The Irrelevance of Higher Education

The Irrelevance of Higher Education

Anyone who has been actively searching for jobs over an extended period of time may have noticed that in the last 7 years or so there has been a large uptick in jobs requiring a bachelor's degree. More people are struggling to pay for the rising prices of a college education. However their efforts are in vain. What we are seeing is a trend of jobs that offer way less than you would expect a bachelor's degree to earn you. I've seen companies offer $11-13/hr and still requiring a bachelor's degree.

The another reason why higher education is irrelevant is because most jobs will train you on how they want the job done anyways. If you  are reading this, do me a favor. In the "Comments" portion of this piece, tell me what your degree major is and then tell me what line of work you are in. In most cases, I imagine that the two aren't even related. This begs the question: why do I need a degree? Most jobs require the ability to learn and adapt and grow. I blame HR departments across the United States for putting false emphasis on the need for a college degree as a show of these abilities.

Here is the reality: a college degree proves that you could afford to go to college. A lack of a college degree does not mean that you could not learn. It simply means you could not afford to attend college. Those that can afford college will argue that there are means to attend college such as scholarships and financial aid. What they can't seem to realize is there is a limited amount of money available through both. And what is not covered by those efforts must come out of pocket, which isn't always easy. For example, I came out of high school with a background in athletics, 3.8GPA, 27 on my ACT, and community service under my belt. I was accepted into the pre-law program at UIC, but even with scholarships and financial aid I still had to figure out how to pay $17,000 out of pocket each year. It was not my inability to learn, but financial reasons that prevented me from attending.

I have excelled at every company I have ever worked at, but my experience means little in the eyes of companies hiring these days. What companies are essentially saying is that they support the further separation of the upper class from the lower class. They are placing more value on those who can afford an education than those who cannot.

My solution to the problem is simple. Create tests for the skills the job requires. Want to see how well an employee can follow directions? Then create a hands-on test for that. Want to hear someone's phone etiquette? Have them answer a few sample calls. You are already taking a chance on someone solely based on the fact that they can afford to pay for college. Why not take a chance on someone who can't?

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