Is College Worth It?

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Meet Nancy. She's a 28-year-old tour guide. She leads city tours in Florida. She went to a great college and majored in photography. She tried to make it in her profession, but taking a crying baby's photos or shooting a wedding wasn't her ideal career after all. She now works at a job that is seasonal, has no real growth or benefits and didn't necessarily require her diploma.

Meet Danielle. She's a 29-year-old manager of a popular seasonal bar in New York. She graduated from a prestigious fashion school and scored a job designing showrooms for stores. She hated it. She started bartending and saw she was able to triple her former salary. She only works four months out of the year and is able to travel for eight months. To her, college was pointless and not at all necessary. If she could do it again, she would have saved her tuition money and started bartending four years earlier.

Meet Dan. He's a 30-year-old bartender at a popular bar in Washington, D.C. Dan graduated from a local college there but wasn't interested in finding a job in his chosen career path of art history. He bartended through college and kept going after graduation. He isn't thinking about applying to a regular nine-to-five.

Meet Andy. He's a 25-year-old waiter, a former pre-med graduate. After attending classes, he saw that becoming a doctor was not the path for him. He's still thinking about what his next steps are, but at the moment he is very happy and comfortable with where he is financially. He's taking food and wine courses to help him move up in the industry.

All of these people are extremely intelligent and educated. They all expressed how much interpretation and analysis goes into each of their lines of work -- something the customer rarely thinks about.

The college system is broken. More and more graduates are entering industries that not only have nothing to do with their field of interest but might not even require a degree. Colleges need to provide real life, on-the-job training. Students should have a chance to fully test out what that job should be. They should understand the roles, responsibilities, salary and demand of that position.

With the exorbitant cost of college, it really might not be the best option for some people. Plenty of industries do not require a four-year degree and won't leave students in a job they don't like with high amounts of student debt. Those jobs include electrician, cosmetologist, hygienist, customer service representative, or paralegal.

Professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa from New York University and University of Virginia released a study and wrote a book, Aspiring Adults Adrift, on the demise of prepared college graduates. They told the Wall Street Journal, "Colleges focus too much on students' social lives at the expense of a strong academic and career road map. Schools have given their charges an unrealistic sense of what it takes to achieve their life aims, resulting in overwhelming -- and possibly unrealistic --optimism among young people about their prospects."

Everyone's vision of success is different. The ROI of attending colleges have faltered the millennial set. Schools need to take action now and reform their education process.
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