College is Important

One thing I want to mention first is that this blogger did make some good points, however, I do not feel those points fit for the majority of jobs or people and there are simple solutions. Again, I agree that there are some BS (bull crap, not bachelor of science) degrees that aren’t necessarily marketable, but being a lifetime learner is something I feel is important (and the fact that in college you learn much, much more than just your major’s subject).
On a financial point:
Yes, college is expensive. Very expensive. I was an exception to the rule. I went to BYU, an LDS run and owned college, but open to anyone! Because it was subsidized by the LDS church, my semester tuition was only about $2500, and I had half-tuition scholarship based on grades and other academic achievements, and my parents paid the other half. Yes, I was an exception to the rule. But, I’ve known many people who had to pay their own way through and still graduated without debt.
You do not have to go to a big expensive school to get that college degree that will pay you a lot of money. I’m not trying to bash or dissuade you from trying to get into Princeton or Harvard, I’m just saying, maybe Virginia Tech has as good as a biology program as an Ivy League School. Also, if you are really struggling financially, start off at a community college. Their tuition is dirt cheap (you still get a good education), and you could even possibly live at home to save some money, if you wanted. The nice thing about starting out at community colleges is that most only offer an Associates. So, you have some college experience and you can take a bit more time to decide if you want to continue on to a Bachelors and in what subject. Also, if you decide later that what you got your degree in isn’t what you enjoy anymore, you don’t have to start over. Take Post-Bach classes. They are a quick, less expensive road to getting certified in that subject you decided you like better.
Don’t trade loans for housing. There are some new college apartment complexes that have just been built here in Provo, and a shared room is about $400. Do you really need that large screen TV, new model of dishwasher, new carpeted, pool and gym included apartment? Honestly, I don’t think so. I lived in an older complex (that was a 10 minute walk from my classes) with a bit more rundown quality. But, I only paid $250  month! And, I hardly spent time in my apartment: I was either at class or the library studying, working, or out socializing with my friends.
Honestly, as a teacher’s perspective, I feel the problem with money trickles down to our kids just not being educated well enough in financial issues. What is becoming a huge trend in high schools now is being required to either take an economics class and/or a financial literacy class. This way, as we send Bill or Jill off to college as an 18 year old, they will know how to budget and save and spend wisely, allowing them to escape a higher debt or loan.
And yes, again, college is very, very expensive. And the economy is crap. But, that is just a cycle. The economy and unemployment rates were crappy in the 1890s, the 1930s, the late 1950s, the 1970s and 80s, and now again. It is just a cycle which many economists have proven. So, yes, the 2010’s early adults are struggling, but it may be much better and easier for our children.
On an economical and professional point:
Again, I am going to agree that some don’t ever use their degree and again, some degrees just aren’t marketable. But, the majority of the time, having a college education is a bonus, not a hindrance in the economy.
I have known many professionals in charge of hiring. Many flat out say they don’t even look at a resume if it isn’t formatted correctly, if there is a spelling mistake, or if they don’t have some sort of college experience. Notice I didn’t say college degree–just experience in college. My father-in-law helps with marketing has told Justin several times that if a resume is not well-formatted or clean, he’ll never read it. (Now again, there are exceptions to the rules of everything I am saying here. My father-in-law for instance, only has an Associates in agricultural mechanics, but is in a high position in his company) Colleges help train you to write resumes. They actually help train you for many different experiences that are required in the work place: typing/secretarial work, computer skills (unless you love reading HTML or learning how to correctly use Excel in your spare time–I do have friends and a husband who have done that), writing proposals, memos, conducting research and properly recording it, and much, much more. That is experience right there.
Colleges also help provide you with internships that allow you to gain experience. Also, many colleges have on-campus jobs that help you with your subject matter. I am an English and History teacher. I have worked as a professor’s assistant and in numerous different on-campus writing labs. One of my roommates wanted to go into broadcasting, so she worked at the switchboard with BYUTV. My husband has even found some career-related work in his part-time job by using his job as part of a class project that his job wants him to expand on. Even vocational or technical school is still higher education and that is definitely on-job experience.
For the most part, jobs do look for higher education. The only siblings of mine who live at home are teenagers in school all day. My mom likes to stay busy and wants to get out of the house. She wants to work. But, she has a hard time finding a good job that she thoroughly enjoys because she doesn’t have a full college education because of her decision to be a stay-at-home mom (and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world!).  She is smart, and probably one of the fastest learners I know, but jobs don’t care about that. Many of my teaching friends are going back for their masters or PhD and their school district is helping to pay for it. When Justin graduates in actuarial sciences, he will have taken 2 professional tests. His job will likely help pay for him to study and take more so that he can be even more experienced. Jobs want you to be better educated and for the most part will be willing to help pay. I also know many friends, relatives, and colleagues who are now being required to go back to school if they want to progress any further in their career.
From an experiential point of view
What I did really like about this blogger’s post was that she really, honestly, truly did love her college experience and admits she learned a lot of good life lessons. Colleges do that. Not only do they teach you academics, they teach you life. You are (for the majority) no longer living at home. You have to balance education, work, social life, and health. You have to decide what to buy and what to save. You get to know a different place in the world, expand your horizons, experience great opportunities. 
The problem I feel, as an educator, is that if we say “college isn’t a necessity, you won’t end up using your degree at all” as a definitive rather than “this can happen” or “this applies to some, but not all, not even most,” we are setting our future posterity up for failure. If kids see us not going to college, because it isn’t a necessity, why should they apply? And, if they aren’t going to college, why even try in high school? It doesn’t matter. You won’t end up flipping burgers at McDonalds. This is exactly how my 8th graders acted last year. It was the last year their grades didn’t count for high school (towards graduation). Guess where 60%+ of the entire (7-9 grade) school’s F’s came from…8th grade. They didn’t care because it didn’t count towards anything, it was just a letter on paper. Now, push that to 9-12. They’re not going to college. It’s just a letter on paper and work places won’t care. They won’t care about their education at all.
Colleges also don’t just teach you your (maybe unmarketable) degree. Colleges have required GE’s. They want you to become cultured and well-rounded. Now some colleges have skewed expectations of GEs (which my husband vehemently agrees with). Some more technical schools require more science, mathematical, etc. type GEs, where liberal schools are the opposite. There probably won’t be a good balance of GE’s ever. But, that point is, you do learn more than just your degree. That also helps you through life to have that knowledge.

