Careers That An American Education Can Buy You

There’s a bit of selection bias at work in this video but Peter Schiff still makes a good point: a college diploma is not what it once was. It doesn’t help that people are majoring in things like “general studies” (2:07). Here’s the video’s description:

President Obama promotes the myth that everyone must go to college. That if you don’t go, your life will be ruined — that you will end up waiting tables, or trapped in some other mundane occupation. The truth is, even with a college degree, you may still end up waiting tables, you’ll just begin your “career” four or five years later, tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Here is an example of some of the plumb jobs college grads were able to land during the Obama administration. Not just liberal arts majors mind you, but graduates with degrees in mathematics, robotics, neuroscience, engineering, accounting, business administration, economics, biology, communications, graphic design, marketing, and linguistics.

Of course when it comes to education, it’s not just the Obama administration that deserves a failing grade. For years, politicians of both parties have pandered to students by promising more aid in the form of direct or subsidized student loans. As a result, colleges and universities are freed from competitive forces that would otherwise keep tuition low. Easy access to cheap credit enables students to bid up tuition, benefiting the educational establishment at their expense. Politicians secure student’s votes by promising relief from skyrocketing tuition by providing even more loans. Ironically, the loans themselves are the very reason tuition is so high in the first place. 

Before the Federal Government got involved, college degrees were much more affordable, and ambitious students from poorer families could easily work their way through. In addition, as fewer high school graduates actually went on to college, not only were college degrees much less expensive to obtain, they were far more valuable to have. With so many high school grads now going on to college, a college degree is actually less valuable in today’s job market, despite its inflated price tag, than was a high school diploma in the 1950s. The only solution is to get the Federal Government completely out of higher education, and let the free market fix what the government broke!

For those of you who feel a college degree is essential to financial success consider John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Rockefeller dropped out of high school and began working full-time at age 16. Carnegie didn’t even go to high school and began working full-time at age 13. Both men were born poor and became self-made billionaires, with estimated net worths at their deaths (in today’s dollars) of $670 and $300 billion respectively. To put those numbers into perspective, the richest living American, Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard during his sophomore year, has an estimated net worth of just $65 billion.

Read More: Don’t Pick The Wrong Major

44 thoughts on “Careers That An American Education Can Buy You”

  1. College loans are not ruining Americans. Americans who waste all their time in college smoking weed and playing xbox are ruining themselves.
    Ask yourselves, do you see Indian and Asian immigrants doing this kind of shit? Hell no. They do not feel entitled. They make the most of college to learn something valuable and get ahead. Do you see them bitching about college loans after they get hired making $100k with their engineering degree?
    There are tons of jobs for anyone who knows how to program a computer. Even mediocre programmers get hired. Almost every university and community college in the US offers Computer Science classes. If you don’t want to take them because they are hard, that is your problem. Someone from India or China who doesn’t have the same hangups as you do about putting in some time at the computer lab will take your place in the global pecking order and deservedly so.
    “Not just liberal arts majors mind you, but graduates with degrees in mathematics, robotics, neuroscience, engineering, accounting, business administration, economics, biology, communications, graphic design, marketing, and linguistics.”
    This part is total bullshit. He’s lumping in real majors (mathematics, robotics, engineering) with fluff majors like marketing and linguistics. The real majors will get jobs as long as they can do something practical. Even the fluff majors will get hired if they are at the top of their fluff field and they apply their social skills to something that is actually relevant (like software sales or marketing).
    Making money and building a career is not much different from game. You have to be willing to put in the work and make sacrifices.
    The Carnegies who don’t go to college and get rich are one in a million and that was 100 years ago. Bill Gates went to Harvard, where he learned computer science made his contacts before dropping out. His dad also had $100 million. Bill Gates did not exactly pull himself up by his bootstraps.
    Obama is right that if you don’t go to college you will probably be fucked. The only thing wrong with that statement is that it’s not complete. If you don’t go to college and learn something useful like programming or bioengineering, you will probably be of no use to society and you’ll be treated accordingly.
    Sure you can still get rich with a high school education but you’re going to have to work 10 times harder to make it happen. Yeah maybe you can start a business cleaning swimming pools or selling sports cars to the guys who get engineering and business degrees.

