I’ve wondered for years the purpose of having a college degree. Everyone, at one time or another spend years and a huge sum of money to obtain a college degree. But when we are actually in the workforce, all the things we learned are never used. So the question is what is the purpose of having a college degree?
I have a degree in Bachelor in Business Administration, majoring in International Marketing. If I have to estimate the percentage of time that I have to use what I learned from my undergraduate degree, I would say less than 5%. Majority of the resources I use during my career depends on common sense, logical thinking and on-the-job training. Sometimes I find that it is wasteful to spend so much time and effort in getting the degree that I wonder if going to obtain a college degree is a big “rip-off”?
I recommend watching this video by CNBC on college cost. It demonstrates how some graduates went above and beyond to get a debt and a degree.
There are certain fields and professions do require undergraduate and graduate degrees. For example, a medical doctor or a chemical engineer. These are highly specialized field that will require a deep knowledge of their field to ensure that they are capable to perform in their line of work without any errors. Any mistake could be catastrophic, and even lead to death.
Today’s blog is to go over some points why an college degree is still necessary. Having been working professional for 20 years and spending time interviewing potential employees, I still find a college degree is a good measuring tool to determine if the person is reliable.
College Degree Opens Doors
Without a college degree, I can assure you that many employment doors will not open for you. When there is a job opening in a company, the Human Resources (HR) can easily receive thousands of potential candidates. Before HR recruiter can find the best candidate, his job is “weed” out the weak candidate. The first criteria they use is if the candidate has a college degree. After passing the initial screening, the hiring manager will have his turn to review the resume. Again the first criteria to use is if the candidate has a college degree with good Grade Point Average (GPA).
College Prepares Graduates to Meet Challenges
A college student goes to a university not only to study. These higher institutions help prepare the future workforce by instilling certain values and what to expect once they graduate. For example, they are usually group projects and assignments in the junior or senior year. This is essential in the work environment because majority of the work will require team work. Other example includes writing dissertation. This comes in handy when we need to write report for senior management in a multi-national company.
College Degree Creates Curious Cat
While universities can never prepare each graduate for all eventualities, at least they help create a sense of curiosity when it comes to learning. Not all of us are born with the smart. When we don’t know the answers to certain subject, we research on the subject. This is very similar when we are in the workforce. It is impossible for us to know everything. For example, sometimes I would receive an ad-hoc request to present a subject to the senior management. Instead of sitting in the dark I would research on the subject and also reached out to subject matter expert (SME) to prepare the talking points.
Communication is Key
I have always been an introvert person. I was never comfortable communicating in front of a crowd. I found my experience at Baruch College, CUNY, was so helpful that I learned how to prepare myself in public speaking. Speaking with my college mates, professors and in some of the classes prepared me as I climb the career ladder. In my 20 professional career, I have hold meetings, speaking in front of a large audience and met with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the largest companies in the world.
Several of my son’s friends decided not to attend any higher education. I’ve also read news about some Generation Z young adults decided not to follow the norm. While admire them for their decisions trying to break the institution will only lead to failure. Obtaining higher education remains an integral part of our society. Unless there is a “sudden” change in this mindset obtaining bachelor degree remains a major milestone for everyone who wants to succeed in this modern society.
I think you’re right that a degree can open doors and is increasingly seen as a requirement for even the most basic jobs – which only serves to devalue them. I think it’s worthwhile to also consider the student debt of your degree Vs the future payout it is likely to have.
As you’ve mentioned, it’s the experience of exploring, intellectual curiosity and learning to navigate an increasingly adult-like world which are some of the true benefits
Learning to think cannot be taught – but with time and effort it can be developed. In my opinion, we go to college to learn to think, take our time to form political thoughts and opinions, understand more of the world and have a well rounded outlook.