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Does a college degree matter any more (now)?

Some say yes. some say no. What is your experience? (I'm not asking about opinions any more).Thanks you.

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    Aug 4 2013: -Original response below

    EDIT - 4 days later
    Simon Le,
    You changed the topic of this discussion after many people responded to your original topic question/debate. If you are genuinely seeking information, it does not make sense to change the topic question/debate, as you have done in a least one other conversation.


    Simon Le,
    A college degree does not necessarily "secure" anything. It provides the opportunity to assimilate information and knowledge that can be applied to the life experience, and sometimes contributes to the possibilities for certain jobs. Whether we have a degree or not, the important piece is to apply the information in a way that might further the opportunities for learning and growth.

    Regarding Ken Robison says schools kill creativity:
    I honestly don't think that schools "kill" creativity. My perception is that schools often stifle creativity because schools are structured and programmed to try to teach everyone in the same way, and we know that people learn differently. I would like to see schools and teachers more open to embracing different kinds of educational methods.

    If I was in high school right now, yes, I would take the risk of not having a formal education, because I know I learn better with experience and application, rather than sitting in a classroom. I don't think/feel that anything has to be sacrificed. It would be more beneficial to everyone to have a better understanding about how individuals learn, and guide them toward that goal.

    As Fritzie points out in this conversation Simon Le, this topic has been discussed often in TED conversations. It might be helpful for you to explore some of those conversations if you are genuinely seeking this information.
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      Aug 9 2013: I didn't change the topic, I only try to make it simpler. And I beg you to at least reply to one of my response so they can send me a note through email so I could able to know you are saying some thing. Rather than editing it, it's not that there is somethings wrong with that.

      How does the question "does a college degree have the same value as 20 years ago, and the next 50" different to "does a college degree matter (now)? I only shorten it.
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      Aug 9 2013: Actually, I already know the answer for the question. I only ask to know if there is any one else on TED community have some different significant thoughts on this matter. This is why I put the question in a debate category rather than the question one :)))) But hey, I think you noticed that by putting a / between the word question/debate. :)))) Still you try to make a fool out of me, doesn't go so well there I see. I couldn't has less respect for you at this point. And so far, you guys didn't break any of my expectations.
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      Aug 9 2013: What Ken Robison is saying is another way of saying the @$%* education system (high school-> lower) is not good enough any more.
      This is why, the smartest people are not likely to choose a education career because it's boring, it's low pay, and it' has a relatively unsafe future! If they do, however, they will get a PHD to teach in a university rather than be a high school teacher. Do you know what that mean? It mean, the high school system and below were left to the very nice but not so smart people which in turn do a great damaged to the system.
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      Aug 9 2013: You disappoint me over and over again, Mrs. Colleen Steen.
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      Aug 9 2013: Do you know why they write text book for high school students and lower, yes the one which have the easy explained easy to read boxes ?:)) It's because the one who created the education system doesn't trust their teachers :)))) So kindergarten can learn how to read from a book, rather than from their teachers :))))) HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
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      Aug 9 2013: If you have a formal degree you can get a relatively fair pay job anywhere so it will somewhat secure your future. And if you get out of high school, you won't get any high school diplomacy to even able to work at Starbucks !!!!!!!! Do you not sacrifice your security when you get out of high school at this point.
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      Aug 9 2013: It take one person 4 years to get a BA in Stanford, and cost around 50.000 dollars, and you can't even get a secured fair-wage future? Then YES, I KNOW THAT!
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      Aug 9 2013: "it does not make sense to change the topic question/debate, as you have done in a least one other conversation." It does when everyone has commented get their responses, and I try to use a more specific question on the matter I am interested in, and represent it in a more simple way. I change the other topic to a more simple and specific one because people like you have problems with the word "genius", so I change it to the word "good guy", later then, I thought of Micheal Jackson and Justin Beiber as a good right on the spot example. So in short, the way of represent the matter changed, but its intention and meaning hasn't! I see you are the only one has trouble with it for you are trying to make a fool out of me, rather than doing any good, and you are not doing a very good job at it either.
  • Aug 10 2013: Of course it matters( to the people who think it matters.)
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      Aug 10 2013: :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) right on the spot. It may matter, but it may not does any help.
  • Aug 5 2013: There are no sure bets in life, but I'd say that a degree certainly betters your odds.

    Especially nowadays, with more and more of the blue collar work being slowly taken over by machines.
    Society will always need its doctors and engineers, but its factory workers and clerks, no so much.

    Of course that's all assuming your degree is in something useful (meaning you didn't take philosophy or something--enlightening as it may be, good luck using it to score a job).
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      Aug 9 2013: Actually a degree can get you a fair pay job:)))))) just not a big pay job. So it's reasonable to release the small fish to get the bigger fish. :))) but when you release the small fish you have the odd of losing the small fish too.And you could become a homeless guy when you could have accepted the small fish:))))))
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      Aug 9 2013: In my case, I refer the big fish over small fish, even if there is the chance where I can lose both.
  • Aug 4 2013: Hi Dear Simon Le:).I think a degree in the best university means you have done a good job for now,but for future,you need to focus on'Now',then you don't have to worry about future.


