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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by lise View Post
    I have a degree and 10 years experience working in admin and when job searching, most places here wanted me to get an Administrative Assistant diploma. It's crazy how competitive it's gotten for what used to be entry-level jobs.
    Tell me about it. I have experience as an Administrative Assistant and am still having a tough time getting another job in that field. I think when most students enter college, they really have no idea how competitive to get just entry level positions.
    "If people are looking for guarantees, they should buy appliances at Sears and stay away from human relationships."~Prancer

  2. #22
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    College is not simply a trade school. Some people actually go to get an education. There are others who go because it is expected of them, or to kill time looking productive while they figure out what they want to do when they grow up.

  3. #23

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    Although this is a serious question, when I saw the thread title, the answer that popped into my mind was "To get to the other side" (a la the chicken and the road).
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmscfdcsu View Post
    College is not simply a trade school. Some people actually go to get an education.
    Yeah, why is "becoming educated" never mentioned in these kinds of debates. Some of us intentionally chose a liberal arts education because we wanted to learn more about the world around us, not a narrow little field. Nor did we go to school to be trained monkeys.

    Every time I've graduated (undergrad & grad), it's been in the throes of a recession. And yet, my liberal arts degree and I have managed to do just fine in the long run because I'm smart, articulate, and good at thinking.

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    Education for its own sake is not valued much in this society anymore. It is frustrating to watch. It was frustrating as a teacher. Parents didn't care if their kids learned; they just cared about the bottom line which was that they get high grades, get scholarships so college cost less, and someday get a high paying job. If something was perceived as too hard or challenging for kids, parents at the small college prep school I worked at would all but throw rallies to get it out of the curriculum. There was a huge backlash against honors English courses (they wanted to keep the "honors" tag but decimate the curriculum), sophomore communications (speech) class (too hard--ditch it), and all chemistry courses (if required, make them much easier so everyone gets an A) the last year I was there. I often heard the phrase "I'm paying for you to give him/her good grades" at conferences. These parents did not at all perceive their tuition payment as paying for an education.

  6. #26

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    I think there are some that do go for education sake. I could have done the same work without a degree because of my experience, so I suppose I would be one of those people. I have been half time, if not full time, when not even pursuing anything other than "that sounds interesting", but I do not think it is normal. I usually just want more information than offered by Discovery Channel or PBS.

    Most people I know can't wait to be out of school and think I am a freak for being willing to do homework when I already get paid for work.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 11-03-2010 at 12:42 AM.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmscfdcsu View Post
    College is not simply a trade school. Some people actually go to get an education. There are others who go because it is expected of them, or to kill time looking productive while they figure out what they want to do when they grow up.
    There are some of us who go for a variety of reasons. Why is it always assumed that people go to college for one reason only? I love education and that is one of the reasons I went. I love thinking critically. But as someone who comes from a working class background, I also went to college so that I could rise out of my class into the middle class. Right now, that's not happening. So yes, I have an education but I also have massive debt that frankly the majority of my family doesn't have because most people in my family decided to work or go into skilled trades. People who get liberal arts degrees have the same debt as their engineering, nursing, pre-med and other science based cohorts but the job market for us is crap. Often, the jobs liberal arts grads can get are not enough to pay down their loans. Can you really pay down $25,000, $30,000, $40,000 in debt while working as a waitress!? I'm sorry but that is an issue that needs to be addressed.
    Last edited by modern_muslimah; 11-02-2010 at 07:22 PM.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by skaternum View Post

    Every time I've graduated (undergrad & grad), it's been in the throes of a recession. And yet, my liberal arts degree and I have managed to do just fine in the long run because I'm smart, articulate, and good at thinking.
    And there are plenty of people who are like that and are still unemployed.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by skaternum View Post
    Yeah, why is "becoming educated" never mentioned in these kinds of debates. Some of us intentionally chose a liberal arts education because we wanted to learn more about the world around us, not a narrow little field.
    Because a liberal arts education comes with a very high price tag for a lot of people, and somehow that price has to be paid.

