Thurman Speaks About Degrees Not Coming with Guarantees

The topic of college degrees came up during class and a student asked a question in which they used the word guarantee. In this particular case, the student wanted to know if they got a CS (computer science) degree, then would that guarantee they would get a job having a specific starting salary range.

My response was immediate and clear: College degrees do not come with guarantees. I continued to say that in many cases a college degree is a wasting asset. In other words, the degree might help get that first job, but from that point forward it is performance that counts. I also indicated that a degree might provide the student with a "choice" when it comes to where they want to live and work.

I am starting to read more and more about the value of a college degree. The following are some quotes from a Fortune.composting on the subject.

  "Search engines such as Google have ushered in the era 
   of open-source learning. Society is rapidly progressing 
   to the point where any Googler is on equal footing with 
   a Widener Library pass-holder."

  "Most of today's higher-paying jobs go to those who exhibit 
   a combination of adaptable intelligence, numeracy, communications 
   skills and a strong work ethic, as opposed to evidence of specific 

  "Which leads to a third, and no doubt controversial, point. 
   Society once counted on universities to imbue students with 
   the traits named in the paragraph above. It was once assumed, 
   for instance, that a liberal arts degree holder was numerate 
   and literate and knew how to draw lessons from history, weigh 
   evidence, think, write, speak, debate and learn. Or so Larry 
   Summers, the ex-Harvard president, innocently imagined. He 
   thought undergrads should learn about the math-and-science-driven 
   world they'd be entering as adults. This belief conflicted with 
   the postmodern professoriat that prefers cutting rap records to 
   teaching--or, if forced to teach, teaches liberation theology 
   over the American Revolution. Summers lost the battle."

Forbes.com:: Is College Worth It?

Creator: Gerald D. Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Created: 15 April 2006