Student - in Business Administration, University of Cincinnati, College of Business

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Are colleges needed?

As a student in college I find myself constantly asking myself why I am actually here. I sit in classes I dont want to take, to learn things I will be re-taught when I enter the workforce, to get a degree that may not get me a job. I understand the value of education but why must people go to learn in a classroom where they could learn in practice.

  • Oct 16 2013: I happened to be in the same field; Business Administration, in my undergraduate education. There are frequently students, including myself. who believe that they have more time and energy to learn more than what were taught in class or assignments. However, if you are a quick learner, and a strong self motivator, then you could spare sometime on things that will increase you qualification in either application to a job, or gaining in competition during the training period.
    For example, there are rapid change or development in the field of economic data analysis or use of computer algorithm in business activities, in sales and advertising or in financial planning. It wouldn't hurt, or actually be very helpful, if you seek additional materials to study by yourself. Furthermore, you might even get some assistance from classmates, the faculty or instructors on these subjects as well. Many of these topics are constantly changing in rapid pace, so that it would greatly enhance your level of competition in your future career. My personal experience was that I simply branch out to a related field, and then was admitted to a new field for my master's degree program. But either way, please try to explore new knowledge or new fields of interest to you if you have the ability to do so.
  • Oct 16 2013: depends upon what you want out of college. If you want to get a job, then you need to check if a 4 year college is necessary. Some professions can be gotten into with talent and experience. Some jobs require the degree as an entrance ticket. (sometimes I feel this is silly but ...)

    If you are looking for expansion and an education and learning - stretching yourself to do things outside your comfort zone, then college is the place. I do not mean just the classes but the discussions with other students, the outside activities. One of my friends said the best class was the lunch discussions which varied from day to day and the people would join or not - different group.
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    Oct 15 2013: During a reduction in force (RIF) a Captain was told if he did not get a degree within a year he would be reduced in rank to finish his commitment. He went to the local college and the courses need to complete his degree which included ceramics .... two years later the space program begin and relied heavily on ceramics .. he became in demand and was promoted up the ladder.

    The point is that all of those courses you had to take may make a difference in your life. Literature / English may not seem important ... but a scientist that cannot convey his findings through written or oral means cannot be of success even though he is at the top of his game.

    College is not for everyone ... there are great technical schools available. For years we were taught that the road to success is only though college.

    You are correct that academics as a rule do not provide you with the practical applications you will be taught on the job. In the hiring process a Masters degree (with no experience) is only equal to one years experience.

    I suggest that you stick it out and then use the knowledge after entering the work force to help others who have the same concerns that you express.

    Good Luck. Bob.
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    Oct 20 2013: It is one thing to go to university and get a degree and being able to do things in theory but putting them into practice is a different thing. there are a lot of very highly educated people out there that can not think logically. But having a degree shows to an employer a sense of discipline in working to achieve it.
  • Oct 18 2013: It is not only degree but where you get it. I have argued against HR about this and actually hired people with no degree or did not go to the "right schools" against the "advice" of HR.
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    Oct 18 2013: Let me just say i have been struggling with the exact same question for nearly all of my engineering.And i think Richard Howes' comment-"Sadly the corporate world still values degrees, and until that changes, they may still be necessary to get a job and get paid fair value." hit the nail on the head for me.
    Now i would like to know why the corporate world doesn't see the obvious demerits of the college system.
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      Oct 19 2013: Your question is good for you to consider, as there is usually some merit in a point of view you do not hold. What experience might they have with employees with university training that makes them want to hire more such applicants?
  • Oct 18 2013: Somethings U canT Learn By Just PraCticless :)
  • Oct 18 2013: Education is needed, get it wherever you find it. Fulfill your needs, follow your dream, live your passion. You may benefit from Steve Jobs Stanford speech:
    http://youtu.be/UF8uR6Z6KLc
  • Oct 16 2013: It's a pity that it's still often the necessary ticket to the game, and even when its not, it can determine your income level. Of course for some fields, such as medicine its a necessary ticket.