    Oh,it reminds me when I was a student,I did worry too much about past and future,it caused the most depression in my studying.But I remember my teachers and parents did tell me a lot:don't worry too much,just catch the time now to study hard.I know what they said were right,Why I sitll worried and kept worrying so much?Did it mean I wasn't mature to be enlighten to be aware of Now?

    《论语》子曰:“吾十有五而志于学,三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命,六十而耳顺,七十而从心所欲”。


    Does it mean we have to obey those routines to experience things?I sometimes try to observe Confucius' words,I admit and doubt and qustion and admit...on and on...
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      Aug 4 2013: What I mean is Google or Apple are most likely to hire the best programer regardless of the college degree he/she has (I think that's exactly what they are doing right now). So isn't it better to stay home and learn by yourself to be the best programer, rather than going to college and worry about the stupid grade? It seem like no body care about college degree any more.
      • Aug 4 2013: Hey Simon,
        Am from India " The country with the fastest growing population" well to give you an idea, most of my friends are in the US to pursue their higher education for exactly your point " Secure their future" I decided to give myself some time to think. I work with good companies here what I have realized is.

        1) Good education means you get to interact with people of a certain IQ. So when you have an epiphany the environment pushes you towards excellence.

        2) If you do not have a revelation, well basically you have people with good connections.

        3) Some people do not explore enough to find what they are good at (At-least here) so education broadens your exposure. The better the university the more the exposure. You need not conform to the ideas of your teachers, but just assimilate their experience and exposure.

        Well to sum it up. In a world with 7 billion people if you are good at something, to show it to the world , you will need a stage. A good education provides a good stage, else you build one(which is usually harder).

        My brother once said - You have to work Hard in your life which is not a choice. You just choose when. Now when you are young and energetic, or when you get old and more apprehensive.
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          Aug 4 2013: A college degree doesn't prove to be a good enough "stage" any more in the U.S. However, I understand the difficult condition in India.
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        Aug 5 2013: it's pretty hard to teach yourself, Simon, one good thing about college is it forces you to do the work because you want to get acceptable grades so you can stay at the college and continue marching toward your degree.

        Also at college you get some good ideas about how to learn
      • Aug 5 2013: You should probably also notice that they also don't like hiring people with great degrees when they feel like they're paying too little. It's rather funny.
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      Aug 4 2013: That Confucius quote was wrote by Confucius himself to help other compare to his example, I think. Well, about the the future and now thing, it's still an option, right?

      I think the best university degree doesn't bring you as much good as it cost you.
  • Aug 4 2013: This is a very interesting question. Admittedly, I don't see any justification for the words "secure" and "future" to be placed so near one another. 50 years is a long time from the human perspective, not the race as a whole but that of the individual human, you know, me and you. There are times when a week ends and upon looking back at it's beginning, there were no tell-tale signs of where it was headed or how it was eventually to conclude.

    So, though I don't really care for the proximity of "secure" and "future", there still remains the issue of a college education and how we perceive it as contributing to our security or "sense of security". If we are talking about the way we feel about our futures, when we actually get there and not about our personal state of economics, then maybe we have something to talk about.

    I believe that when it is all tallied up, I would rather know more than know less, to have experienced people, places, things, beyond my physicall limits and reach. A good college education is a great place to start. Knowledge or even information being so accessable today makes it easier to obtain but no less awkward when you are without that which everyone takes for granted, so you gotta have it. A college degree is one of those gotta have kind of things. Sure, there are exceptions but is that your goal?

    Being secure in the way you feel about that which you know and about that which you are not sure is going a long way towards feeling secure in your future. Good Luck!
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      Aug 9 2013: Are you saying having a Harvard degree doesn't help much anymore? Then yes, I already know that.
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      Aug 9 2013: If you have a Harvard degree, you will have a secure fair wage job. It's just that you can't get rich over that.
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    Aug 4 2013: This topic is discussed often. Here is one article on the topic: http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/01/education_0

