College: Still Worth It?

assorted books on wooden table

The U. S. Department of Labor published a report that stated what some of us already knew: a lot of college graduates are having trouble finding suitable jobs, especially in their fields of study. They are increasingly unable to repay their student loans, and wind up back home, living with their parents in order to make ends meet.

Depending upon where we live, the pandemic has caused a pull-back in hiring, in a variety of industries. Even economically-challenged technology companies have let employees go. And yet, “help wanted” signs seem to be everywhere. Jobs are available, and not all of them require a college education. So, is that college education necessary?

A local career consultant says that for every job that pays in the 30-to-35-thousand-dollar range, it is not uncommon to get 200 resumes and many of them are overqualified for the position being offered. In some areas of the country, an entry level clerical position will generate scores of resumes from people with college degrees, even advanced degrees, who are willing and eager to work at jobs for which they are extremely overqualified.

If a college degree no longer guarantees a decent job after graduation, why go? Why put oneself in long-term debt? Well, there are still compelling reasons for continuing our education. As columnist Charles Osgood once pointed out, “The reason for studying history, philosophy, the humanities and the arts and sciences is to better understand ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

“Going to college doesn’t give you all the answers. It doesn’t guarantee that someday you will live in a big house or drive a fancy car. But it does give you some exposure to the wisdom and the folly of the ages. The world has never been more complex than it is right now. Education helps to sort the wheat from the chaff . . . and real values from phony ones.”

Critical thinking skills have never been more valued or more needed. Higher education provides the knowledge and hones the intuition that allows us to see the world with a discerning eye and mind. College degrees may have lost a little of their allure, but higher education should not.