Skip College, Suggest Some Economists

In a country where the mantra “you can be anything you want” is practically a national prayer, it’s still kind of shocking to see someone suggest that a high school student should skip college. Some economists and professors, however, argue that college has become too expensive to throw money at if the odds are high that either you won’t finish, or you’ll go into an industry that doesn’t require a degree.

From the New York Times:

College degrees are simply not necessary for many jobs. Of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next decade in the United States, only seven typically require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among the top 10 growing job categories, two require college degrees: accounting (a bachelor’s) and postsecondary teachers (a doctorate). But this growth is expected to be dwarfed by the need for registered nurses, home health aides, customer service representatives and store clerks. None of those jobs require a bachelor’s degree.

The educational system may not be ready for that kind of shift, though. A counselor at a New York City high school told the paper that she’d be more willing to steer some students into non-college careers if her school hadn’t eliminated most of the vocational training programs over the last decade.

One other interesting point from the article: employers are looking for entry level workers with social skills that college courses don’t necessarily teach, and that aren’t being taught in high school either. These include problem solving, decision making, conflict resolution, cooperation, and active listening.

“Plan B: Skip College” [New York Times]