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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 8 2013: This is what I also think about a lot lately. I am an actuarial science student, and I am only one term away from graduation.

    To become a qualified actuary, we need to take exams from well recognized institutions such as SOA ( Society of Actuaries). I've been taking these exams since I was a freshman and I did a lot of self-studying. After having passed several exams, the classes at university get really boring and meaningless to me since I have read and took exams on related topics already. Then a question popped into my mind: If I can take these exams by myself, why do I have to study here? I've realized that going to college wouldn't mean anything if we have to study something that we can learn by ourselves.

    I think this is why college degrees become less important. In some fields, technical knowledge and simplified theories are much easier to learn than applying them in real life. The ability to work efficiently, communicate with others, and think critically become much more important in the business world. Eventually, what the employers are looking for is a potential employee who they presume will be able to work well in their companies, not a first-class honor student who don't know how to do anything at all.
    • Feb 8 2013: I totally agree! So how would you propose a system where education aligns better with what the student wants and what the employer wants?
      • Feb 9 2013: I think the university should give more credit on working experiences and internship. May be one term for an internship etc. Also, they should invite the professionals in the areas to come and share their experiences so that students will understand what it's like in actual working environment.

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