    If you graduate from college right now with a degree and student loans, you need to be able to pay those student loans back. The AVERAGE student now graduates after working during college and still has student loans to pay back--and that's people who get a four-year degree. Those who go through graudate and professional programs usually end up with even higher bills.

    Most people go to college to attain a middle-class lifestyle; that's what they are there for--the job prospects and the resulting lifestyle. People can think that's the wrong approach, but for most people, the cost of college has to be a consideration. It's nice if your parents can foot the bill, but there are fewer and fewer parents who can do that, and there are fewer scholarships to go around, and grants are harder to get.

    Quote Originally Posted by wickedwitch View Post
    And there are plenty of people who are like that and are still unemployed.
    Absolutely. There are a whole lot of people with degrees and even experience right now who can't find jobs, and it's not because they aren't smart, articulate and know how to think.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  10. #30

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    I have been a corporate recruiter, worked in corporate HR, and been a hiring manager in several companies, in many fields, both during recession and during good times. Unless you plan to go into a field where a specific degree is needed (nursing, architecture, engineering, etc.) it doesn't matter what you major in. Most employers don't care what you majored in. They care that you got a degree and have the skills they're looking for.

    Of course there are some employers that do care what you majored in. And there are some fields, as I mentioned, where a specific degree is necessary. But for most fields, for most employers, it doesn't matter.

    The important thing is that you gain career-related work experience while you study. So no, it's not good enough to just graduate with a liberal arts degree; but a liberal arts degree plus marketing and PR experience for clubs and organizations on campus, plus a marketing internship, can get you a job in marketing, whether your major is marketing or art history.

    Finding a job in a recession is never going to be easy, but there are jobs available, and if you arm yourself well re: career related experience, you'll stand just as good a shot as anyone else of landing that job, liberal arts degree or no.

    I'd also like to add that student loan debt is something to be extremely cautious of. It is not necessary to graduate with excessive (or perhaps any) student loans. I know people do that, but it is not what I advise. And I *know* that sounds anti-American or something; but I mean it - student loan debt is insidious, and it can constrain your future choices, and should be avoided or, at worst, minimized. And the private student loans should *absolutely* be avoided - those things are evil.

    In other words, if the only way you can afford to go to a college is by taking out massive student loans, that school is too expensive for you, and you need to go someplace else. If you choose to go to that school anyway, then that's your choice, but you need to know what you're doing to yourself. You need to understand the financial reality of what you're getting yourself and your family into - and too many students/families do not.

    I always recommend that the students I am advising apply to at least one public university in their home state. The only exception to this is for the few students whose families are so well off that paying for college is not an issue for them - they'd face no financial burden. Otherwise, one of your schools needs to be a public college in your home state. It's your financial backup, for use in case the financial aid package at the other schools doesn't turn out as you need it to.
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  11. #31

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    So glad that I went to college long before student loans became seemingly mandatory. I went to a state university (with a very good academic reputation) when in-state tuition was a real bargain (barely 1/100 what tuition was for a good private school). It probably would have been better had I had some real career goals when I was an undergrad, but for the most part I enjoyed my courses, which ranged widely across the liberal arts curriculum (the only two courses I detested were statistics and quantitative analysis ). I likely would be more financially advantaged if I had been more "career focussed" back then, but then again, I could have made a lot more money and lost much of it through bad investments, like some I know. I'm probably just rationalizing because I liked being a student.
    Last edited by skatingfan5; 11-02-2010 at 08:21 PM.

  12. #32
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    My niece just graduated from college with a $130,000 student loan (for a bachelor's) degree - and she is without a job! I hear so many people are now defaulting on their student loans because they don't have jobs to pay them back, and its gonna be tougher for future students to get loans at all.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Because a liberal arts education comes with a very high price tag for a lot of people, and somehow that price has to be paid.
    I feel so bad for my students at this one private college. They are taking on significant debt to pay for their education, and I'm just like, "Pssst... You know I teach this same class over there at that SUNY and it'd cost you, like, $300, right?"

