Skip to comments.A College Education-What to Major In?
Posted on 11/22/2010 7:34:57 AM PST by WebFocus
There is a lot of debate these days on the cost and value of a college education. Maybe along with this debate, we ought to be rethinking how colleges are training students to compete in the global economy.
Two blogs I have read recently have highlighted college education. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.com has highlighted several articles about college costs. From reading his links, one could conclude that the cost of college has risen substantially because of two economic factors. First, because of the increased wealth of the world, and the increased realization that economic returns to a college educated person are better off, demand has increased. Increased demand without an increased supply of accredited colleges has increased costs. The second thing driving increased costs is the amount of federal and state subsidies in education that come in many different forms. These subsidies come from outright grants, student loans, research grants and other transfers. Subsidies drive up the price of education.
When perusing Chicagoboyz I noticed this. SUNY of Albany has decided to cut educational programs. They highlight the argument between two other bloggers, pro and con, on the traditional humanities versus no humanities debate. This debate goes right to the theme of Allan Blooms old book The Closing of the American Mind, and the core curriculum. The economic crisis has forced colleges to confront their economic excesses.
The increased cost of education is changing the way students view the world upon graduation. The values that our educational system teaches today leave our students unprepared for the competitive environment they will face upon graduation. Because of government subsidies and demand, the cost to get to the end cripples them with debt. This debt causes them to alter their decision patterns. They look for jobs with security, rather than jobs that can increase their standard of living substantially by assuming some well calculated risk.
Some people say that we are just entering the competition of the global economy, but they are wrong. Its always been there. Nations with large populations of people are emerging and people are noticing it more. Some education reformers like to say that kids in US schools arent competing with the person at the next desk, but instead are competing with a kid in India or China. They miss the broader point. We have always competed since the dawn of our country. Its just that the nature of competition changes over time.
How do we educate American society to win in the future?
Historically, and we are talking ancient 1800-1960′s history here, if a person went to college it meant that they learned a certain core curriculum of humanities, math and science. This core was a classic education. Learning it made one more educated than the masses that simply learned basic high school subjects. Also, this sort of education prepared one for professional graduate school; law, business, medicine or engineering. After graduate school, you went out and made the big bucks as a productive member of a capitalist society. Of course, that notion is dead. It began to change in the 1960′s, accelerated in the 70′s and 80′s. Bloom advocated for a collegiate education that was heavy on instruction in the formation of classical Western Civilization.
The way to educate Americans is to enable them to be hyper entrepreneurial. Because our standard of living is so much higher than the developing world, we cant redefine our standard of living down. Instead, we need to educate people to think out of the box. Find holes in the global economy that they can exploit and build a business out of. When the holes close, they need to find another one. There are always holes to find as the global economy always changes.
Some of these holes will turn into massive companies employing thousands. Some will be nice lifestyle businesses that will earn the person a nice standard of living. (italics added) Every person attending college today should engage in a core curriculum and then specialize into their major, even engineering and science, and especially business.
If we are going to recreate a great entrepreneurial society, we must enable our kids to take business risks. A well taught humanities curriculum can instruct them on how to find ways to take those risks. Taking those risks and being successful will continue to build our society.
Today, the American educational system is creating too many one dimensional thinkers. They are not taught to critically think, but instead are conditioned to think in a certain way. The values of the American system are screwed up as well. Kids are forced to do community service. Instead, they should be taught how to brainstorm to ideas for a business. Time spent in Junior Achievement clubs would be a lot better than trucking kids off to work at a soup kitchen.
Goes back to the old Chinese adage, Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he fishes for a lifetime. Entrepreneurs creating jobs are a lot more valuable to that soup kitchen guy than a bowl of soup.
a dual major in Forensic Accounting and Criminal Law would appear to have a bright future...
except for a degree in math or business
the “arts” have turned into re-education by a bunch of evil old has been communists
and it is all way overpriced to support their hedonist lifestyles
New petroleum engineering graduates are being paid $95k per annum.
An MBA or something like it afterwards might be a good idea too, though. Be a well-rounded person.
RE: New petroleum engineering graduates are being paid $95k per annum.
And companies in which states are hiring such grads?
Any of the hard sciences... engineering, medicine, biotech, computer science, nursing.
LibArts aren’t worth time and money.
Texas, North Dakota, Alaska
Bad advice. With colleges charging an arm and a leg, and people having to take out loans even to attend a crappy state school, its best to make sure that you can make some spondulicks after you get out.
Do you know any websites or anything that gives some info about petroleum engineering? Sounds like something worth looking into.
RE: Texas, North Dakota, Alaska
May I add Louisiana? (assuming the drilling moratorium is now over). Can California and Florida still be part of the picture?
A graduate of a merchant marine academy, who graduates as a third mate, makes about $100,000.
Major in Psychology,learn how to ‘read’ people then enter into the world of sales.
It’s NOT what you know but who you know and more importantly who you blow.
Humanistic Leechery, with a minor in Environmental Transgenderism
“Any of the hard sciences... engineering, medicine, biotech, computer science, nursing.”
And any of those except medicine/nursing will be outsourced. We show concern that students won’t take the difficult courses, that we don’t produce enough engineers and scientists. However, an engineering student is likely to be in debt $50k and up upon graduation. And the reward for working hard and going into debt? Being told it’s a global economy and at best he/she can take a job that will barely pay off the debt, or at worst, work at Burger King while engineering jobs are outsourced to India and China.
My son is college age, and trying to figure out what to study. My advice: Something that requires you to be onsite to do it. If it can be outsourced it will be outsourced.
Interesting how outsourcing proponents never, ever seem to worry about the damage to the country.
Traditional colleges - as sources of education, not networking or socializing - are a bubble in the making.
Just about anything worth learning, you can learn off the internet. You want to learn fundamental physics? Google the Feynman lectures in physics, buy yourself a none-current edition of a good physics text from Amazon for five bucks, and get to work. Most college physics teachers can’t teach for spit, and if you’ve got the talent, you’ll learn more on your own.
For something like literature, if you go to a traditional college you’ll get nine parts of political indoctrination for every one part of literary analysis. Ditto most of the other liberal arts subjects.
You’ll have a tougher time accessing advanced topics, and labs (in the sciences) are hard to find alternatives for, but eventually folks will start to realize there’s a market niche for these things, especially when you’re competing with sclerotic institutions that are putting kids almost a quarter of a million dollars in debt for an inferior product.
The question isn’t if, it’s when.
Construction Management is the easiest way to make 60K a year after college that I know of.
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