    1. Well,I agree guys MUST get real degrees like engineering law or be doctors to make good money. if you can’t do science, your screwed.
      Some loser with an ‘art’ degree is as useless as his diploma. guys, GET good degrees!!

      1. If they don’t get screwed by you, why should they care?
        Rewards are a motivation for success.
        Guys not getting rewarded – get tired of playing the donkey chasing after a suspended carrot.

  2. “There are tons of jobs for anyone who knows how to program a computer. Even mediocre programmers get hired.”
    That is an absolutely ridiculous statement. Unless maybe you are talking about jobs in Bangalore. It is virtually impossible to get an IT job in the US no matter how skilled you are. Maybe a few recent college grads are getting hired, but for anyone in the mid- or late career stage, forget it.

    1. I work for a mid-sized startup and it is extremely difficult to find the talent needed to support our systems. Even after making several attempts at the local universities to recruit, not enough people are applying. If you know how to program are actively learning to become a developer, college degree or not, you could easily find a company looking for skills.

  3. dude i worked with a guy who was a former meth addict and white trash blue collar worker. he was mid thirties, did rehab, took some web development classes at his local community college and after a few years of hard work he was making over 100k doing web programming. he was not a genius, just an average guy who got focused. this is in california, not bangalore.
    guys who complain that there are no jobs are just like AFCs who go to the club once a month and complain there are no hot girls. they are out there. jobs are no different. you just have to step up your game and make more approaches.

  4. It is all supply and demand, the majors from those people simple dont have enough demand to get everyone working on their fields. If there are 100 lib arts graduates for each engineer then some of those will definitely end up having to work in a strip club…

  5. To the first commenter: every single thing you wrote was just a boring, oft repeated tired platitude. It reads like someone who thinks value of hard work= money, and is priced accordingly. This just ain’t the 1950s man.
    no, the fact is, a number of my colleagues (all STEM subject fields) and programmers have an insane level of difficulty getting work nowadays. because a) people are not hiring b) so long as the number of job openings are low and applicants are high, people are going to be out of work.
    Productivity and technology jumps have done a huge amount for our society but it comes at the expense of jobs. Low paid and menial jobs are outsourced to foreign workers abroad, who take advantage of exchange rates differences (ofcourse it’s not all cookies and cream, they work incredibly incredibly hard) and work in Richer countries.
    I’m based in the UK. i have to compete with fucking highschoolers to even stand a chance of the low skill jobs in my area. why? because my discipline, being highly technical, limits me to a few areas of the country (zero social life, more sheep than anything else) so i try to get work near by. The younger highschool idiots get the work because their minimum wage is lower and bosses fear i am a flight risk (run as soon as better jobs come along) so don’t offer me anything medium to upper managerial.
    Catch fucking 22. and i’m in £30k of debt. for what? unemployment? i could have got unemployment for free.
    No i agree with peter schiff, in a lot of ways, but the tired one about indians/chinese guys getting all the jobs because they work harder is bullshit. there arent enough jobs, jobs are being outsourced. there is a tuition fee debt bubble, and people were sold a lot of bullshit about how important university/college is towards getting a job.
    hard work is a secondary factor, not primary. in fact, the only friends of mine who have actually got work have done so, through smarts and ‘game’. essentially, gaming friends employees etc of the place of work and back dooring it that way.
    there are a TON of hard working poor as chumps in the world man, the greatest trick corporations/ big government ever played was making people think everyone was equal. “Sure you’re all lottery winners! you just haven’t won yet” This mentality, kills any hope of escaping the real problems that exist in the system and in life.
    There are a fuckton more losers in this world then there are winners. and if you think that difference is to do with elbow grease and hard work, either you are a victim of survivor bias, or painfully blind to the realities of life.

    1. College is a waste of time and money. My honors literature teacher told me that while I was in college. After I graduated with a useless English/Journalism degree, I found a real job and worked hard.
      I make well over 100k a year. I would be making more if I had not wastes time in college. Learn a trade, jobs are everywhere. Hard work and dedication mean a shit ton more than a college degree. I’m an electrician. I make 30 dollars an hour with unlimited overtime.

