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21 members have voted
Here is my story:
In 2000 when I entered college my parents made too much money for me to qualify for most government aid and my grades were just good enough to get me into a private college, but not good enough for me to get scholarships. When I started I paid $17,000 a year and borrowed another $5,000 a year for living expenses. By the time I graduated tuition was $23,000 so I left private undergrad with a total debt of about $75,000.00. I was accepted into law school and again had to pay everything from student loans. Which totaled approximately $150,000.00 for a total debt of $225,000.00. Unfortunately, I have had to work (40-50hrs a week) while trying to study for the bar exam because many of student loans came due right after graduation as I had to use most of my deferments when I had an injury that forced me to miss two semesters and the first job I had in California fell through before I ever took the exam so I wasted 6 months studying for a state bar in a state I really did not want to move to. According to my calculations I will end paying well over $350,000 once everything is paid off.
Starting salary in Nevada for an attorney is anywhere from $35,000-$65,000, so it will be a very long time before I start to really knock off any of that debt.
You tell me was it worth it? I know my salary has the potential to grow into the six-figures, but that is several years off from now.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
Bottom line I borrowed too much. I guess there is something to be said about paying for college as you go along and only taking the courses that you can afford to take. Law school is super expensive though without any scholarship. When I graduated it was $900.00 per credit hour and you had to take 90 credit hours to graduate. Plus I borrowed a lot for living expenses and books, approximately $15,000 a year b/c there was no on campus living. Additionally there was Bar Loan I took out that cost me another $15,000.
The other part is that when all my loans are due I will be paying somewhere between $2500-$3000 a month in student loans. That means to live somewhat comfortably I need to make at least $80,000. It is going to be a long road with lots of debt.
Another aspect is that I cannot get a loan for anything due to my debt/income ratio. I drive a 2004 chevy cobalt with over 100,000 miles. Not that I want a new car, but I can't even get approved for one. I would like to buy a house at some point, but that is completely out of the question.
College was never pitched to us in a guided, informative way. It was simply 'if you want to do good in life, you go to college.' As a result, we all ended up taking a bunch of classes we never needed, and in some cases, entire curiculums that were completely worthless. I currently work in gaming protection. Before that, I was a General Manager of a truck stop. Before that, a bunch of random minimum wage jobs. My college? Double major in Biology and Chemistry, minor in Psych/Sociology. Thank all the gods I dropped out before incurring insurmountable debt. The funny (see also: sad) thing is, that while I'm by no means raking in big money, I'm doing better than every single one of those friends who went the distance with their college, plus I have no $X0,000 debt hanging over my head from it.
College is definately needed for the types of jobs some here have. Specialists, whether numbers, the human body, the law of the land, these things couldn't be done simply with a high school diploma. But unless you're 75%+ sure of what direction you want to head, the the idea of college might well be something you want to postpone, if not skip altogether.
It seems there is a misunderstanding among the masses as to what college is. It should be looked at the same way vocational training is. ...
... But unless you're 75%+ sure of what direction you want to head, the the idea of college might well be something you want to postpone, if not skip altogether.
Face: I agree with a fair portion of what you say, and I have some reservations, too. I agree that if you don't have a reasonable idea of what kind of career you want to pursue, you probably need to get some handle on that before making a college commitment. I agree with you and with a previous poster (forget now who it was) that delaying all or some of one's college studies can be warranted. I was a college student during four different periods of my life, and I found each experience to be of value to me.
I also agree that much of college education is vocational training in many cases. But not all. I did essentially all of my collegiate studies at two schools. One is a very good technical institution where studies are very focused on preparing students for specific career areas. The other is a very good liberal arts college where the vocational aspects are often almost invisible -- something like 80% of the students there (at least in the era when I was enrolled) went on to graduate school for their specific career training, while their undergraduate studies provided a foundation both for the graduate studies and for a productive career in general.
While I have studied a variety of areas, I am more an engineer than anything else. Don't discount the value of a liberal arts background for an engineer. It doesn't seem to be very vocationally oriented to engineering, but.... I have encountered far too many engineers who only studied at engineering schools (and at good ones), yet they can't write an effective proposal, they turn out abysmal, unreadable technical reports, and they are absolutely depressing when they attempt to make oral presentations to audiences. A more liberal education would have benefited many of the colleagues I had during my career. Not every bit of education that you need for your career looks "vocational" while you are studying it.