Editorial Page

Buy Your High School Grad A House Or College Education?

Recent changes that have occurred for years can change the conventional wisdom that has been prevalent possibly for decades.

It’s not wise to ignore present reality.

Given the increasing costs of college debt, as a parent, are you better off to buy your 18 year old a house with that college fund that you have been saving or participate in the previous conventional wisdom and send them off to college?

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For many that may not be the question as their teenager graduates from high school but for an increasing number of parents they are clearly rethinking their financial strategy.

As reported on September 1, 2018 at Forbes.com, “As many a private college tuition reaches $45,000 per year, the question every kid should ask their parents is whether college itself is worth it. At that rate, a bachelor’s degree costs $180,000—around the median price of a home in Indiana.

As tuition increases have continued to exceed the rate of inflation, many have questioned the conventional wisdom of a college education. But a quick look at what that money could buy should have both children and their parents doing a cost-benefit analysis.”

The students themselves seem to be altering their thinking.

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There was a time where the college experience meant a varied and philosophical academic journey that better prepared you for the world. While that is all well and good, now students view college as a pathway to a job.


According to an article posted by washingtonpost.com writer Jeffrey Selingo, “College is increasingly seen by high school students as a means to an end: getting a job. Since the Great Recession, surveys of teenagers — and the choices they are making about their college majors — show that higher education has become less about preparing for life or learning something that interests undergraduates and much more about securing employment.”

Yes, for the majority of today’s students, philosophy is fine but college is all about the Benjamins as long as they dress in green and hopefully have a pension and 401K.

For good reason.

The informative site chronicle.com adds, “About 60 percent of executives and hiring managers think that most college graduates are prepared to succeed in entry-level positions. But only a third of executives, and a quarter of hiring managers, believe graduates have the skills and knowledge to advance or be promoted.”

Previously how many students majored in what can be described as the arts or gray pathways like Communications, History or Political Science and after graduation end up underemployed and working at a coffee shop?

Oh by the way, just like the other majors that tend to lead to high tech and Social Media jobs, they still have the college debt to pay off, often approaching $100,000.

Many universities have been slow to adapt.

“The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live.”… Myles Munroe

Yes a college education serves multiple purposes including to prepare students for the world but those missions increasingly have become secondary to most students and their families in an era of rising tuition and stagnant wages.

We have a visiting writer who examines this further with an intriguing point of view.

Please enjoy.

Why Do Students Pay $100,000+ For A College Education And End Up Waiting Tables?

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By Bob Roth 

In October of 2010, Richard Vedder published an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education and asked “Why Did 17 Million Students Go To College?” His research found that there were 17,000,000 college graduates with Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees working in jobs that did not require a college degree.

Before anyone heads off to college, they should conduct some research to determine where their college major will take them. If they find that there is little or no market for graduates in their proposed field of study, they would be wise to investigate and then pursue another major. Why would anyone spend four or more years in college only to end up as a waiter or waitress? Those jobs, and others, would be available to them without a college degree and without spending all of that money.

Grades are often a factor in the job offers that college seniors receive. Even when a student selects a major that is in demand, the student’s grades can work against him/her. If the student’s grades put him/her in the bottom third of those with that major, few employers may be interested. It is the age old question, “Would you seek out a doctor who graduated in the bottom third of his/her class?”

Job-related accomplishments, successes and experiences can all influence and impress employers. Since hiring managers seek candidates who are the most likely to make positive contributions in their departments, they look closely at the student’s college activities, work experiences and references. Students with below average grades and few other positive contributions or accomplishments will not be at the top of the interviewers list of candidates.

Some students go to college for the wrong reasons. They sometimes simply attend for social reasons. These students do only the minimum work required, in order to remain in college, attend parties, fool around with their friends and meet members of the opposite sex. Whenever a student is attending college for a reason other than graduating with a good job, it is likely that they are attending college for the wrong reason.

Unfortunately, parents frequently contribute to the problem. They often push students into college when they do not belong there. Since some students are not interested in college, have not performed well in high school and want to pursue interests that do not require a college education, they are unlikely to do their best in college. Parents who force a child into college are likely to be disappointed with the results.

Colleges can also play a role. Not all colleges have the same high academic standards and may not be respected by the best employers. That means that students who graduate from those colleges can face an uphill battle for a job with the most well-known and highly respected employers. For new graduates, the college that they have attended does matter to many employers. However, once students have been working for a few years, it will be their performance and accomplishments in a related job that will matter most.

If a recent college graduate is wondering why he/she has ended up as a retail clerk, fast food worker, junior secretary, receptionist, construction laborer, lawn care worker, bartender, janitor, truck driver or tele marketer etc., he/she should make a list of the things he/she accomplished during college, things that would impress a highly desirable employer. If the list is short and the examples are not powerful and compelling, the answer is clear. Few people are impressed with the fact that you went to college and graduated. It is your accomplishments, successes, experiences, as well as your leadership, problem-solving and communication skills that will determine whether employers are interested in you.

We know that some students work hard in college and make the most of their college years. Other students do little in college and waste their time, money and opportunity. With few exceptions, this is the group of students who will pay $100,000+ for their college education and end up waiting tables.

Bob Roth, a former campus recruiter, is the author of four books: The College Student’s Companion, College Success: Advice for Parents of High School and College Students, The College Student’s Guide To Landing A Great Job -and- The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College. Known as The “College & Career Success” Coach, Bob writes articles for College Career Services Offices, Campus Newspapers, Parent Associations and Employment Web Sites. Bob has created The Job Identification Machine, a system that colleges use to identify thousands of employment opportunities for students. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs across the country and by many publications, including U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal. http://www.The4Realities.com. Bob’s Blog- http://collegesuccess.blog.com

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