Too much emphasis put on college degrees

Almost everyone can agree on the importance of a college degree. Going to college gives us the opportunity to further our knowledge and gain experience for our career. Face it: college is a great way for us to broaden our horizons through a variety of courses, internships and experiences.

But is there too much emphasis placed on earning a college degree to ultimately land that decent job to live how you want to?

Essentially, yes, we do put too much emphasis on it. From the beginning of middle school to the end of high school, the college lecture became more and more common.

All throughout high school, teachers always talked about the importance of college. By showing us scholarship sites, explaining the process of filling out a college application and encouraging us to schedule college visits, it became a mission for teachers to ensure we went to college.

In all reality, what good does a college degree do for us?

In theory, it’s supposed to help us get a job that pays above minimum wage, and honestly, we need to make more than the average $7.25 if we want to pay off the thousands of dollars in debt we’ve accumulated over our four years of college. It’s hard to live the life you want comfortably if most, or all, of your paycheck is going to Sallie May.

The harsh truth is that many college graduates are not getting the decent jobs they expected, despite their college degree. As of 2014, there were 260,000 people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, working a job that paid minimum wage or less, according to Next City.

Isn’t a college degree supposed to get you a job that pays at least a little above the minimum wage, not below it?

That number increased by almost 120,000 graduates since 2004.

And don’t forget the 200,000 workers who hold associate degrees. The total number of Americans with a college degree working a job, earning $7.25 an hour or less stands at 460,000, according to a 2014 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s 460,000 people who spent several years in college, moving their way into more debt and building their education, only to get a job that may pay minimum wage.

Why are we putting so much emphasis on getting a college degree when getting one doesn’t always promise a decent paying job?

The unemployment rate is still lower among college students, which stands at 3.8 percent, than those without a degree—7.3 percent.

Maybe instead of encouraging high school students to earn a college degree immediately after high school, we should encourage getting a job first, then going to college.

Our position: We believe that there is too much emphasis on getting a college degree when it doesn’t always equal getting a decent job. 


The editorial board represents the opinion of The Franklin and its staff members. Opinion editor Christina Ramey moderates the board and its members, including Brittney Corum, Marrisa Hendricks, Adrianna Pitrelli and Ashley Steeb. Leigh Durphey, the executive editor, sits on the board. If you have an issue you would like the board to cover, email christina.ramey@franklincollege.edu. 

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The Franklin is the student newspaper at Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. We publish in-depth campus news weekly.

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