Career and Graduation – Less About the College You Pick

College, major – major – major, degree, job. This is the usual sequence college graduates have taken to get an education. It’s backwards. Here’s why.Buzz TodayTHE PAYOEF TO ATTENDING A MORE SELECTIVE COLLEGE: Students who attended more selective colleges do not earn more than other students who were accepted and rejected by comparable schools but attended less selective colleges. College Selectivity and Degree Completion. We find that selectivity does not have an independent effect on graduation. We also find no evidence that students not attending highly selective colleges suffer reduced chances of graduation, all else being equal.

The Buzz Today research shows that the selectivity of the college does little to assure higher graduation rate or higher salary. This may seem counter intuitive.

Harvard University has a graduation rate of 97% while some other universities have graduation rates in the single digits.   So, you might be saying: “how can you tell me that the university I (or my kids) attend does not impact the chances of graduation?”

What the research in Buzz Today shows is that it is not the university that impacts graduation and salary. It is the person. It is you.

This is important to know because many (especially parents) who bet the future on getting into the most selective university possible. The false assumption is that attendance at a highly selective university increases the likelihood of graduation and high income. Not true. It’s not the college. It’s you.

What this means for you as a student or, a parent of a student is what is important. Two priorities follow from this information. The first is to stop obsessing over the admissions decision. If you don’t get into the college of your first choice it does not mean that your chances of graduation are reduced or you are destined to a low income existence. Go to a selective school if you desire but do not make it the key to your future. You define the key to your future, not the college you attend.

The second implication of this is to allow yourself to consider the cost of your education as a valid thing to consider. Generally highly selective universities have higher cost. As a result, some get trapped into high student debt based on the belief that graduation and future income depended on going to a highly selective college.

It is OK to consider going to a lower cost, less selective college as a career path choice. Making a college choice based on lower tuition cost does not condemn you to a lower chance of graduation and a lower salary.

The most important decisions you need to make about your education are about you. They are not so much about the university you select. My book Your Future is Calling can help you with decisions about “who you are” and career choices that match you. Use it.

Learn What You Need for the Future You Desire

Traditional: University, Major, Major, Major, Degree, Job, Career?

Your Future: Who You Are, Career, Major, Degree, University, Job

It is highly likely that you have experienced the sequence as shown in the first line Traditional shown above. If this is true, you have a set of experiences that define the challenges you now face. Some of those challenges are how to pay off the debt from your education and degree, how to find a job given the degree you have, what major to focus on. If you have already dropped out you may be deciding on what university to now transfer to. All are significant challenges.

Buzz Today Source: CNN Money title: “I will graduate with $100,000 in loans.” When Mears was ready for college, her parents had just lost their home to foreclosure. Mears fell in love with Union College when she started in 2011. She is majoring in political science. She’s also taking time to figure out a five-year plan, including what she’d like to do after graduation.

My goal is to help you transition to the sequence on the second line titled: Your Future. This is a totally different sequence of decisions that change what you need to know to get to the future you desire. Individual blogs will look at various parts of this decision.

The information is this BUZZ Today is exactly the Traditional path that most learners are on. It is University first (Union College), Major (Political Science), Degree (to be conferred), career (figure out what she’d like to do after graduation).

The Your Future path brings some of these critical decisions up earlier in the decision. Your Future is Calling provides.

A Practical Guide to the Education You Need to Have the Future You Desire.

Future posts will provide more detail on solutions to address the link between Learn and Prosper. Stay tuned.

What’s Missing?

Who You Are  –  II

There are between 30 and 40 million Americans with a learning history that looks something like one of those below.  You may be one of them.

University -> Major 1 -> Major 2 -> Major 3: No degree
University 1 -> Major 1 -> University 2 -> Major 2 -> University 3: No degree
Community college -> University -> Start over -> Out of money:  No degree

Some in the blogosphere are debating whether earning a degree is worth it.

 Buzz TodaySource:   Your Future is Calling.  The number of jobs available is directly related to a person’s level of education. The number of jobs available if you have a bachelor’s degree has grown 82 percent since 1988. The number of jobs available if you have an associate’s degree has grown 42 percent, while the number of jobs available to those with only a high school degree actually declined by 14 percent.

Although having a degree does not guarantee you’ll enjoy a well-paying career, this information highlights that job growth occurred only in those jobs requiring degrees. The data are true through good times and bad—recessions included.

On this issue the data is very clear.  On average, those with a degree make more money, were better at retaining their jobs in the last severe economic downturn and degree holders have about one half the unemployment rate as those without a degree.

But even these facts are not the heart of the issue if you are one of the 30 – 40 million cited above.  For you the issue is much more personal.  This is about you.

At some point in their lives, every one of these 30 – 40 million individuals had decided that a degree was something they wanted in their future.  The question is not so much about whether a degree is “worth it”.  The important question for you is “what went wrong on the way to that degree?”

There are many reasons individuals are not able to reach their personal degree goal.  Simply put, life gets in the way.  I talk about these issues in the chapter “You Are Not Alone” in my book Your Future is Calling.  What is striking is how common the reasons are that people stopped out on their path to their degree.

One of the conclusions we might draw from the university -> major sequence, and the tens of millions of stop outs, is that there could be something else going on here.  Missing from this conversation is what I think are some of the most important pieces in this conversation.  Missing are “who you are” and careers.

My suggestion is that the decisions of university and major are means to an end.  The outcome you are trying create is the match between “who you are” and career.  It is this match in the future that will provide the satisfaction of a fulfilled life.

More on these two factors in future posts on this blog.

New Shoes

The next series of posts on this blog will look at the three key parts of your degree completion decision:  “who you are”, careers, and universities.      Buzz Today Source:  Your Future is Calling.   The book is a road map for you to earn your degree quickly and efficiently.  It is important that you do the work to find the right fit for you.  Think of your task as if you were shopping for a new pair of shoes.  You have to shop around to find out what is available.  You have to try on the shoes to make sure they don’t hurt your feet.  You have to look at them in the mirror. You have to examine the price tag to see if you can afford them.  The important point is that, in the end only you can tell if those new shoes fit you.  The only difference here is that the new shoes you are shopping for (your degree) you will wear every day for the rest of your life, and if they do not fit, they will not only hurt your feet, they will create pain in every part of your life. 

It is important to begin at the beginning – with “who you are”.  The BUZZ Today talks about why it all needs to start with you.

“Who you are”:  In many ways we are all different.  Our lives and experiences mold us.  What I enjoy may not at all appeal to you.  I like standing in a cold, fast flowing stream and casting a fly over and over again trying to tempt a trout I cannot even see into biting on a glob of thread and feathers only to release the fish once I have landed him in a net.

Most of you would not find this appealing at all.  Some might find it revolting, even barbaric.  But that is exactly the point.  We are all different.  What motivates each of us to do what we do, to be “who we are” is very much about each of us.

When it comes to deciding on a degree, a college, a career you need to start with yourself.  In the end, all of these have to fit you, just as the shoes in the BUZZ Today have to fit you.  No one else can tell you if they fit.  You have to try them on.  To do that you have to have good information.  We will come back to this in posts here over the weeks and months to come.