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July 02, 2010

Chasing Degrees As An Alternative to Chasing a Job

The WSJ reports on a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common as the economic downturn refuses to go away: college graduates are finding the job market more hostile upon graduation. But instead of staying in the job market, many are opting to simply go back to school and get their Masters or PhD's.

The problem, as many have noted, is that the job market for MBAs and PhD's is actually much smaller and more highly-competitive than that for holders of Bachelor's degrees. So in return for a much more massive load of debt and a loss of prime earning-years, these students are getting...not much, really. The value of a college education has been so diluted compared to what it costs that it's no longer worthwhile for most of the students.

Many students get stuck in a "failure to launch" cycle that is familiar to the situation in Europe: students endlessly chase meaningless degrees that have no practical application in the real world mainly because academia is an alternative to holding a job rather than training for a job.

I think that we as a country have to re-think this whole "chase your dreams!" idea that we've been feeding kids, because let's face it, their "dreams" are often unrealistic and unlikely to lead to a decent career. The notion that "every child must go to college" is slowly being recognized as a complete fallacy.

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posted by Monty at 01:42 PM

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