  6. I work in software. It is nearly impossible to hire competent people. Like the guy said, $130K+ jobs are sitting there for the taking. If you don’t smell and can answer my three or four 101 level questions about algorithms, relational algebra, and why this code I wrote on the white board is blatently buggy, then you are hired for at least $85K. BTW, actual compsci grads from top thirty schools often fail to run this guantlet, even though I’d say anyone of decent intelligence could apply themselves and be ready in a couple years. It doesn’t really require a full undergrad degree.
    Single guys are marching into HR and saying they’re burned out and want to take four months unpaid leave to travel. Guess what: they get it, because replacing them would be impossible.
    How long this lucrative job market will last I don’t know, but experiencing it as I do I am rather short on sympathy for the un/under-employed. There is tons of work and salaries are high. People just refuse to apply themselves and learn the skills, which to be fair involves sitting alone and slightly frustrated with compilers and books for hundreds of hours, but that’s the price of learning any worthwhile skill. I gather from various sources the situation is much the same in more physical industries. It is nearly impossible to get skilled machinists, for example.
    Hell, even stepping down to lower skilled positions I hear it’s almost impossible to score people who can reliably show up on time in most of America.

    1. You are completely correct about the more physical jobs. I work at an industrial plant. We have had a now hiring sign up for 3 years. We cannot get enough electricians, welders, millwrights, and mechanics. No college needed, just prove you have the skills. Chem plants, refineries, and paper mills all over the country have the same problem. No one to fill the positions. We all work extreme overtime because we are short handed. I want to punch any man who claims he cannot get a job.

  7. interesting. you mention that it doesn’t really take a full undergrad degree to become proficient at programming. may i ask what’s best to specialise in first, then next?
    i might have pretty strong opinions about the (british) job market, but i’m not aversed to picking up more skills.
    what languages are best to learn first then? in terms of a ROI (return on investment)?
    i’m guessing PHP right? what else?
    background: radiation physics, FORTRAN and c++ that’s about it

    1. Practical advice on how to get into the programming business for someone without a bachelors in CS:
      1) Spend at least six months doing classes. A year or even two might be good but you might be able to get going after six months. University extension, community college, online, whatever works for you but learn the fundamentals of comp sci and programming. Data structures are essential. Basic algorithms, database, networking and operating system fundamentals are good to know.
      2) Now you should be ready to head in a more practical direction and dip your feet in the water. The two most accessible fields are phone/tablet applications, and web applications. Just take a stab, there is no wrong decision here because if you learn how to code in one area it’s not that hard to change.
      3) Build a demo project for yourself or someone with a business. Make a simple iphone app or website. Do it for free if you have to. The goal here is to have something up that demonstrates your skill, commitment and gives you some working experience.
      4) Now you can start seriously hammering away at job postings. It will be an uphill battle to get your first paid gig but don’t give up. For your first gig, look for a contracting opportunity. Not many people will want to take the risk of giving you a full-time position at this point. If you keep pounding away at every job that gets posted somebody will hire you. Don’t let rejections phase you, they are inevitable.
      5) Network with other programmers for sure. That is one of the best ways to get hired.
      6) Recommended languages. Objective C for iphone, Ruby javascript html and css for web apps, Java for Android and web server-side and enterprise, Python, C# for microsoft niche apps. You won’t have time to master all of them, just do one or two.
      In some cases, a programmer with weaker skills and experience can actually be in more demand. I know this because I had a manager who habitually hired people without deep backgrounds because he knew they would stay loyal and carry out the grunt work that had to be done without complaining about it.
      To pass programming interviews, read “Programming Interviews Exposed” and do all of the puzzles there. Don’t attempt this until you’ve done some coursework.

  8. @trs
    interesting. though i may have strong opinions on (british) jobs market but on a personal level i’m not aversed to learning more skills.
    you mentioned that it takes about 2 years to become proficient at a level equivalent to undergraduate to get started in software development,
    what would be the best languages to get started with then?
    my background: Nuclear physics: FORTRAN and C++
    what should i start off withfirst , php?

