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Measuring college prestige vs price

But economists are not sure this trade-off is worth it. In two much-discussed studies about the value of a degree from an elite college — one with people who graduated in the 1970s and the other with more recent graduates — Alan B. Krueger, then an economist at Princeton University, and Stacy Berg Dale, a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, found that equally smart students had about the same earnings whether or not they went to top-tier colleges. The big difference, their studies found, came from minority and low-income students who went to top-tier colleges: They did better later on.

Lawrence Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard University, said he could envision circumstances where there might be a benefit to attending the more elite institution, but he could see more instances when paying to go to a large, nonelite university was a waste of money.

“The difference between going to Swarthmore and Penn State is greater today than it was in 1976 because there are higher returns to all upper-end skills and connections,” he said. By contrast, a larger, private, expensive nonelite university was not necessarily better than “the flagship campus of a top-notch state university.” 

Measuring College Prestige vs. Price -

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College is no longer considered a no-brainer. The price no longer says "definitely worth it".

That's tragic, but real. Most private colleges are beautiful--veritable country clubs, facility-wise. There is one college--College of the Ozarks, that doesn't allow debt. All students work at the campus industries or in work-study on campus. Then, there are the military academies. But high-level private schools are not within price ranges anymore. I loved my university, but if it were now, I couldn't do it. 

What kind of country will we be if only the children of the affluent can attend college?

How about this question.  What jobs really require a college education?  Hard sciences that require labs?  

I don't equate college with job training.

Geege, that is fine.  my question still stands.  What jobs require a college education?  The next question is to ask you to please let me know what you equate with college. 

Jobs requiring a college education/degree:  Wall Street hedge fund manager.  Teacher.  Architect.  

What do I equate with college?  Learning hard and soft skills over a period of time in a process that encourages in-depth acquisition of such skills.  Becoming part of a culture of learning, networking / friend-making.

Geege, I learned more of those things outside of college than inside college.

I can see why doctors and lawyers need degrees. I'm still not sure about the rest of us.

Having a degree is a *threshold* to most decent jobs nowadays.  Look at employment ads.  Plus, having a degree lowers your insurance rate and improves your credit score.  Why is that?

The system pushes people in a certain direction.

Kind of like offering a tax break to people who have mortgages. Are renters less worthy?

The system isn't fair.  What is to be done?

I met a scientist at the Science Online Teen conference I went to. She was discussing how she dropped out of school. Since she works at the NIH, I was pretty impressed about her victory story. I asked her, at lunch, what made her decide to go back to school. She said "Oh, I didn't." She's Australian. In Australia, such discrimination against people without degrees is illegal. She said all jobs must have "degree...or equivalent." She got her equivalent through a variety of ways, all self-directed. Amazing story. Inspirational... I wrote a couple posts about this--one where I decide "college or a ferrari," and recently I told a story about the diner at which I worked, where I got just as much education. 

I can't sell a 300K degree to kids anymore. Teaching degrees--I can read about pedagogy--they should all be content degrees. Colleges are outpricing any ability to do a chin up and afford them. It's not that I am opposed to college, I'm not. I'm opposed to a life of servitude-inducing debt. 

It's not that we CAN'T sell a 300k degree to a kid, it's that we SHOULDN'T.

It's not fair to saddle someone with that much debt for something of questionable value.

"Servitude-inducing debt" is a great way to put it.

THAT'S what I'm saying, that last part.

It seems to have gotten worse in the last decade.

Regarding what jobs NEED college--not many, according to Australian law. I'd go to bat for medicine, though. 

Medicine and law, yeah. And teaching college, of course.

Law? Not sure--the original barristers were self-read. Could it be learned by someone motivated? Teaching? I'd like to give myself this credit but most teacher prep programs don't make me think I couldn't learn this on my own if motivated. 

