Tertiary education has an important place in many career paths, but for the vast majority university and college is a waste of money. In just 50 years, Australians have gone from a population of early school leavers, to pushing a large number of year 12 graduates into tertiary education. Most Western countries are the same – college has been given an increasing importance in every individual’s life.
For many, College is a Waste of Money
With rapidly rising tuition costs, university and college has tipped the scales from giving graduates a head start to beginning their adult lives with an enormous amount of debt. One needs to do the sums to find out how long it will take to pay off that college degree with the extra money that they may earn. Not only is the cost of college a contributing factor, you also need to remember the cost of not working for the 3+ years you spend studying.
Postured for Tertiary Education
I studied at a great private school, where for years before finishing I was asked “What University degree will you do?” Not one person asked me whether I wanted to finish schooling or IF I wanted to continue studying after finishing school. It was all about the Uni. After being encouraged by teachers, parents and friends to go to uni, I applied and gained entry into a Software Engineering degree. A few months in to the degree, I realised that it wasn’t for me. I’ve never been one to learn by having someone tell me something to my face, I need to do it myself in practice to understand how it works.
More importantly the course content was not for me. It was always my dream to work in the IT industry but my real passion was in Network Administration. As a University degree did not exist for this yet, I was advised to study software engineering instead. I saw out that semester – nothing changed, so I quit and started working full-time.
I was always told that in order to work in the IT industry that I’d need a degree, but it couldn’t have been more from the truth. In fact, a degree would have wasted 3 years of my life and over $20,000. Out in the real world I realise how many people who work in my industry don’t have a degree. Many of them have certifications from companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Novell and so on, but many skipped college – and most that do have a degree have one in Business Management.
College can be useful
While there is clearly a place for these organisations, I think it is unfair to be encouraging those who aren’t academics to continue studying after they finish school.
Now I’m not disputing that degrees are important. There are many jobs that require a large amount of study to do it well and rightly so. My friend is a dentist, my wife is teacher and some of my friends are lawyers. It just annoys me when I see teenagers convinced that they should go to uni so they can finish an obscure degree that won’t help them at all.
Why encourage your child to start their adult life with even more study after spending the last 13 years in the books? Why encourage them to take on a huge student debt before they truly know what they want to do with their life? If they have 100% direction and know that they want to be a doctor, great. But if they “think” they want to be a personal trainer, there’s no point pushing them into a Science degree only for them to quit after doing it for two and a half years. 2.5 years and no certification at College is a waste of money!
Learning can be done anywhere!
Whatever happened to learning the job that you need to do, on the job? Are employers too cheap to train people nowadays? One can learn from books, other people, the internet and so on. Don’t limit yourself to studying the exact same content that 300 other students learned at the same time. It’s no wonder you will struggle to find employment after finishing your course!
Maybe Tertiary Education isn’t about you?
It’s obvious that universities want (and probably need) more and more money, so they offer more and more courses and degrees to do this. Because of the wider range of degrees, more people are going to uni to study and because more people are considering study, more of the image driven parents are encouraging (and often forcing) their kids to study “with their best interest at heart”. The more people that study these obscure courses perpetuates the fact that college is a waste of money.
Everybody has their own direction and everybody learns differently. If you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life don’t stress – get out in the workforce, get some experience and discover what you want to do. Be true to yourself and follow your own path.