Phi Beta Cons

College Oversold, but Some Aren’t Buying

The Guardian published a fascinating piece on April 12 entitled “High-achieving students sailing through life without a degree.” The writer interviewed several excellent students who have gone straight into the workforce and are doing well without a college degree. Jamie Ponting, for example, at 19 decided against a university education (and 30,000 pounds of debt) to go to work full time for a firm where he had done a summer internship.

Another student, Katy Pascoe, went to work for a firm that builds yachts. Katy thinks she has excellent prospects with the firm if she successfully completes her internship, which for the first year included classroom learning. There’s a strong motivation!

The article also mentions a survey of university students showing that two-thirds do not believe they will find work relating to their degree, and a fourth saying that they think they’d have been better off with an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.

Would young people like those be any more productive if they had first spent years and lots of money to earn a college degree? I don’t think that case can be made.

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


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