Rethinking the value of a degree

During this economic downturn, some graduates are asking whether a university degree has been oversold


From The Christian Science Monitor:

Today’s economic downturn has blindsided a generation of young people around the globe brought up to believe that a college degree guaranteed them financial prosperity. Whether in the US, China, or in countries in between, graduates from even marquee-name schools are feeling the crunch, prompting many rightly to rethink the value of their education.

In light of the pervasive grim data, some are beginning to ask whether a college degree has been oversold.

Surprisingly, as far back as 1963 that precise question was raised by John Keats in a little noticed book with the apt title of “The Sheepskin Psychosis.” The author concluded that college is merely the most convenient place to learn how to learn. It is not an absolute determinant by any means.

The most recent exponent of this view is Charles Murray. In “Real Education,” which came out last year, he argues that a bachelor’s degree tells an employer nothing except that an applicant has a certain amount of intellectual ability and perseverance.


Rethinking the value of a degree

  1. While it’s absolutely true that university is there solely to teach you “how to learn”, that skill is sorely lacking in many people, and should be of great value to many employers. In that light, I would think that it’ll be even harder to get a job without a university degree in the current economic climate. They were basically required for anything outside of the trades before the **** hit the fan.

  2. I would question how much the university is actually succeeding in “teaching” these intellectual abilities (if they can even be taught). Most of a science degree for example is textbook memorization and there’s little need for critical thinking / essay writing / etc.

  3. This is the ‘signaling’ theory. Not really news.

  4. re: “Not really news.”

    Perhaps you should write to the Christian Science Monitor and let them know Stephen.

  5. Meh. Telling the MSM that they’re noticing stuff we knew already would be a full-time job, and I’ve already got one.

  6. Perhaps it has been oversold, but if that’s the case, what is the better alternative?

  7. Ritalin, apparently.