Graduates question whether a degree is worth it

graduationAugust 23, 2013 – If you are a student or the parent of a student heading back to college, here is something to consider.

A recent online poll indicates a whopping 65% of college graduates believe their education has had no impact on their job situation. In other words, what they learned in college is not helping them in their current jobs.

The poll also says that while 25% of respondents believe a college education is an appropriate training program for their career, only 10% believe it is “very effective” at preparing graduates for the working world. Chances are those 10% work in industries where higher education is necessary, such as engineering or medicine. Still, considering that most people go into serious debt to earn a college diploma, these are eye-opening statistics.

The poll sponsored by the University of Phoenix and conducted by Harris International, surveyed 1,600 employed adults in April. I am not sure that the survey indicates college is not important, but it strongly suggests higher education practices should adapt to the current needs of the workplace.

Count me in as one of the 65%. As an adult student, who went back to school after more than 20 years in the workforce, I often wonder if it was worth it. On a social level, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the friendships I created with my fellow classmates. I also took classes that led to great discussion and opened my mind to possibilities. Yet, if you pressed me to name something specific that helps me in my day-to-day duties as an internal communications manager, I would not be able to answer easily.

Granted, the degree may have helped when I began my job search after a layoff from a company that employed me for 23 years. I may not have the job I have now without it, or I may not have had much response for interviews during my job pursuit without having mentioned the degree on my resume.

It seems that ultimately, I paid to say I have a degree. That is not very comforting when I pay that student loan every month.

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