  9. Easy solution, stop subsidizing loans, subsidize the actual cost of tuition itself like they do in the rest of the developed world. In Australia you can do a Medicine degree at a number 1 university and pay only $9,000 a year (Arts, Science and other degrees are more like $5k) which you can take out an interest-free inflation adjusting loan for that the government doesn’t start taking it out of your paycheck till you work full time and make over a certain threshold year. The system works extremely well because the private university sector is virtually non-existent and the (Federal, not the state) government is heavily involved in the entire process.
    Meanwhile, non-New Zealand international students have no government involvement in their tuition. They are subject to market forces and pay many many times the amount of domestic students and not even have the option to take out a loan. It almost seems like the U.S government isn’t looking out for the best interests of students but is purposely trying to make your universities as rich as possible.
    The only way to fix your mess is to rethink your entire tertiary education system from scratch and model it after systems that work. Hell, in some parts of Europe university is 100% free and the government has no problem being able to afford that. The fact that you actually have to take out a commercial loan in the first place to pay for your education in America is ridiculous.

    1. The US has most of the top universities because here the government doesn’t run the good ones or directly control the purse strings. If the American government directly subsidized tuition I assure you that curriculums would wind up super dumbed down and even more politically manipulated than they are now. That’s what happened to lots of formerly great schools in the UK.
      The subsidization of loans is a problem. Directly subsidizing tuition would be an even worse problem. By the way, that already happens to some extent in the US by way of Pell Grants. It’s supposed to be grant money for poor kids to attend college. In practice it’s “pretend to attend some BS school and cash checks checks a for a few years” money. That would just happen at a much larger scale if the scheme were expanded.

        1. He said lots of formerly great schools in the UK, not all. The US also has an incredible amount of top tier universities, most of which are private.

        2. Okay, so which top end U.K universities are dumbed down? LSE? Kings College? Warwick? St Andews? UCL?
          Yes they’re private, but keep in mind it is 6 times more populous than England and University Rankings are skewed towards towards English speaking universities. Not to mention Ivy League universities have less students on average then their equivalents overseas, so of course America will have more of them. The fact of the matter is that students in other Western countries have it much much better than American students do. A year at Oxford is less than half the cost then a year at Harvard, and that’s before other living costs are even taken into account. They must be doing something right that you’re not.
          I’d like to see some actual evidence for your assertion that government tuition subsidies dumb down their curriculum at the top end, or really any end. In Australia international students are subject to market forces and not only pay astronomical fees, but they have much easier entry requirements then domestics because the Universities have a profit motive to have as many of them as possible. The market is actually what’s dumbing down our universities here.

        3. For some reason I can’t reply to your post again so hopefully this will go under. I’m not trs, I don’t know much about UK universities. I was just pointing out that he said some, not all. FWIW, a lot of the Ivies offer significantly reduced or waived tuition for low income students.

  10. “But trs, I don’t want to learn a skill! I shouldn’t have to, after all ‘I’m good with people,’ and I’m sure I’ll get a nice comfy job with a big leather chair as a PR director or something. In fact, screw your skills, I have charisma. Nerd!”
    Seriously, trs, great post and dead on about the state of the industry.

  11. I wonder how much of what we’re seeing is the result of men deliberately avoiding careers which lie within their grasp, which they know will be profitable, but which they see as not worth the discomfort and boredom. There are always a certain proportion of such men; but has it increased to a level where it’s actually making a significant change in society?
    I don’t know if there have been any good studies asking the right questions, but there are hints. From a recent news story:

    According to Pew Research Center, the share of women ages eighteen to thirty-four that say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.

    Insofar as marriage is a reason for men to be more conventionally ambitious, there must have been a corresponding drop in ambition of the sort which pushes men to seek lucrative but boring careers.
    Roosh himself is a good example. He dropped out of a STEM-type career to pursue a much less profitable, but more personally rewarding path. I don’t know if his publishing career has yet become as lucrative as his old job, but it seems very likely that only the worst luck and financial circumstances would even make him CONSIDER going back to something in his old field.
    I wonder why all those Asians are so willing to practically kill themselves with hard study and overwork at unpleasant but high-paying jobs? I guess they find it all worthwhile. Bully for them.

