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RainCloud
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PostSubject: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:27 pm

It means that I'm now qualified to learn the real material. Or at least, I will be in May. Its very frustrating to know that I just worked for four years and then have everyone I'm trying to get a job with say "You don't have the education we are looking for. Sorry." Academic advising says that no one has ever been refused a job because they have just a bachelor's degree.

Its just so sad to me, that the bachelor's degree means almost nothing anymore. Is it because too many people are metriculating? Or is it just because employers are requiring higher levels of education to set you apart? Could this mean there will be a time where a doctorate will mean very little?
And most depressing: is there anything we can do?

Just the thoughts of a sad college senior who can't find a job for her International Studies degree lol
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drefan72
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:10 pm

Unfortunately in today's job market, hiring managers are writing specific job requirements and then won't deviate from that. If they see something that is not what they are looking for, they won't bring anyone in. They don't want to pay to train you for the job you will have after theirs, they'd rather someone else pay for it and reap the benefits of that training. It's a sad fact of life for job seekers today.
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RainCloud
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:12 pm

That's so true x.x Right now, I'm having a hard time convincing people that I have management experience because I had an internship at a theatre company as a production manager. Apparently people think that's just a "theatre job" lol. And the budget cuts are not helping me get into the military x.x OCS is next to impossible to get into right now, without a Master's and work in the field. Or so I'm told...
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drefan72
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:11 pm

For what it's worth, I hear things may be picking up, so good luck in your job search
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rainshadow
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:31 pm

To have a bachelor's degrees pretty much means two different things: you're overqualified AND underqualified for about 99.9% of the country's jobs.

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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:05 pm

I don't mean to sound harsh but the bachelor degree by itself doesn't mean much. Employers are looking for the "right" majors from the "right" schools i.e. technical majors from the USNews top 50 (and top liberal arts) with 3.5+ GPAs. Those are the qualifications that are necessary for employers to take a newly minted graduate over people with more experience. The labor demand side has all the advantages right now.
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fogofwar
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:14 pm

BTW, having a PhD doesn't mean much either unless it is in certain fields. For instance, top Ivys have placements rates of under 50% for English PhDs.

http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2011/02/a_terrible_time_for_new_phds.html

There is also an over supply of PhDs from the hard sciences (in contrast to the under supply for bachelors). You have no idea how hard it is to get a tenure-track position at a tier 1 research university.
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RainCloud
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:00 am

That's not harsh at all, Fog. That's true. Even the Phd comment (which is sad :/). Just to give you an idea of why I'm so upset...I'm graduating with a 3.35 in International Studies from a pretty good International Studies school (not Ivy League but not totally obscure) and I can't find a use for it, except to get a Master's. Makes me glad I didn't get an English degree, or Theatre degree like my dad wanted(wants).

I know its hard to get tenure. That's partially because they give tenure to some teachers who don't deserve it, imo. Like, if the professor publishes a book or a big study, they are more likely to get tenure than if they actually do their job well. You'd think that would matter more.
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Calwyn
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:03 pm

I'm interested to see if there is a shift in what high school graduates choose as far as university and college programs go. Unless you're in a specialized program like science, engineering, technology, social work, archaeology, etc a bachelor's degree doesn't mean much of anything.

With my BA I know I can get an office job at an insurance company, or something like that. As long as the job does not require more specialized talents or training. But that's about it. If I want to be a teacher, I have to go to Teachers College; if I want to be an IT, I'll need to go to an IT program; if I want to be in a skilled trade, I'll have to go back to school and/or take an apprenticeship, and so on and so forth.

A lot of people my age have been talking about this, even going back maybe 5ish years before I graduated from university. I will be interested to see if in the coming years more people ignore universities and Arts programs, and instead apply to apprenticeships or specialized programs that offer more promise as far as immediate career opportunities goes.

If you think about it, BA's now are the equivalent of high school diploma's earlier in the century. If you graduated high school you could get a basic career job, work the 9 to 5 and earn a middle class salary. That's basically what a Bachelor of Arts degree does now. Meanwhile the more specialized programs now are what any university degree would get you in the same time frame.

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fogofwar
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:10 pm

RainCloud wrote:
I know its hard to get tenure. That's partially because they give tenure to some teachers who don't deserve it, imo. Like, if the professor publishes a book or a big study, they are more likely to get tenure than if they actually do their job well. You'd think that would matter more.

My point was that the job market is difficult for PhD's as well. For most disciplines, Harvard and MIT graduates alone could fill all the tenure-track openings in the top 50 research universities. That is why the faculty is amazing even in lower ranked colleges. Hard sciences PhDs will often have to do 2-3 postdocs for 2-3 years each just to land a tenure-track position. And they have it much better than Liberal Arts PhDs.