Oh, teaching college... even still, a success who hadn't gone to college could still be effective. You wouldn't sit in on a class w a dropout-entrepreneur who'd rocked the field--had the experience? I would... 

i am a fan of ms trunks.  good stuff

For years we have been talking about the education bubble and the problem that colleges charge tons of money and then graduates are unemployable and in debt. Colleges are responding by becoming job preparation centers. And Frank Bruni, opinion editor for the New York Times, says this is a waste of time and resources. Here’s what’s better:

1. Skipping college.The real issue we have with admitting that college is not a path to the work world is then we have to ask ourselves why we send our kids to high school. There is plenty of data to show that teens are able to manage their lives without the constraints of school. The book Escaping the Endless Adolescence is chock full of data, and a recent article by my favorite journalist, Jennifer Senior, shows that high school is not just unnecessary, but actually damaging to teens who need much more freedom to grow than high school affords.

2. Focus on internships instead of school.Kids should be working in internships in high school. Because the best path to a good job is a bunch of great internships. But great internships don’t go to people who need money. They are mostly for young people. Yes, this is probably illegal and classist and bad for a fluid society. But we will not debate that here. Instead we will debate why kids need to go to college if the internships are what make them employable? Kids should do internships in high school and by their college years, they are capable of real jobs where they are doing work that people value, with cash.

You cannot take this route if you’re saddled with huge student loans. You can’t take this route if you’re inundated by homework in required subjects you don’t care about. You can’t take this route if you have no work experience when you graduate college. It’s too late. (Don’t tell me you need to go to school to learn, okay? People just do not believe this anymore.)

I was reading the Fortune list of 40 under 40 and I was struck by the career history of Kevin Feige (number 11 on the list). He’s president of Marvel Studios at age 39. He wrote that he interned with the Superman movie director as a film student and that was the last job application he filled out. That’s because if you get an internship with someone great, and your performance is great, your network will cover your employment needs for a very long time.

3. Start a company instead of writing a resume.I’m struck by Marissa Mayer (number 3 on Fortune’s list) whose announced acquisition strategy is buying small, cheap companies, which is, in effect, buying the team. Silicon Valley calls these acqui-hires. She is looking at young people who start companies that are not necessarily successful in terms of product or sales but successfully market the founders as visionaries, self-starters, and hard workers. You can’t show those traits in school, so if you have those traits, you slow yourself down by going to school where you cannot exhibit your best, marketable traits.

4. Refuse to present yourself in a linear way.Do any workaround that lets you forgo the linear obsession the standard resume format. Because linear presentations favor people who have long, rule-following careers – which don’t necessarily make you look good anyway. I could write a post ten thousand paragraphs long of all the new things people with nonlinear work histories are doing to get jobs.

People use Twitter as a resume, according to the Wall Street Journal, which requires only that you publish ideas, not any sort of academic experience.

Young people are selling stock in themselves—paying out dividends for decades at a time.

Agents represent workers who pick and choose projects that match them rather than signing on for indefinite amounts of time. The Harvard Business Review calls this supertemping. Business Week calls it going Hollywood.

But here’s the big takeaway. A fundamental shift is taking place, where the path to getting a job is massively circumventing college credentials. And, at the same time, the American public is fed up with the insane debt that college are expecting new grads to take on in order to graduate. (Good essay: How College Ruined My Life.)

If you are not going to school in order to “fit” into the adult world, then why are you going to school? The love of learning, presumably. But school reform pundits are 100% sure that kids will choose to learn if you put no constraints on them. They will just learn what they want. Best example: The MIT program that gave iPads to illiterate kids in Ethiopia, and they taught themselves to use it, program it, and read it in English. No teacher. No curriculum.

The biggest barrier to accepting the radical new nature of the job hunt is the reverberations throughout the rest of life. If you don’t need school for work, and you don’t need school for learning, then all you need school for is so parents can go to work and not worry about taking care of their kids.

It takes bravery to go against the grain. It’s difficult to say that the great learning and the great jobs come from leaning out, doing things in a nonlinear, non standard way, and playing only by the rules that fit your own style for personal learning and growth.

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