“Go to college to get a job… -can’t get a job without experience”. This is the current dilemma facing many college grads all throughout the country right now. The job and employment climate is becoming more and more competitive out there, which is leaving less and less opportunities for individuals to get a break when it comes to receiving a chance to get into their desired line of work.
With competition being so stiff to get into what we call “good jobs”, having a college degree is becoming more and more of a preference, but not necessarily a requirement. So many job seekers are entering into the market with degrees now, that it is actually acting as more of a dilution when it comes to the degree’s original value. As a result, a good portion of jobs out there that are being sought after list a degree as a feature that will still lead to higher consideration, but now, is closely followed by “-OR X amount of years of proven experience.” Huh? So did I make the right choice by going to college instead of jumping into the workforce?
Here in 2016, is it really necessary to go to college anymore? Or can you just go straight into our desired line of work and pick up the skills and lessons to become unignorable along the way? Here are some of the factors to consider in the case of whether or not it is still worth it to attend college in 2016.
Why go to college anymore?
College is in fact a great and fantastic institution that caters to the individuals who seek to be taught about what working in their desired field will be like, but for those who don’t want to be there but would rather be out in the field learning on the job, will they really be soaking up as much as the others?
For students who attend but don’t really want to be there, it just isn’t worth it to attend because of the sky high cost it requires just to show up every day. For students who would rather be hands-on instead of in a controlled classroom environment, it is becoming more and more possible for them to make their desires come true and be able to get started working in their desired career path, sans a degree.
Students who don’t want to study but would rather be earning experience are better off forgoing college because even though you are sitting in a classroom, doesn’t mean you necessarily are learning. Classrooms just aren’t suitable for every kind of learner.
The perks of a degree.
Despite the fact that you can get started on your career without an official degree in a good amount of career fields, it doesn’t belittle the glimmer and glamour of a bonafide degree. Bachelors, Master’s, PhD’s… -you name it, having one of these babies on hand is certainly going to give you a leg up on the competition, but it will not guarantee you a job after you walk across that stage. Contrary to what a lot of folks were told when we started college instead of going straight into the workforce, a college degree does not equal a front-of-the-line pass with Human Resource departments. It does makes you stand out as one who is well versed in whatever your degree says, but it does not translate into experience.
The perks of experience.
That is where the people who don’t have a degree but do have experience have an advantage. Depending on what the job in question is, it may be more advantageous for the hiring manager to decide in favor of the college-skipping-but-experienced job seeker over the no-experience-but-degree-holding seeker. This may be shocking to many, but this is an event that happens more often that you would think. With many positions out there having that opportunity giving “OR” after the words “Bachelor’s degree preferred”, it is giving more and more opportunity to those who chose to forgo college and begin working in their field as soon as possible.
What about that crippling student debt?
Another point in favor of college-skipping-but-experienced job seekers is that they decided to forgo the cost it takes to attend a university. If you were fortunate enough to have your parents pick up the tab for you while you attended college, then go home and hug your parents and never let go, because they just pushed you out of the way of a speeding train that is smooshing a staggering percentage of the country right now with student debts. Seriously, go pick up the phone and thank them.
For people who decided to put college on hold, their decision to go without the possibility of student debt is something that they are not missing out on. As we mentioned before, prices to go college are pretty outrageous, and more than likely still going to continue creeping upwards for years to come.
For those of you who have read this far, the information above is probably making you rethink and regret all of the hard work that you put into that framed diploma hanging in your bedroom right about now. Don’t worry, that degree that you worked so hard for is absolutely worth it if it’s what you really wanted. If you got it, flaunt it! Don’t belittle it! Read on to regain your appreciation for your diploma.
The cap for non-college goers.
Having a college degree is not as ferociously sought after on entry level jobs as much as it perhaps used to be, but when it comes to being able to move up and receive pay raises and salary increases, that is when you can start to cash in your diploma and start earning back some of those unforgettable tuition fees.
Your college degree is certification that you can take on more responsibility that is worth paying extra for on the side of the employer. Your degree is proof that you are valuable, and depending on where you went to school and how high your education went, can even present you in the form of bragging rights for the company (I.E. “Have you met our V.P. of Marketing? He has a PhD from Harvard!”). Although experience is universally important, pairing it alongside a degree makes a candidate that much more unignorble when it comes to advancement and pay raises.
Let’s not kid ourselves – Its tough out there to get a new job. When you land one, the tendency is to stay put just so that in this game of musical chairs that job searching has become, we have a place to squat when the music stops.
There is a pretty strong case for both kinds of job seekers, degree holding and experience holding. If you can somehow find the sweet spot and be able to gain career experience while also going to college, then that my friends is a match that places you as a force to be reckoned with. Although there are no guarantees out there that can land you a job (besides having your uncle owning the company you are trying to get a job at), there are numerous ways that you can set yourself up to be in the slam-dunk position come time you are trying to apply for that dream job.
So either study as hard as you can while you’re in college, or work as hard as you can while you’re out there in the real world, or do both! Figure out what works for you and what you want, and if you really are the right fit for the job and can prove it, then it won’t matter if you have a degree or an abundance of experience. If you really are what is being sought after, then you can expect a phone call from the job poster pretty soon.
So sit tight, it’ll happen.