I just watched some parody video about useless stuff learned in school. We all ask the question before graduation from high school, “Why do I need to know this?”
We then ponder the question, why do I need college?
Here’s the answer…
Well, the answer is coming… I think going to the wrong college, getting the wrong degree, or too much college can be as bad as not going at all. I’ve seen very smart people turned in to social leaches as a result of too much college at the expense of tax payers. Grants and federal programs pay their rent and put food on their table while the espouse the principles of socialism and Marxism learned in college. That’s not good either.
On the other hand, I have seen people who keep starting, but never finish. It’s like swimming across a lake: You’ve got to jump in and make it at least half-way so that you know turning back is just as much work as not finishing.
You need college for the experience. You need college for the confidence that a bachelor’s of science brings. (And, yes, I did say bachelor’s of science.) You need college for the exposure to professors who are totally off-their-rockers so that you can learn to overcome their class.
The wrong degree can be a waste of the paper it is printed on. There’s the old joke, “What does someone with a bachelor’s of fine art need to know?” Answer: “They need to know how to ask, ‘Would you like fries with that order?'”
In all fairness, not all arts degrees will lead you to working at a burger joint. However, employers that know the process know the difference in college programs. In a day and age when jobs are hard to get, you’ll have a better chance with a B.S. than you will with a B.A or B.F.A. Typically, the programs around a bachelor’s of science degree are problem-solving and project based. For example, many colleges require a “thesis” for an arts graduate, whereas they require a “project” for a science graduate. So, think hard before getting that degree so that you don’t say as one friend said, “I really wish I would have my bachelor’s of science in stead of an arts degree.”
Associate degrees are fine, but they are more of a stepping stone to your bachelor’s. Don’t be fooled in thinking that having an A.A. degree will open lots of doors. Go all the way and get that bachelor’s.
Where you go to college can make a major difference. Some colleges have this unwritten set of rules: 1) Pay your tuition and bills on time, 2) come to class, turn in your assignments and take your exams, and 3) you will graduate with at least a 3.0. THOSE COLLEGES ARE NO GOOD, and the employers know it. I’ve sat in rooms with managers reviewing resumes and heard, “Oh, he graduated from XYZ University. (laughing) I think we’ll pass on this guy.” On the other hand, I’ve heard things like, “OH! He graduated from BYU (or Stanford or U.C. or Georgia Tech…) with a 3.9 GPA. Impressive. Let’s get this guy in for an interview.”
Finally, I’ve seen people passed up for jobs because they have an M.B.A. or other graduate degree without the experience needed in their undergraduate field. If you’re going to spend the time it takes to get an M.B.A. go a bit further and get your Juris Doctorate, or become a doctor of something. Why? An MBA is worth about 40% more salary than a BS, but a doctorate is worth about 150% more than a BS. (taken from a survey by onlinedegrees.org)
The worst paying bachelor’s degrees currently are in religious studies, psychology, physical therapy, social work, education, graphic arts, and sociology. The best paying degrees are in aerospace, aviation, computer engineering, business administration (be careful on this one… the wrong college will blow your money in this field), engineering, information technology, electrical engineering and chemistry.
So, when you’re sitting in that math class and you think, “When will I ever use the quadratic equation after this class?”, just remember, it isn’t the quadratic equation that’s going to help you, it’s the problem solving process and being able to work through it that will help.
D. Brent Walton is a professional photographer located in Palmyra, New York. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from California State University, Sacramento. A former Associate Professor at Golden Gate University, Brent has also taught at Heald College. When asked if he were starting over again, what degree might he pursue, his answer would be, “The same. My engineering degree gives me a leg-up in the business world.”