Poll

1 vote (4.76%)
No votes (0%)
13 votes (61.9%)
10 votes (47.61%)

21 members have voted

teddys
teddys
Joined: Nov 14, 2009
  • Threads: 150
  • Posts: 5444
May 4th, 2011 at 9:23:31 AM permalink
A concept that is trending in media and parts of the business community is that college is increasingly worthless:

http://nymag.com/news/features/college-education-2011-5/ (Article here if you can get past the initial picture :))

What do you think? Is college necessary for success? Is there inherent value in being "well-educated" in the liberal arts sense? Should we focus more on vocational/practical learning? Are colleges just too damn expensive?

Someone like the Wizard probably could have been successful without college. You do not need a college degree to create a successful gambling info website; the math background could probably be learned in high school, or certainly or one's own. Other people such as Gates and Zuckerberg have been enormously successful dropping out of college. But are they an exception, or the exemplars we should be looking towards?
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
vert1276
vert1276
Joined: Apr 25, 2011
  • Threads: 70
  • Posts: 446
May 4th, 2011 at 10:17:41 AM permalink
well getting more education is always a good thing. But the question should be is it worth the cost? I have heard a stat that always gets thrown around and have no idea if its true but, they say "A college graduate will earn 1 million more on avergae over their lifetime then some without a college degree" So if this is true.....Its still hard to say because if you just put 50k in a money market over 40+ years it would be worth more than 1 million. But inflation comes into play and standard of living over those 40+ years so its hard to say.

My parents paid for my college, so I have no loans to pay off so in my case it was worth it LOL. I Think the problem with kids today(i'm 33) is they think when they get out of college they should just be able to walk into a 100k job. This is some myths they have learned. And I have no idea where it came from LOL!

When I got out of college in 2001 with a degree in econ form UW. I went to work as an economist for WAMU putting values on CDO's and I was only making $12.50 and hour to start LOL. And I was happy, I could afford and apartment with some friends and moved up quickly. When WAMU went down(got bought out by Chase). I was making close to 6 figures if you counted benefits.

I think it really just depends on what you want to do. Something you are gonna have to go to college to do. You are not going to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer ect ect without going to college. But if you want to be in sales and maybe open up your own service business then I would say its probably not worth the cost. Then again what 18 year old knows what he want to do with the rest of his life. Like a said I think all this "is the coat of college worth it" stuff thats being thrown around lately is just because everyone thinks if they go to college they will automatically make 6 figure right out of the gate and thats just not going to happen for 95% of college graduates.
Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
Joined: Nov 17, 2009
  • Threads: 236
  • Posts: 6763
May 4th, 2011 at 10:19:35 AM permalink
College is valuable. The exposure to professors who are leaders in their fields, opportunities to devise and conduct research, and a broad liberal arts curriculum ensure that we as a people will learn from the past, and have an opportunity to shape the future.

For those who consider the college education worthless: Why stop at college? Why do we need High School... or Middle School...? Why not get rid of compulsory education?
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
Joined: Nov 9, 2009
  • Threads: 302
  • Posts: 8339
May 4th, 2011 at 10:20:16 AM permalink
Quote:

When [my daughters are] 18 years old, just hand them $200,000 to go off and have a fun time for four years? Why would I want to do that?




Quote:

all the hallmarks of a classic speculative frenzy—­hyperinflated prices, investments by ignorant consumers funded largely by debt, and widespread faith in increasing returns.



Quote:

it borders on immoral to ask America’s youth to incur heavy debt for an education for which millions are simply ill-equipped.



thanks, havent finished and already getting some great quotes I'd like to remember
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
MathExtremist
MathExtremist
Joined: Aug 31, 2010
  • Threads: 88
  • Posts: 6526
May 4th, 2011 at 12:08:37 PM permalink
Quote: teddys

A concept that is trending in media and parts of the business community is that college is increasingly worthless.

http://nymag.com/news/features/college-education-2011-5/ (Article here if you can get past the initial picture :))

What do you think? Is college necessary for success? Is there inherent value in being "well-educated" in the liberal arts sense? Should we focus more on vocational/practical learning? Are colleges just too damn expensive?

Someone like the Wizard probably could have been successful without college. You do not need a college degree to create a successful gambling info website; the math background could probably be learned in high school, or certainly or one's own. Other people such as Gates and Zuckerberg have been enormously successful dropping out of college. But are they an exception, or the exemplars we should be looking towards?


As an initial reaction:

1) The answer is predicated on your definition of "success". Humans have been biologically successful for tens of thousands of years without college. If your definition of "success" is financial, then you've already bought into the capitalist social structure and its utility functions, specifically that more capital is better than less capital. But that is not the only plausible or practical definition of success.

2) College is one of the better ways, but certainly not the only way, to hone one's critical thinking skills. That is perhaps the most important lesson one can get out of a college education. Critical thinking, by the way, allows one to step back and realize that the "media and parts of the business community" is not necessarily the most reputable source of opinion. Remember what capitalist business philosophy is all about.

3) I personally learned most of what I know of gaming math *after* college, but I had a good framework to start from. I also went to a college whose name alone has made a meaningful impact to my lifetime earnings.

4) I have several aspects to my business which would be impossible to carry out without a college degree. Not because the degree is necessary per se, but because the environment in which I operate my business gives it so much weight.

