Degrees

There are varying studies that “prove” the value of college degrees, and yet there are others that “prove” colleges do not actually make one more valuable. However, the bottom line is that simply going to college will not automatically enhance one’s value in the job market.

            The New York Times asked “how much does the actual teaching and learning that happens on campus really matter.” Many people who have college degrees are working blue-collar jobs. However, statistics claim that the median earnings for people who have a 4-year bachelor’s degree were nearly $47,000 in 2007, the median salary for people who had some college education but did not complete their degrees was $33,000 and the median for people with a high school degree only was $27,000, according to The New York Times.

            The question then remains does the college make the individual, or would the individual still be working the same job regardless. The facts are that a college education will help nearly anyone in attaining a job. Also, there are many positions in which a college degree is absolutely imperative. However, the average $20,000 worth of debt, according to The New York Times, is another factor to consider.

            There are many students who opt to attend college, engulf the debt, learn all about economics and political science and then begin their careers as delivery persons/mail carriers. Some of these people then work their way up the totem pole into management positions, as they then rummage through their attics to find and proudly hang their marketing degrees in their offices. These people are likely to have well-paying jobs and they are likely to be respected around the office. Sure, their degrees “helped” them eventually land this job. However, without the degree they could have earned this position, nonetheless. Also, they still had the debt from college. Furthermore, there are some people who never make it to upper-level management positions and work in jobs that do not require a college degree, even though they still spent the time and money to earn one.

            In other similar scenarios, there are people who go into the job market immediately after college and work as delivery persons/mail carriers (we will keep the same example for simplicity sake). Some may spend the rest of their careers being mail carriers. However, some may work themselves into upper-level management positions without college degrees. These people could even compete against people with degrees end excel.

            Essentially, a college education does not make one a better manager, and it does not necessarily make one better at higher paying upper-echelon jobs than one who does not have a college education. At times it might but not always. The criteria for these positions can vary, but a lot of times it comes down to how hard one works, how much one is respected at his/her job, how dependable one is, how well one extends his/her job to help the company, etc.

            The New York Times noted several, different studies all with different results, ranging from college being overrated to one’s location to the nearest college effecting how well one is paid throughout his/her career. 

            The degree will always help, but it won’t be the only qualification considered. Students need to be well-rounded to achieve higher success. They must be able to apply the knowledge they learned to their fields, rather than relying heavily on the fact that they have a college degree.