  12. STEM is a broad category, you can’t just lump all the jobs in together. If you’re competent, software is not unpleasant. Life is particularly good if you work in a technology focused company instead of being in a support role at a non-tech shop. As brought up earlier, great perks and high salaries are there for the taking. Solid engineers have options (sound familiar game guys?) so companies go out of their way to court them. Oh, and if you really hate “working for the man” you can try your hands at start ups with the skills you build. Really, it’s a win/win.

  13. I have to echo what others are saying about software engineering.
    I worked a decade as a manager of a group of software engineers in Silicon Valley. I met and interviewed a thousand or more people. I made close to 100 job offers and perhaps hired thirty people over the years.
    It’s impossible to find competent people. Lots $130K a year jobs are just sitting there unfilled.
    I have no idea what people are talking about when they say there is a bad economy and there are no jobs. It’s just contrary to my personal experience.

  14. Sorry, trs, greenlander, [email protected]:40– I’m still not buying it. I have a Master’s in mathematics from a top university, 10+ years of software development experience, and other professional skills that are said to be in high demand, yet I recently took 16 months to find a full-time job. My search encompassed most of the Northeast US and several other regions as well.
    Either a) these $130K jobs of which you speak require 17 hour days, and/or are otherwise unbearable situations, such that everyone burns out after a month, or b) your definition of competent means someone who on day 1 knows all the undocumented quirks of your company’s proprietary system, without any training. Absent these factors, your claims of inability to find people in an economy with 20% real unemployment cannot be taken seriously. If you genuinely need help you can figure out a way to get it– there’s no need for jobs to remain unfilled.


      “Another coworker that was a project lead at Google Maps, left for the East Coast after his contract ended, and was recently contacted by an Apple recruiter. The position sounds like a product development manager position, and will pay him $85k+ and all the moving expenses from the East Coast.”
      Considering that Apple and Google are the ones that are said to pay top dollar, can anyone volunteer the name of those people paying $130k+/year?

      1. That *has* to be a non-technical position or for a remote location where salaries are low.
        The standard offer for new college graduates with a BS degree where I work is about $90K. This is guys with no experience or only internships.

      2. So an experienced person, makes only 45% more than a fresh hire?
        (130+K vs 90+K)
        Considering the years it takes to reach that point, it’s a ripoff per unit of time.
        On the flip side, it’s usually managers (without technical backgrounds) that are paid plenty. Says a lot about “valuing technical people”.
        e.g Leo Apotheker, Carly Fiorina, Eckhardt Pfeiffer

        1. That is true. There is a sharp plateau effect. If you’re elite you can get up to $200k with stocks and bonuses but most people start topping out around $150k.
          If you want to make more then your options at that point are to found a startup or weasel your way into management.
          Or just ride the gravy train. As you get better at your job you can work less, telecommute, negotiate for unpaid leave or quit and do contracting, while still enjoying a mid 100k pay level.

        2. That is a good point about how much easier the work gets as you gain experience. When I was green I had to burn the midnight oil to get some difficult stuff done, and in retrospect the end product was mediocre. Now I can often “work” a mere handful of hours in a week and get paid a lot more, while producing a much superior product. One stops making those time consuming dumb mistakes or flawed designs.
          There probably aren’t very many professions where this dynamic comes into play to so great an extent, outside of the arts. It’s not like a surgeon or lawyer with eight years of experience can easily find ways to start putting in fewer hours.

    2. I was in your shoes too for a while… I seemed to be an “in-demand” guy yet I couldn’t get a decent offer on the table to save my life. I don’t know what exactly did it but over a year I went to a lot of different interviews and started experimenting with different ways of framing my experience, also prepped like mad on the typical interview questions like sorting, linked lists, etc, and eventually got several good competing offers. Persistence
      1) Having more experience can make it more difficult to find a new opening at your level. Depending on how you frame it, your experience can pigeon-hole you out of a lot of jobs if you’re too specialized, or it can make you look like a jerk off if you don’t have any specialties. You must absolutely figure out how to give them a coherent simple package that fits what they are looking for. Sometimes you have to take a gamble and just guess.
      2) Did you try Bay Area, Seattle, Austin? I don’t know of many programmers going East these days, but it’s definitely still booming in California.
      3) Networking is very important. I’ve noticed that the interview you get when you cold approach an employer is very different from the interview you get when you come in recommended.

