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What is everyone's thoughts on modern day's academia and higher education systems (Universities, etc)?

Here's a few highlights of my current observations. They're not so optimistic, maybe...

  • I feel that the difficulty of the material has been made to accommodate a more general population body (especially in the US).
  • People enter higher education systems expecting "a degree," not expecting to learn.
  • People are just obtaining "a degree" because...
    • Little Johnny down the street is going to college.
    • they want to jump up the social pyramid.
    • they believe it will provide them with an astronomical income.
    • a higher degree equates to a higher job position.
According to this pdf provided by the Census Bureau in 2004. The percent of college graduates of the 25 years old age group was 27.2%. Keep in mind though, that those people are born in 1979. So what about today's society? Those born in 2010 will graduate in 2031. If I project the attitudes I have opinionated (listed above), how will academia and education be?

Given that the trend of the % of college graduates (bachelor's degree) vs year are ever increasing, I believe that there will be turbulence in the future regarding academia and education. With the disappearance of manufacturing, construction, and manual labor jobs, the competition of getting a job increases. Combined with more and more graduates per year, the competition of jobs is increasing evermore due to the lack of job supply and increasing demand.

Just what is this turbulence? I would predict it will directly impact the quality of life and social stability of the society. However, I could be projecting too pessimistically so I want people to project their opinions. What kind of accommodations must be made to academia and education systems?

Food for thought: Has there a shift in the NT and SJ statistic for the past 50 years?
 

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im a recent grad and have thought very similarly to you on the subject. I think that education as a common commodity is a failed experiment. clearly the value of education is dropping as more and more people achieve the same indistinguishable "degree", yet schools charge more and more as demand remains steady. I think it is sad that western culture values a college degree over all else. Obsession with meaningless quantifications such as GPA makes it hard for many, who may be excellent workers, to achieve the successes that they are capable of.
 

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I suspect a lot of people (including myself) are getting degrees because they can't be bothered entering the workforce yet, and it's the next easy step after high school. It seems like high school doesn't really prepare you for anything except going to university. Some of the things that are taught at university (I'm thinking law and politics) could be introduced at high school. Maybe they do teach those things in some places, I don't know.

If too many people are getting degrees, some of them will not be able to find relevant jobs and will be forced back to university or into other lines of work. The value of that degree diminishes. It will affect the type of qualification you need to get into certain careers. Your degree may end up being worth very little unless you have done significant post-graduate study also. By that stage you will have spent crap tonnes of time and money getting educated and not have even started your career.

In New Zealand, we have a student loan scheme and a major problem with graduates leaving the country. It is so easy to get a degree here (government gives/lends you money, if you didn't do well in high school they have bridging courses or you can just wait until you're 21), yet there are shortages. Many people go overseas because they want to earn more money to pay back their student loan, and they are more likely to find work in their area of specialty.
 

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Well this all stems from what is already considered a failure IMO, secondary education. I bet a nice majority of the people on this forum could agree that high school was a joke. The spoon-fed system that is secondary education sets up most students for failure. When I first arrived at college, I know I was more focused on when the next time I could get messed up was.. A majority of college freshman have no idea what they want to study, and are just striking out on their own. I can only speak for myself, but I would like to think that it is safe to assume that a good majority of high school seniors don't have the maturity level for college. I don't know.. I'll get off my soapbox.
 

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I have a BS. I was a teacher for 3 years but could not afford to pay on my student loans (because I was a teacher for 3 years). I have enlisted in the army for 4 years because they have agreed to pay off $45k in loans (plus interest) in only 3 years of service.

Beyond the fact that there is a huge push to attend college with no thought to what training is needed in society (when I enlisted I met a young man who was in his 3rd year at an art school with $80k in debt -- his major? Fashion marketing) the student loan market is big business. Your major and GPA should have something to do with getting financed.

There are still schools that have standards, but the overall higher education sector is run like a business...and to increase profits, you lower the quality of your product and control payroll.
 

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I don't know. I got a MSc and PhD in applied physics. It's highly relevant, the salary from my PhD gave me a 50 K euro nest egg (that I managed to grow during the crisis due to clever investments). The degree doesn't matter as much as the invaluable skills I obtained.