From my husband’s point of view:
Justin here…  Let’s get one thing straight, I hate college.  There exists way too many things about it I wholeheartedly disagree with, however, I feel it is a necessity; not essentially from the academic perspective that my wife has shown, but from a practical perspective.  Its true that a lot of employers won’t care about what your degree is in or what classes you took while in college, but they do care you did it.  I did Boy Scouts for several years, and narrowly missed getting my eagle scout.  On a resume, employers love eagle scouts, simply because it means you’ve accomplished something practical.  They don’t necessarily care what you did, what badges you got, or whatever, they just care that you’ve accomplished something that takes a lot of dedication and patience.  Is it a reflection of your skills?  Probably not.  In my own troop, I was better equipped in survival and practical living then some of my eagle scout peers, but I just simply didn’t finish the program.  College is the same way.  A degree (although costing several thousand dollars), will essentially prove to be better in the long-run, simply because it proves you’ve done something.  Is it worth the money?  Depends on your field of interest.  As an actuary student, my college fees are well worth it.  As a Philosophy major?  I’ve yet to see credible results. 

In Conclusion:
Sorry this is a very drawn out post, but I feel heavily on this topic. Yes, the economy is crap, yes student loans are horrendous, and yes some, not all, not even the majority, of jobs don’t care about college education. But, the fact of the matter is that nothing can replace a good education. It is a wonderful fall back to have. Please. From a citizen, from a teacher, from a future mom, from a friend, from an experienced -worker in both minimum-wage-food-service-job as well as a professional job with benefits, please don’t say college isn’t a necessity. True, it may not be for everyone. But it is a very important aspect of your experience, knowledge, and job opportunities.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • I agree with much of what you said here! As a college student, I feel like the experience I am having has been absolutely invaluable – it's taught me so much about the real world, and how to APPROACH the real world, also. It's a matter of taking what you learn in lecture and making it applicable to future jobs and experiences.

    In regards to finances – I go to Stanford, and while it is very expensive at face value, financial aid is awesome (as I expect it should be at Ivies, as well) – and a lot of living costs are overly exaggerated as well. Something to keep in mind!

    • Exactly–finances can be exaggerated and people tend to look at the highest rather than the average. College experience is indeed very valuable…it's kind of like homeschooled. Some parents are hugely better educators than some teachers, but the social aspect of public/private school is a very important thing as well.

  • Great post! I didn't go to college actually ( long story short went to boarding school from age of 12 onwards so I was way exhausted when I finished) but I believe that college an be very rewarding, it depends entirely upon what one majors in, how one networks, how 'serious' one is about learning in college, etc I know a lot of people who went to college and just partied, didn't focus on the academic side. And then there are those that go and make the most of it, really delve into the actual love of learning. Just depends I guess! But I am right with you on the importance of becoming a life long learner and feel that the public school system and institutional education in general doesn't really create that love of learning, but merely encourages kids to become what David Icke calls 'repeaters', aka memorizing and learning how to do what the teacher tells them. I think the mavericks are the teachers who go against said system and really get to know their students personally and act almost like coaches. It takes a lot of enthusiasm and dedication to do that which is probably why those types of teachers are harder to find.

    • That is another good point. No matter what your degree is in, what you get out of college really depends on what you put into it.

  • I was raised with parents who pretty much taught us that you absolutely have to go to college, there's no way around it. And at the same time…there's no money for college. I went to college on scholarships, and two of my siblings are working their way through community college right now. There's definitely still a way to get an education even if your family doesn't have $1000s to invest in it.
    And I'm not a hugely ambitious career person…but I'm very glad I went to college, I'm very glad I got my degree. I studied what I love, I met my husband (now that's a key life-altering college experience), and I have a degree that I may or may not use for a career in the future. What I want to do as a "career" is write–and I got so much experience and grew so much as a writer when I was in college and constantly writing essays, so I definitely am glad I got to go!

    • Scholarships and husbands are a very useful part of college! Writing is key. I was a writing tutor at BYU's writing centers for almost 3 years, and now I teach at a school who focuses heavily on writing because that is what the national new Core Curriculum (what schools are now required by law to teach) realizes that any kind of writing (including business-y writing) is a huge issue–students going into college and going into the business world do not know how to communicate well or properly. College should help you with that, but I'm glad that the nation is becoming more aware of this and is starting to work on it earlier and earlier.