One of the realities of the Money Mastermind Show is that we could go on for hours discussing topics on our show. And, in fact, we often do.
Someone brought up the fact that, not only can the wrong degree at the wrong school be devastatingly expensive, but it might not even prepare you for the workforce. A Gallup-Lumina Foundation Report recently discovered that most business leaders feel that college grads are unprepared for the workforce. Indeed, only 11 percent of business leaders strongly agreed that today’s grads are ready for employment. Contrast that with higher education admins who think that they are turning out grads ready to take on the rigors of the workplace.
So, why are colleges and universities in America so poor at turning out work-ready grads?
The answer might lie in the way we do things at the university level.
Can a 1700s-Style Education Prepare Today’s Grads for the “Real World”?
Among the issues with today’s university system is that it’s still very rooted in a model used in the 1700s. During that time, you attended lectures as you wished, and were responsible for the information when it came time for examination. You received a broad education, based more on ideas and arts, than on developing professional skills (unless, of course, you did something professional, like law).
For the most part, university education was about “keeping the terms.” That style of education doesn’t exactly translate to today’s world, yet we’re still sitting in large lecture halls listening to someone go on and on about a subject. There are few classes that actually promote discussion and interaction; you often have to wait until you get to the graduate level for that sort of education. Colleges at the undergrad level aren’t providing the things employers want.
It appears that the 1700s-style education isn’t doing it for business leaders. Instead, they want practical application (which you can get with a good internship in some cases).The way college is set up today might not be practical for the current — and future — job market.
Alternatives to College
We also delved a little more into alternatives to college. We talked some more about trade school and the idea of developing a marketable skill, but we also talked about starting a business. (And you can learn a trade, like electrician or plumber, and start your own business for maximum results.)
So often, it’s possible to take classes from top-ranked universities free of charge. In fact, schools like MIT, Berkeley, and Harvard — and even my local Utah State University — offer courses for free. You can find the stuff taught at many colleges at iTunes U. This is a great opportunity for you to get a little extra knowledge. You won’t get a college degree, and your auditing of an open courseware class won’t provide you with any credits, but if you’re looking for the knowledge, that won’t matter.
This is where the business comes in. You can start a business without getting a four-year degree, and be successful. Take a few open courseware classes to bulk up your knowledge, and you can get what you need at minimal cost. No need to take on tens of thousands of dollars in student debt to start a successful side business (or even a full-time business).
Thanks to technology, there are a number of choices available to everyone. College is supposed to be designed to prepare you to work for someone else, but there is increasing evidence that it doesn’t even do that. As a result, it might make more sense for you to look for ways to be successful without attending college.
What do you think? Does today’s system of higher education still work to encourage success?