    This issue isn't unique to liberal arts. I remember talking to one kid who was an engineering student at Drexel. He told me he'd have $100k in student loans by the time he graduated. Even as an engineer, there is no way he could comfortably pay off that amount of debt. Even if he was in one of the highest paid engineering fields out there - petroleum - he couldn't comfortably pay off that debt. He's at very high risk of defaulting on those loans. He wasn't quite ready to hear my advice (transfer to a public uni in his home state.)
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  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by SceneIt View Post
    My niece just graduated from college with a $130,000 student loan (for a bachelor's) degree - and she is without a job! I hear so many people are now defaulting on their student loans because they don't have jobs to pay them back, and its gonna be tougher for future students to get loans at all.
    She is at high risk of default, even if she gets a job. I'm guestimating that her monthly loan payment could be $1,500. That won't leave her much money for things like food and housing.

    She needs to take control of this now. She may need to contact the loan companies and see if she can put them in forbearance. She may need to see if she can consolidate the loans and extend their terms, to bring the monthly payment down to a level she can handle. If she extends the term to 30 years, her monthly payment might be (guestimate) $650, and... she'd still be paying her student loans when her kids are in college. Ouch.

    At that level of loans, she's got some private loans involved, and those have special issues that she'll need to gain a full understanding of, and I mean *now*. I don't know, for example, if those can be consolidated. She needs to get her co-signers (likely her parents) involved, because if she defaults, they're on the hook.

    If she defaults, it's really serious. That debt will escalate as interest and fees come into play. It'll bury her (as if she's not buried already). If she defaults, they'll take her tax refunds, garnish her future paychecks, and they can even go after her social security benefits. This is a lifetime debt, and it needs to be a priority for her.

    This is seriously going to constrain her future. I'm sorry, that sucks.
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  15. #35

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    I went to college with a 1/2 loan & 1/2 grant scholarship. When I graduated, I could have taught at public school or county college for 5 yrs & my debt would have been forgiven without me paying a cent. Is something like that now available for students?

    The scholarship I had is now not offered because so many people defaulted. I paid mine off although it wasn't near the amt students incur now.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    I went to college with a 1/2 loan & 1/2 grant scholarship. When I graduated, I could have taught at public school or county college for 5 yrs & my debt would have been forgiven without me paying a cent. Is something like that now available for students?

    The scholarship I had is now not offered because so many people defaulted. I paid mine off although it wasn't near the amt students incur now.
    There is a scholarship available to people who plan to be teachers - maybe just math and science? - who are willing to spend five years teaching in an under served school system. If they don't end up working in such a system, the scholarship turns into a loan.

    When you agree to take the scholarship, they give you the list of schools in your region, so you know and can make a somewhat informed decision. The scholarship, I think it was for $8000 per year, which is not a bad amount if you're going to a public college. It really helps.
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  17. #37
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    Reading about all this student load debt reminded me of something that happened years ago. My husband and I had been out of college a few years and he decided to go to grad school in Massachusetts. I think it was 1988 or so. We got a small student loan (probably 5k?) and then moved, so he never finished his degree.

    After paying about 1/2 the loan, we got a letter from the loan program that basically said "the state is so well off that we are going to forgive all loans of this type". I'm sure I still have the letter somewhere because I was convinced that it was a mistake and someone was going to come after us for the money. Can you imagine that happening nowadays?
    Last edited by Auntie; 11-02-2010 at 09:16 PM.

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    And the private student loans should *absolutely* be avoided - those things are evil.
    YES, YES, YES.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Absolutely. There are a whole lot of people with degrees and even experience right now who can't find jobs, and it's not because they aren't smart, articulate and know how to think.
    Yup. Underemployment is part of the past, present and future around here. Whatever, we're not going to let it ruin our lives.

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    I think a lot of parents reasonably thought that the check list was the way to go because that worked for a few decades. Just check the items off the list, get a college degree, get a job, buy a house, etc. The environment has changed on everyone though. It is like we are in a hustle economy where street smarts are worth a lot in figuring out how to get that job or find income. A friend who is an attorney got laid off and she is making a go of it with her own business - a combination of her own legal clients and public speaking. It really didn't come down to credentials or degrees as much as she just hustled to get something done for herself.

    ETA: I think those with hustle skills with or without a degree will be the best off in terms of income for near term.
    What would Jenny do?

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