  15. As always in the manosphere there is a bit of extremism in the commentary. All of you are correct to some degree and it depends on region and industry.
    I struggled for years to get out of “software engineering” to escape the low character of the people who generally inhabit that occupation. Took some online grad classes in a physics discipline and slowly eked my way into marketing and sales while applying my software skills to the work I brought in. My geographic area has historically low job opportunities compared to other regions but I am pulling in $90K while working at home most of the time. Key to my success was winning a SBIR grant which gives me a lot of street cred when approaching companies to do business development. Also picked up 3D modeling so I could illustrate my proposals and that skill has paid off handsomely. In fact, 2 things have proven high payoff for the work I put into it : making business connections and 3D modeling of product concepts. For an older guy who got laid off from Encorpera on his 50th birthday and according to conventional wisdom should be living under a bridge I have done allright, in fact, life is pretty good working my part-time gig and enjoying my foreign bride.
    I codified some of my tactics in Employment Game :

    1. I can understand that thinking, Uncle Elmer.
      One of the main reasons why the requirements for STEM graduates for employment have risen rapidly, is because the managers they work under have 2 strategies they use to gain business (these managers usually have MBAs and no technical ability whatsoever):
      1. Lie about the capabilities of a system, make promises they can’t keep to the client, and depend on the staff to carry them out … in other words, staff slave away so that the manager gets the glory (For your information over 70% of projects fail, because the person in charge … doesn’t have the technical background to propose a solution … but does anyway (risk-taking, grandiose ambition, glib charm, “fake it till you make it” – traits of a psychopath))
      2. Use staff qualifications as a means of showing “these are the members of my team, can the other guys’ compare?” so that they have a bigger e-penis when it comes to tenders
      Again, the managers are the ones reaping big bucks and playing politics. One reason why there is now a shortage of grunts, is because the same grunts are realising that management is only planning on using them for their own advancement, underpaying and overworking them in all ways … not because the grunt can build a career at that company.
      I can understand your butthurt at the software engineers “not sharing”, but if it was that easy to do so, why did they have to attend university for so many years – and why do you feel entitled to learn what they know, over the span of a few days, if not hours?
      I don’t demand that KFC tells me what their secret sauce is, so how are you entitled to that knowledge – which you have no background in?
      P.S. Even a dog can earn a M(asters in) B(usiness) A(dministration). Some people try to show that because of that qualification, they are better than degree holders in the hard sciences. Keep dreaming.
      Here is a list of universities that have awarded fraudulent qualifications:
      – University of Rockhampton (non-existent)
      – Harvey International University (non-existent)
      – Cannington Brook University (non-existent)
      – Glastonbury University
      – Charles Molnar University
      – Preston University
      – Dublin Metropolitan University
      – Irish International University
      – Connaught University
      – Pacific Western University
      – American Northeast State University
      – Western University
      – European University
      – Hill University
      – Rochville University
      – Buxton University
      – Paramount University of Technology
      – Newport University
      – Kensington University
      – European Business School Cambridge of European Union
      – North West London University
      (I wonder which one of those Scott Thompson attended?)
      Remember, in school a teacher gets respect … because they know the material,
      Why should a manager get respect … if they cannot do the job of their subordinates?
      Unless of course, they are trying to AMOG the Beta guys … who are now waking up in numbers, and spoiling that plan …

      1. Ray, the online classes I took were grad level physics at a well-known university. I competed with the very well prepared on-site students who and struggled to keep up. As for software engineers I did that for decades and was fairly fed up with some of the problems you mention as well as the generally petty behavior of my co-workers. So I migrated into a similar technology area but got away from pure software development. Key transition was bringing in projects vs merely being hired to work on one. And I am not reaping in big bucks but more helping a startup define its products and market them.