5) Remember, too, what the original intent of colleges was -- to pass on knowledge related to one discipline or another to those who would be practicing and expanding those disciplines. I would argue that the pursuit of science is optimally done in a university setting. I would also argue that the pursuit of the liberal arts is also optimally done in a university setting, but the difference is that many who pursue science continue that pursuit after leaving college. I went to school with a chemistry student -- he went on to get a Ph.D. and is now a chemistry editor for a scientific journal. I went to school with several mathematics students -- one of them is now a quantitative trader for Goldman Sachs, several more are professors of mathematics.

However, if someone is going to college to study French literature and then ends up with a job as a marketer for a technology company, I see the logic in arguing that they would have been better served studying marketing for technology companies. Still, evaluating "better served" requires asking "better how"? If the answer has more to do with business success than academic success, you have to ask the question as to what is more important. Because the two are definitely not correlated:

"I'm a moron. That's how you get to the top. Mr. Carroll, are you a bright man?"
"No I'm not!"
Kayak.com ad
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
  • Threads: 265
  • Posts: 14460
May 4th, 2011 at 2:52:17 PM permalink
Sheepskin Psychosis ... best seller from the early sixties.

Talk to some of the "yachties"... they ship out as stewardesses/deckhands/EngineeringOfficers/etc. Take only specialized courses, live in a crew house for awhile, its pretty much a college fraternity/sorority experienced in a very condensed format. Then they ship out on sailing yachts or motor yachts or even superyachts. Even a glorified maid (stewardess) makes 30 grand her first year and visits all the Caribbean and Mediterranean playgrounds. Sun, sand, nightclubs. Many did college first but those who didn't do college first generally love the lifestyle and pretty much bank most of their money anyway. Many get a bunch of books for the voyage and are better read while off-watch than many college graduates. A Boatswain/Divemaster on a yacht saved enough money to buy his own dive school and tropical resort. He never regretted the lack of a sheepskin and was fond of saying his major was Enjoying Life.

A robot repairman might be encouraged to "be well rounded" but employers who hire technicians and engineers want them to be qualified in their field, not well rounded. And of course nowadays... diploma mills are a real problem. India turns out pilots who have thousands of hours on their logbooks but don't know how to fasten a seatbelt. India engineering schools have exams wherein the student writes his cell phone number on the test paper, gets a call from the examiner's cousin, pays a bribe, the examiner fills in the exam paper correctly and eventually a degree is granted. Indian technical degrees, business degrees and pilots licenses/logbooks are becoming a real joke. No value whatsoever. American degrees are nowhere near as bad but some schools are worthless. And a degree from some of those vocational schools would be utterly meaningless to an employer.
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
  • Threads: 221
  • Posts: 11883
May 4th, 2011 at 3:56:09 PM permalink
It depends on your major and plans. No way HS math, even 100 years ago when they still had hard math in HS, would have given the Wizard the math he needed for gaming or acturial work. For my career, the background in a business degree was needed for the first part of my career when I was in management. Now it depends. A 2 year degree would have gotten me able to "do" the jobs. But the rounded backgrounnd has given me the problem-solving skills needed to do more than jsut do it.

Not all degrees are created equal. Any degree with "studies" as part of the wording is basically useless. History and such will get you the background to work in many things, but unless you are going for CIA work it may be a hard slog. Business, math, sciences are best and translate directly to more jobs.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
SOOPOO
SOOPOO
Joined: Aug 8, 2010
  • Threads: 108
  • Posts: 6937
May 4th, 2011 at 5:10:18 PM permalink
I think the problem with this thread is that the non economic intangibles are not considered. I sent my son to ludicrously expensive Carnegie Mellon not just for the information he would be taught but for the interactions with faculty and other students, and his personal growth at being away from home. It is possible, if not likely, that had I put the money away for him and had him go to our local state school, that he would have more money ten years from now. But college is more than a vocational school, or at least it should be.
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
  • Threads: 221
  • Posts: 11883
May 4th, 2011 at 5:18:48 PM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

I think the problem with this thread is that the non economic intangibles are not considered. I sent my son to ludicrously expensive Carnegie Mellon not just for the information he would be taught but for the interactions with faculty and other students, and his personal growth at being away from home. It is possible, if not likely, that had I put the money away for him and had him go to our local state school, that he would have more money ten years from now. But college is more than a vocational school, or at least it should be.



Very good school. I have worked mc nights at both CMU and Pitt and I cannot beging to tell you how much more intelligent the CMU students are. Blocks apart physically, not even in the same dimension in students. The ones I met anyways.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
toastcmu
toastcmu
Joined: Nov 11, 2009
  • Threads: 17
  • Posts: 292
May 4th, 2011 at 6:01:49 PM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

I think the problem with this thread is that the non economic intangibles are not considered. I sent my son to ludicrously expensive Carnegie Mellon not just for the information he would be taught but for the interactions with faculty and other students, and his personal growth at being away from home. It is possible, if not likely, that had I put the money away for him and had him go to our local state school, that he would have more money ten years from now. But college is more than a vocational school, or at least it should be.



As a CMU alum ('94) - it's been interesting to watch as CMU went from "what school? Where's that?" to a nationally ranked school. To put in perspective, back in 1990, there were about 5000 applicants for the 4000 spots back then. From what I hear, the admissions are exponentially harder now, last I had heard it was 15-20k applications for the same 4000 spots.

My own perspective is that CMU teaches how to problem solve, as many assignments were due before the professors ever lectured on them. That combined with it's small size is what makes it special.

-B

  • Jump to: