College – and yes “good colleges” – are the best option for most

By General Education Advice

“Almost every study concludes that getting a college degree is worth it. What is known as the college wage premium—the difference in lifetime earnings between someone with only a high-school diploma and someone with a college degree—is now, by one calculation, a hundred and sixty-eight per cent. For people with an advanced degree, the wage premium is two hundred and thirteen per cent. (Of course, the more people who get a college degree—about a third of the population now has a bachelor’s degree—the greater the penalty for not having one. The decrease in earnings for non-degree holders raises the premium.)”

And it matters where. Research shows that the more selective a college’s admissions process the greater the economic value of the degree. The narrower the entryway, the broader the range of opportunities on the other side.

From The New Yorker, September issue.

I think about these issues more than ever since the building of Career Counseling Connecticut.

I  readily suggest that some clients – both college bound or struggling to find career footing – consider other options  outside of college.  The truth – however unfortunate it may be –  is that there are not many good options.  My suggestion of the “trades” or the military is met with “no way” by most of the suburban-based Connecticut culture.  Sure, there are other possibilities but the vast majority involve retail, restaurants, and perhaps office work in administrative, and customer service, although even the lowest rungs of “white-collar” jobs in most corporations require a college degree.

As for the “good college” part… this one makes me cringe.  I am an egalitarian by nature.  The thought of saying something pretentious has my New Jersey,  public school younger self want to slap me! But, again, the facts are plain to see: those who attend upper-tier schools (not sure what the line is for “good school”) have more job prospects, better salaries, and more career mobility than those that don’t.  And, while I may be making a straw man . argument – because most everyone agrees – if someone resists the studies that illustrate the point, I’ll simply ask: if. you had a business and due to time considerations had to decide to interview only 1 candidate for a highly important job and everything was exactly equal except one went to Harvard and the other to Western Kentucky,  who would you interview?

I’ll tell people that fortunately/unfortunately the name of one’s college is their main marketing component until they are in the work force for a few years.