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What's a degree worth?

Education is approaching a change where it will never turn back, but what will we find around that corner?

In America, college degrees mean less and less, and it seems like what's often more important is real-world experience and a competitive portfolio/skill sets. So the question is to put yourself in the following situations to answer the following:

As an employer: Would you rather hire someone with your required skill sets/a competitive portfolio and no college degree, or someone with a degree and good grades but little experience? (everything else held equal)

As a high school graduate: Would you be willing to self-teach yourself to the point where you had marketable skills and an impressive self-made portfolio while risking not having a degree?


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  • Feb 5 2013: I believe learning at an advanced level is itself a skill. We all have a certain predisposition for this trait but in the end it is our own will that ultimately gauges our capacity for life long learning. Just as our natural physical ability is always well outpaced by the abilities we attain through concerted effort so goes the powers of the human mind. What we should be asking ourselves when we engage in higher learning is what we intend to achieve. At 33 I'm a bit older than most of my fellow students and I have literally been around the world a few times. I took on this challenge with a very different perspective than most.

    Would I hire someone based on their experience over someone based on their education? I suppose it would depend on the subject matter and what that history could tell me about a person. Do they possess a dynamic intellect that has discovered how to learn? Do they know how to digest new information and produce derivative ideas? Is this person a lifelong learner or were they just sprinting?

    This is where I draw the line. For me the degree is meaningless without a passion for knowledge and experience is easily accidental, and usually is. The things a person spends their time to understand says a lot about them. If you are having trouble seeing the value of your degree then I suggest you set your goals a lot higher (for some people I will admit that was a bit unfair but for many it certainly was not).

    As for the online trend, we have an AWESOME start but it is far from a finished product.

    I can see at least one glaring issue with the standard school system and it is the standards. Case in point....

    We are redesigning our education systems from the inside out. It will probably get worse before it gets better but it will get better. In the meantime be realistic about your expectations and keep your indirect costs low.

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