  16. Guys, just move to Norway/Sweden/Denmark and collect welfare. It’s amazing, you can get bulked up, do all the reading you want and collect dozens of flags while sending mad doolah home because of the sick exchange rate.

    1. Right, It sounds quite easy, huh?
      An aquaintance of mine went to study there, it’s quite a headache to obtain a student visa, I dare you to get a working visa (or residence visa) without being a highly-skilled worker.

  17. saw this video about a week o two ago. Made we feel a little bit better for not having a job since at least i’m not working some shitty dead-end job.

  18. The next credit bubble in the US is the Student Loan one.
    Delinquencies are soaring as kids are graduating with $50k in debt and having to move back in with their parents to work at Wal Mart because they could not land one of the “promised” white collar jobs. All the while the University keeps increasing tuition to build a new stadium for their football team, which they try to leverage into more donations from their Alumni network. Make no mistake, higher education is a business in the US. I have a daughter and I plan to offer her either college money or the capital to start her own business. She will probably crash and burn but she will learn much more than she would getting some worthless slip of paper from a degree factory.

  19. There’s certainly no shortage of competition in higher education, so I’m not sure where the idea of more competition will be enough.

  20. I’ve been preaching this message for over a decade now. Wrote a book about making your own way. That’s what I did.
    After fumbling around in college for a couple years, feeling like I was wasting my time, I dropped out. There wasn’t much I was learning I could learn from a book — and that’s exactlyl what I did to ACE some of my Electrical Engineering classes. It pissed off those slackers who faithfully attended every lecture and did their homework that some enigma could come in and blow the curve. If I could find a good Schaum’s outline on the subject, I was golden.
    However, the world is Darwinian in some ways, and I ditched the whole EE thing for software — self taught, starting in high school with Trash 80’s (I just dated myself if you know what those are). I’ve parlayed my skills, knowledge and experience to accomplish great things. I ended my SW career in 2003 making nearly $200K a year as a consultant. Again, self-taught and self-made. I survived the dot com bust and actually did fantastic in the years where my colleagues struggled to keep and find jobs. They had degrees, both undergrad and some graduate. I had common sense and a get it done attitude. When I lacked something, I went out and got that skill or experience to keep myself marketable. No college or university ever taught me to do that. I just figured it out.
    I’ve worked for some very prominent fortune 500 companies, and some small software companies. I’ve had six-figure W2 jobs and contract jobs. I’ve created my own six-figure jobs that didn’t exist before by identifying a need in a company and selling them the solution, with me as the guy to get it done.
    Success is not about a degree. It’s very much like game. Some guys think they’ll get girls because of what they have over the quality of their game. Some guys think they’ll get job because of their great academic accomplishments, rather on getting a company or client all “wet” about how good you are by building attraction and closing the deal.
    You guys who are struggling are just a 10 minute meeting away from success!

  21. I think It would be useful to illustrate how we do things in Mexico:
    First of all, most of the families want to get their children to go to college/universities. Here, having a degree is often seen as the panacea for earning money and success. If you drop off from college, you are often seen as a loser who will work in telemarketing, retail sales or driving a bus (no disrespect for the drivers…).
    Second of all, the biggest and most important universities are funded by the government. Examples such as the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), the IPN (National Politechnical Institute), the UAM (Metropolitan University of Mexico) and numerous colleges in each state.
    Third: It takes hard work to earn a place in those universities -by means of admission exams-, but then you will almost pay nothing to study (I paid about 20 USD per SEMESTER. On the other hand, in the UNAM they charge 50 cents of mexican peso per semester), Only the people going to private schools ever get into debt. STAYING and COMPLETING your degree in public universities is hard. As a teacher told us: “Students who don’t work hard and do well in school are most often the ones who will drive taxis tomorrow”.
    Fourth: Overall, the wages are low -much lower than anything in the US-, but the highest paying ones are -as usual- the electrical/chemical/telecommunications engineering jobs. Medical students also do well.
    Now, I’m gaining experience and saving money to go abroad, Norway has lots of industries paying fortunes to young engineers, and norwegian hotties wanting a latino to dance salsa and learn spanish.
    If you have a reasonable question, I may answer it tomorrow.

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