Then again, if you study fashion management, yeah, you might as well join the Golden Arches $100K in the hole...
 

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I don't know. I got a MSc and PhD in applied physics. It's highly relevant, the salary from my PhD gave me a 50 K euro nest egg (that I managed to grow during the crisis due to clever investments). The degree doesn't matter as much as the invaluable skills I obtained.

Then again, if you study fashion management, yeah, you might as well join the Golden Arches $100K in the hole...
There you go!

Physics is an in-demand skill. Fashion marketing...not so much. :crazy:

I guess the point that I am making is that there should be better guidance for students in selecting their majors and more discretion in offering loans. Why set these poor suckers up for failure? After all, what 18 year old really knows what s/he wants to do when they are an adult? Too many kids attending college are sheltered from life and mistakes as teens and are all of a sudden expected to be accountable at 18, when they have never been accountable for anything in their lives. As a former high school teacher, I know this to be true.
 

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Physics is an in-demand skill.
That's why I became an options trader/quant... Pay is several times better.

I've noticed that many people don't understand when you consider career prospects, whereas others consider nothing but career prospects. I considered both; Biology is my true passion, but it's much more difficult to find a job with that.
 

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Problem is that the market is over saturated with degrees that they've become all but useless. A great stress is put on college by society that many completely ignore other facets of the market. Trade for example is still in high demand.

I have a friend who dropped out of HS at 16 and got his GED. He went to trade school as an electrician and soon after started a successful business which is still doing well even in this economy, in fact he just hired three new full time and one part time worker.

I know another guy who went to trade school straight out of HS to be a lineman. On a lazy year he can make 90k, but on average he makes 100-120k annually.
 

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I have a friend who dropped out of HS at 16 and got his GED. He went to trade school as an electrician and soon after started a successful business which is still doing well even in this economy, in fact he just hired three new full time and one part time worker.

I know another guy who went to trade school straight out of HS to be a lineman. On a lazy year he can make 90k, but on average he makes 100-120k annually
Skilled manual labor is very good, usually better than a nondescript office job requiring a Bachelors. There is the social stigma thing though.
 

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Skilled manual labor is very good, usually better than a nondescript office job requiring a Bachelors. There is the social stigma thing though.
Let them have their misconceptions, society's stress on elitism will be their downfall.
 
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This isn't all that encouraging when you're considering college. It certainly doesn't seem like all the money spent/debt accumulated is worth it for what you get. Is that true then?
 

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If you do the right thing, it's the best investment ever. Also, consider doing your PhD in Europe and Japan. You get paid there to do one, so you end up 50K in the plus instead of in the hole.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This isn't all that encouraging when you're considering college. It certainly doesn't seem like all the money spent/debt accumulated is worth it for what you get. Is that true then?
There are many people who shine in the schools because after all it depends on the individual. Having that said though, regardless of the trends (true or false), shouldn't it provide you with a stronger motivation to succeed (I hope) against the odds.

There is nothing wrong with being a plumber, teacher, executive, construction worker, etc.

What is the problem is that why people would want to go to college just to avoid the traditional "blue collar" or "working class" jobs? In the US society, there seems to be an imbalance between blue collar and white collar because nobody wants to do the work "blue collar" people do. The attitude is, "I don't want to do those type of jobs." In a way, I feel that because of this attitude, certain jobs are disappearing and being outsourced.

Well, why do you want to go to college? Most people don't seem to ask that question with college being an optional part of society.
 

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There are many people who shine in the schools because after all it depends on the individual. Having that said though, regardless of the trends (true or false), shouldn't it provide you with a stronger motivation to succeed (I hope) against the odds.

There is nothing wrong with being a plumber, teacher, executive, construction worker, etc.

What is the problem is that why people would want to go to college just to avoid the traditional "blue collar" or "working class" jobs? In the US society, there seems to be an imbalance between blue collar and white collar because nobody wants to do the work "blue collar" people do. The attitude is, "I don't want to do those type of jobs." In a way, I feel that because of this attitude, certain jobs are disappearing and being outsourced.
Good point. David Brooks wrote an article about this very point called The Genteel Nation. Definitely worth a read.
 
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