Posts Tagged ‘college degree’

The Value of Today’s College Degree

According to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, a survey conducted by Widmeyer Communication indicates that Americans are split on the current value of a college degree.

The question was, “Is a college degree as valuable as it was twenty years ago?” This would put us at 1992. Of those surveyed, 46% said a college degree is just as valuable, while 41% stated that it wasn’t. While those may seem like surprising numbers, 60% of those surveyed indicated that regardless of whether or not a college degree is as valuable as it used to be, it’s still a good investment.

Why might some view a college degree as being less valuable today than in 1992? There could be a variety of answers for this.

As of 2012, more than 30% of U.S. adults have a bachelor’s degree, which is a record in American history. As the New York Times article “U.S. Bachelor Degree Rate Passes Milestones” points out, this increase began in the mid 1990’s. So more people have a college degree now than in 1992. Does more people having a college education make it less valuable? Maybe.

On the one hand, recent college graduates looking for a job may feel like their degree isn’t anything that’s going to put them ahead of the game. With the competition all having a bachelor’s degree as well, it’s the work experience, internships, and other “add-ons” to the degree that will land you a position. In addition, as college graduates struggle to find jobs and pay off loans, many will find themselves working retail, food service, and other jobs they could have obtained without having gone to college. Based on a 2010 article entitled “The Great College Degree Scam” published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, as of 2008, out of the nearly 50 million college educated adults, 17 million were working in jobs that didn’t require a college degree.

On the other hand, if getting a college degree is the bare minimum requirement for so many jobs, getting a degree is all the more important. An employer is more likely to hire someone with a college degree over someone who doesn’t have one, even for retail and food service jobs. Having a degree can also be the difference between getting promoted to management and staying where you are.

One also needs to address the personal value of a college education. Those who’ve gone to college have a wide range of knowledge on more than just their field of study. They’re often more appreciative and accepting of diversity. They’ve learned to form solid opinions and ideas based on facts. College students know how to find the answers when they don’t know them. They can respectfully debate an issue. They can hypothesize. They can dream. College students in general are well-rounded people. Regardless of whether or not they currently have a job, or what that job is, the intellectual growth and personal development that comes with a college education is invaluable.

Looking to get your bachelor’s degree? Cappex is a great place to search for colleges!

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Friday College Town Hall

Categories: Majors & Minors

In Friday College Town Hall, we post a question about college, and you leave an answer in the comment field. Today’s question:

Between 30-40% of incoming college freshmen are undecided on a major when they enter college. It’s also estimated that between 75-80% of students change their majors during their college careers.

Is it good to be open minded about your studies or does jumping around majors hurt you in the process?

Leave your answer in the comments below or tweet at  @Cappex to chime in (we’ll post your answer below)!

Who Are America’s Undergraduates?

Categories: College Life

diplomabiggerIn the midst of all that hype of how you’re going to get into college and pay for it, one very important question gets lost: Who is actually going to college?

Although pop culture spins it a certain way, most students are not focusing all their attention on trying to get into the most selective private colleges in the nation with hopes of becoming the next president of the United States, CEO of some conglomerate that secretly owns everything, or just desperate to live up their wealthy family’s noble legacy and tradition. The vast majority of students just want a college education to help them make a better living than statistics tell them they’d have otherwise.

The Chronicle recently published an article explaining that most college students are actually attending community colleges and public four-year colleges and that a huge portion of those students attend school part-time–a fact that is often overlooked. That’s definitely a tidbit that’s left out of the popular American conception of the “college experience.” In fact, the American “college experience” of Greek Life, football games, partying is not what the actual college experience is for everybody. Students that come from families with smaller annual incomes are not as likely to go to a four-year selective college that offers that kind of “typical” college culture.

To help us grasp what the undergraduate landscape is accurately like, The Chronicle crunched numbers from 2007-8 in two data sets from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Here are some of the trends they found:

  • 39.4% of undergraduates attend community college
  • 37.5% of undergraduates attend public 4-year institution
  • 16.5% of undergraduates attend private nonprofits
  • 6.6% of undergraduates attend for-profits
  • 25.1% of undergraduates annual income of parents and/or independents is less than $20,000
  • 2.1% of undergraduates annual income of parents and/or independents is more than $200,000

Here is the breakdown of colleges attended by students from families earning less than $40,000:

Public 2-year – 50.0%
Public 4-year – 6.8%
Other public 4-year- 15.9%
Nonprofit research-extensive and liberal arts colleges – 1.6%
Other private, nonprofit 4-year – 7.0%
Private for-profit – 15.3%
Others – 3.4%

Do these numbers surprise you? What’s the college experience you want or have had?