    For those fields where skill and experience is the only criteria that determine effectiveness and value, college is not necessary. Even in 1987 when I started university I knew more about software development when I entered than when I left, and spending those years actually writing code and working in the industry would have been years better spent.

    Sadly the corporate world still values degrees, and until that changes, they may still be necessary to get a job and get paid fair value.
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      • Oct 18 2013: Good question, and it depends. If you get a medical degree, then a LOT. If you get an arts degree then probably nothing. And every value in between.

        The challenge is there is great value in an education, but an education and a degree are not necessarily the same thing.
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    Oct 15 2013: Paul,
    I believe formal education is needed and desired by many people, and it is not for everyone. I personally have learned much more from traveling to different cultures, volunteering with several different social service agencies, and serving on planning/governing boards, then I ever learned in a classroom.

    You say you are sitting in classes you don't want to take, and do not feel very confident that the degree you seek will support your entrance into the work force. You are taking courses in business administration, and the information in your profile suggests that you are more of an explorer of life and maybe learn more with hands on experiences?

    Perhaps it is time for you to evaluate your goals? Your profile says you want to work with people.....how about doing some volunteer work in areas that you think might interest you? It might provide a little guidance to help you recognize a path that might be more enjoyable and suited to you?

    Even if you decide to change directions, education is always a valuable tool which prepares us for the rest of our life adventure.

    Welcome to TED conversations:>)
  • Oct 15 2013: I imagine for some things a college education is the best idea. College in my eyes has always seemed experience based compared to lectures in a university containing hundreds of students. For my profession (PR) I applied to an agency and told them that I would be studying PR for four more years and they were shocked. Degrees can never hurt credentials but today I believe experience is more important.
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    Oct 15 2013: Here is one point of view you could think about: http://harvardmagazine.com/2013/09/self-fashioning-in-society-and-solitude

    Separately, why are you studying things that don't interest you that you know you will learn on the job? Why not study things that do interest you that will prepare you for a lifetime of future learning both on and off the job?

    It sounds like you may not be making the most of the opportunity at hand. Maybe a college of business is the wrong place for you and you need to switch area of study.
  • Oct 15 2013: I am sorry for not clarifying or being clear. I am not sure if people will continue to flood the college campuses or not but my question stands on what is the true worth of a college education. Obviously doctors, nurses, engineers, and a whole host of other professions need to be educated before entering the workforce. But what about the other branches? College of Business, College of Arts, Design schools. All of these different brands could stand to learn more by actually working in a field rather than spending and exorbitant amount of money in order to gain a degree. My largest complaint is through the idea of general education classes or electives classes.
    • Oct 15 2013: Well, if that's the case than I wholeheartedly agree.

      Getting a degree for a degree's sake is a waste of everyone's time and resources. Unfortunately, its still a pretty prevalent demand in the job market today. Just because its a bad system doesn't mean its not here to stay, and refusing to play along can have unpleasant personal consequences.
  • Oct 15 2013: Some things simply can't be taught on the job, which is what a degree is for. Though to be fair, not all jobs are like that.

    I suppose it depends on what you're studying. A degree if philosophy is functionally useless in the workplace except for the whole "having any degree at all" criteria some workplaces require to get in, but you wouldn't want say, your doctor, to be uneducated.
  • Oct 15 2013: Colleges are really needed . I'm in college too , and I often ask myself the same question . The point is college is needed , the school system ins´t.
    I agreed we should do more practices things than sit on a classroom hearing a teacher and learning subjects that we don't like at all.
    I think students, at a certain age , should have the power to choose all the subjects they want to learn. That way , they would learn whatever like and were forced to have the responsibility to chose and stand up for something
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    Oct 15 2013: Some jobs asks for college certificates, who wants to compete for those for them college is needed.
  • Oct 15 2013: Maybe a university exists for different reasons than you are suggesting. Your question suggests why the per centage of college graduates will decline.