    Nothing, I think "secure[s] your future," but it likely makes a great deal of difference which college you attend, which degree you pursue there, and how you apply yourself to learning, both while a student and thereafter. If you think of education as something you can approach passively, your learning is probably very different than if you engage actively and challenge yourself.
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  • Aug 4 2013: Yes possibly even more so. Some foolish HR people only look at resumes with the right degrees from the right school with the right words to invite for an interview. Even if you have the degree from the best school, once you are working in industry or academia or public service, you have to perform. Your future is never secure and you have to grow and to change to match it.
    • Aug 4 2013: What you say is correct. I have found some of my best employees from the "don't even consider these people" pile of resumes. My opinion of HR people is that they have never learned to recognize the professional resume writer and will fall for mighty sounding credentials that are really meaningless. I have never, in 30 years, gotten an actual employee from the A pile after HR screened resumes.
      • Aug 4 2013: I have said the goal of hr is not to be yelled at so they never take a gamble or express an opinion that they can not blame on someone else and to make sure the company is not sued by its employees.
        • Aug 5 2013: That sounds like a good reason for HR not to be a department. At least in areas that are important like hiring, dealing with HR should be optional. I have always found them a complete waste of time.
  • Aug 10 2013: Nope
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      Aug 10 2013: right on. Let's just be some cool blind homeless guy!!!!!!!! :))))) me like you, me friend? :)))) HAHAHAHA
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    Aug 8 2013: It never mattered and never will.
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      Aug 8 2013: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :))) Finally, some CS major guy has the right idea:)))
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        Aug 10 2013: Anthropology.
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          Aug 10 2013: still, you got the right idea :)))) but you have to go through it anyhow. :))) HA
  • Aug 4 2013: Sadly with the collapse of the wage structure who knows what will happen in America. There is no certainty in a Depression that our masters cannot or will not admit. Follow your bliss You will at least have some fun in a chaotic future. This student loan thing is terrible.
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      Aug 4 2013: well, one should learn by himself some knowledge for real life applications. :))) the hell with college degree. There is tons of online program teaching from the best university. You only have to stay home and read book and watch those program. What do you think?
      • Aug 5 2013: I enjoyed being a professional student, but I was not in debt for anything. College - my Dad a printer just paid. Grad school - I had a fellowship for awhile. Law school - my Dad paid. And my MBA later - the Gi bill paid. So it used to be different. Some of the stories that I am hearing I would be careful about advising anyone borrowing a great deal of money. However, if you don't have a degree some jobs and licenses will not be available to you. I wish you the best and Godspeed, but read the Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. There are always handbills out there that are not true.
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          Aug 5 2013: :)))) glad to know there is such a thing as a professional student. :))) I don't have a rich father :)) I don't even speak English that well. :))) I'm done for, I guess. Waiting either to die or live a miserable life.
      • Aug 5 2013: There was not there is. My Dad was not rich _ he was blue collar There used to be jobs in America. I wish you the best. Maybe you'll find what you need. Bill Gates and Steven Spellberg did not graduate. They did okay.
      • Aug 8 2013: Simon I have been thinking that my problem is relating to changes and that not everyone doing Ted is over 30. My new niece explained how she leveraged things with junior college as did my nephew who she married. Another way is military service. Maybe that is attractive or not, but I essentially got a free MBA on the GI bill. If you are an American, I don't believe a non-vet President will start a war for a couple of decades. It will become harder to sign-up and more stupid rules will be implemented. Okay that may not be your thing, but there are many jobs and education opportunities in service. However, one has patriotic obligations in uniform, but one now might be concerned about dumb actions that go on for years and years and years. Not going to happen for awhile.
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          Aug 8 2013: :))) cool, but how would you fit the example of Bill Gate or Steve J. in your view?
      • Aug 9 2013: Okay Simon I don't have a coherent view. I hope all you nice young people have a great future, but I don't think our leaders are headed in the right way. I was afraid I came accross a bit strong initially, so not wanting to be too hard, I noted that the opposite view sometimes happens. If you are as young as it sounds like you are I hope you have an interesting and stimulating future. The modern world is not as stabile as it once was , and I believe that we all feel like one of the bums in Waiting for Godot by Beckett
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          Aug 9 2013: ok :)) but I doubt wishing me a great future will do me any good, I think. :))) Thanks for the good intention through.
  • Aug 3 2013: And to speak on the latter portion of your question concerning the sacrifice some of the 1->10 for the 11, or 12, from an objective standpoint all of the old have skills and services which have generated a past history of success.
    From my own opinion, they should lower salaries to allow us new guys a chance. Possibly send some people away eventually, but they should be treated fairly.
    • Aug 4 2013: I'm not sure if the situation is the same now, thing are evolving rapidly in the post secondary education field, but the advice I used to give undergrads (I'm in the computer consulting biz) is not to focus on courses but rather use their time a the University to learn how to learn an to do as many extracurricular projects as they could manage. Unless I went to the same University I might have no knowledge of a particular professor or what Algorithms 201 does (nor do I probably care). But if you can talk to me about how you teamed up with a PhD student to analyze his geological drill core data to produce a 3D map of a potential mine, I might sit up and take notice. That's just an example, you could also hand optimize a financial simulation system, work with Astronomy department modelling stellar atmospheres or help build a suite of statistical and non-linear analysis routines for the Geology department. Something non-trivial that solves a problem previously not solved (or sometimes not even known).
  • Aug 3 2013: I just graduated from a great university in Fla. I'm ahead of the game cause I took on 7 internships and got credit for most of 'em.
    In this writter's opinion, a college degree is today, what a high school diploma was 20 yrs. ago.
    Honestly, if I just sat here in my mansion for the next 50 years, the rose bushes outside by the pool would consume it.
    I'm doing an unpaid internship, and just got a job making minimum wage.
    As I say, if you want it go, go, go and get it.