Is a University Degree Worth It?

Are universities worth it? Is a degree worth the time? Is the graduation scroll worth the money?

That’s a problem that many parents are considering nowadays. The cost of a post-secondary education has steadily increased over the past ten years. In other words, more and more undergraduate students need student loans in order to go to university. Many people who can’t afford to go to university and don’t want thousands of dollars worth of debt simply decide to start working after high school.

In this recession, more and more university graduates realize that they can’t find a job in the field they majored in. Young adults who majored in finance can’t find finance jobs, engineers can’t find engineering jobs, etc. Hence, it is not uncommon nowadays to see waiters who graduated with a degree in humanities from Yale. That’s the state of the jobs situation in America.

So if students are spending years and thousands of dollars on a university education, and end up getting the same job as those who didn’t go to university are, is a university degree worth it?

Let’s consider from two points of view; those who plan on working for others after university (or after getting an MBA), and those who plan on becoming entrepreneurs.

Those who want to be employed by others.

The answer is definitely a yes. First off, let me tell you a bit about history.

China, under Mao Ze Dong’s Cultural Revolution, shut down all universities in the year 1966. He did this under the name of “social equality” (making sure that no one was smarter than anyone else). It was still mandatory for all students to finish Gr. 12 (high school), but after that, formal education ended. Most people simply gave up studying after high school. Under a communist system, there was no incentive to continuing studying after high school because there were no universities and everyone made the same amount of money.

But a few people, very few, kept on studying on their own time. People laughed at those who kept on studying after high school during this time, saying “what’s the point?” And in 1978, everything changed.

China resumed all university education in 1978. This was because there was a shortage of highly educated people. Universities had been shut down for 12 years.  So those who continued to study after university now had the capability to go to university, and those who didn’t, couldn’t go. You may not realize, but in China back then, going to university could totally change one’s life for the better.

My point is, some people may say that there’s no point of going to university (it’s a recession), because those who go  end up getting the same job as those who don’t go to university are. It’s true. But once this recession ends, those who have a university degree will get much better jobs than those who don’t. Employers obviously prefer hiring well educated people.  And once the economy recovers, those with a university degree will on average live much better lives.

Young adults who want to be entrepreneurs.

For those who want to work for themselves, going to a university is only worth the time and money if you’re going to a really good university.

For entrepreneurs, it’s not the skill you learn in a university that counts. Most of the stuff they teach you in business school or undergrad is theory, and doesn’t apply in real life. What matters are two things. The connections you make, and the lectures you get from top businessmen in America.

Let’s face it. Connections, in the world of business, count. Kids who’s parents are are at the top of society go to top notch universities like Harvard and Yale. Hardly any rich kids go to community college. If you want to be an entrepreneur, then you need connections. And it’s easiest to make connections on campus life, at universities like Harvard and Yale. So go to a really good university, and make those connections. If you’re in an average university, you’re just wasting your time.  Once you have your accounting degree you might consider getting your aat level 4 to further your professional qualifications.

A 2 hour lecture from Jim Rogers is worth more than a whole semester worth of lessons from any given professor. This is because the average professor teaches mainly theory. And as we all know, most things that work in theory don’t apply to reality. However, many captains of industry and highly successful people only make speeches and teach a few classes at top universities like those in the Ivy League. These people teach from their experience; what works in real life and what doesn’t.

 

So for those who want to be entrepreneurs, try getting into the elite universities. If you can’t, simply start a business right after high school.

11 thoughts on “Is a University Degree Worth It?”

  1. Interesting article! Read a stat the other day that 80% of college students are working in a field DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THEY STUDIED 10 years after graduating from college!

    It seems to make a lot more sense for a person to figure out what they want to do, and, if a degree is required to do that……then go to college. I was a “flounderer (is this a word?).” I didn’t know what else to do after college so I got a worthless degree in math. During my senior year, I am sitting in Numerical Analysis and then it hit me, ‘I hate this stuff and will never use it.’After that I floundered into psychology and kinda did the same thing.

  2. I think it all depends on what kind of degree you get. The less specialized the degree the less chances you have of finding a job. At least that is what I have seen where I live. If I am hiring people I am much more interested in their experience than their education.

    1. You’re right. If you’re hiring a financial analyst for your investment firm, then experience is a 100 times more valuable than your degree.

  3. I don’t think it’s as cut and dried as you make it sound. Even for entrepreneurs, if you choose the right degree program you can learn a lot in class that’s applicable. Do you want to invent and market new products? Industrial design or mechanical engineering may give you a good background on how to design things in ways that are more efficient or user friendly. Do you want to open a restaurant or cafe? A degree in culinary arts might be helpful. Name a type of business and I can probably come up with a relevant degree that would actually help. I understand that a lot of people can and do run successful businesses without a college degree, but if you think that college is primarily beneficial for the connections then I can’t help but think you must have chosen the wrong degree program or the wrong school. I don’t know anything about you or your educational or career backgrounds, but that’s the way this comes off to me. Especially given your response to krantcents.

    1. You’re right. It depends on what industry. For those that are highly technical – computers, engineering, being an entrepreneur can be worth it. But for econmics, the things they teach you are purely theoretics. And there’s a big gap between real world economics, and the stuff they teach you in textbooks.

  4. I put myself in the second category. With the internet and its capabilities I dont even know if you truely need college. I can watch as many business lectures as I want and meet entrepreneurs like me online all day. This makes the need for a degree that much more worthless. Anyways that’s my 2 cents.

  5. Education and training help accelerate your career. A degree may not help immediately, but helps you prepare for higher level thinking and expands your horizon. Many of my liberal arts classes just rounded out my education and helped develop my whole self.

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