The Corner

Education

Students: College Shouldn’t Be Your Default Now

How much economic upheaval will COVID-19 cause? Nobody knows at this point. What the labor market will look like in a year or more is subject to enormous conjecture. And that being the case, the way most young Americans used to treat going to college — as the only conceivable option — should change.

In today’s Martin Center article, Chloe Anagnos argues that it makes sense for them, whether they’ve already graduated, were in college when COVID-19 hit, or are still in high school, to look for work and training options that will give them immediate benefits. Laying out lots of money for college courses that might never pay off is a bad idea.

Anagnos points to numerous alternatives to enrolling in a college or university now:

LinkedInGoogle, and Hubspotfor example, have a mix of paid and free courses you can take that will make you more employable. From software development to basic digital tool training, those online classes offer students and recent grads a golden opportunity to stay relevant.

By earning valuable marketing certificates and a variety of important skills such as video and social media marketing, SEO, public relations, branding, Google and Facebook advertising, proficiency in Google Analytics, and content drafting, you will be much more competitive when the labor market warms up again.

At this time, it makes sense to put actual work experience on your resume rather than biding your time (and spending your money) for college, Anagnos argues. The best approach to our uncertain future is to adopt a “craftsman mindset.”

She concludes:

At the end of the day, employers will feel much more compelled to hire people who have put their time to good use during the lockdown by working instead of simply waiting or getting deeper in the red for a degree that might not make a huge difference.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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