From the perspective of an undergrad it is hard to see why some professors get tenure. While undergrads think they should be the focus, they are generally of secondary or lower importance to active research professors. A good researcher can bring millions of dollars in grants to the university.

But overall, I would say that American undergrads are unprepared, lazy, entitled, and need to have their hand held. Professors are not innocent of course but college isn't like high school - no one is going to waste their time to walk you through the basics.

In my advisors upper-division finance class, the undergrads have trouble with basic algebra. My advisor is a great teacher but what is he to do? In high school students can't be left behind but college should not operate that way.


Last edited by fogofwar on Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:20 pm

Calwyn wrote:
I'm interested to see if there is a shift in what high school graduates choose as far as university and college programs go. Unless you're in a specialized program like science, engineering, technology, social work, archaeology, etc a bachelor's degree doesn't mean much of anything.

With my BA I know I can get an office job at an insurance company, or something like that. As long as the job does not require more specialized talents or training. But that's about it. If I want to be a teacher, I have to go to Teachers College; if I want to be an IT, I'll need to go to an IT program; if I want to be in a skilled trade, I'll have to go back to school and/or take an apprenticeship, and so on and so forth.

A lot of people my age have been talking about this, even going back maybe 5ish years before I graduated from university. I will be interested to see if in the coming years more people ignore universities and Arts programs, and instead apply to apprenticeships or specialized programs that offer more promise as far as immediate career opportunities goes.

If you think about it, BA's now are the equivalent of high school diploma's earlier in the century. If you graduated high school you could get a basic career job, work the 9 to 5 and earn a middle class salary. That's basically what a Bachelor of Arts degree does now. Meanwhile the more specialized programs now are what any university degree would get you in the same time frame.

I don't think there will be a general shift towards skilled trade. Those jobs will barely keep people in the middle-class.

However, college students will eventually choose more technical majors. We actually do see that at my university. We hired 10 economics professors in the last 2 years to satisfy the demand.

Overall there is a very differentiated job market even for students graduating from the same universities. Companies are competing for the best students with technical majors. Many of my friends still in college are receiving multiple job offers in the six figure range. While the liberal arts graduates generally find hourly jobs in retail after graduation.
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Calwyn
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:22 am

Not JUST skilled trades, any kind of program other than a basical Bachelor of Arts.

And I don't know if it's different in the US than here, but skilled trade workers (partially dependent on which trade specifically) are easily middle class with what they earn. They can be quite well off, upper middle class and higher, if they're really good at what they do.

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Dinwar
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:30 am

There are two problems with bacholer's degrees: Too many people have them, and the people that have them don't know what to do with them.

On the first count, used to be that having a college education was something somewhat special. Not everyone went to college--you had to strive for it, or be in a family that traditionally went. There was no such thing as someone going to college "just because", or at least very rarely: you either went to college because you needed to for your job, or because Mommy and Daddy said you were going to and they were paying the bills. Thus, the competition was limited. Fast forward to today, where EVERYONE has a degree (more or less), and you can start to see why merely having a degree is no longer going to give you a competitive edge. Yes, you have one. So does everyone else applying for your job.

On the second count, there's a devaluation of degrees when students cheat, or pass at a bare minimum, or the like. I worked my butt off in college. I went on every field trip I could (geology is a science you can't learn from books), volunteered with the collections and to help with research because I wanted hands-on experience, and kept a 3.9 GPA (stupid calculus class at 8 am...). My degree is worth precisely as much as the guy who drank himself out college for two semesters and graduated with a generic Bacholer's of the Arts in Business degree (not disparaging the business field, I'm just saying that at my alma matre business was more or less the default setting, where you went when you didn't have anything direction). My hard work in college made me very valuable in my current job (there's 3 of us in a multi-billion dollar, multinational corporation, so we're a bit difficult to replace), where as the guy I'm thinking of still hasn't found a job--but if you only look at our academic credentials, we're on perfectly equal footing.

And if you really want to lose what little faith in humanity you have left, look through some undergrad essays. I know my writing skills weren't that good 9 years ago, but I've seen 7th graders that can write better than most college students I've graded. Seriously, they couldn't put their thoughts into coherent sentences. I more than once counted a question wrong because it simply wasn't intelligible. And these people are getting degrees.

I'm not saying that you're a bad person, RainCloud. But there are bad people out there, and they're screwing you over.
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drefan72
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:49 am

It is sad that a bachelor's degree doesn't carry the same weight it used to. However, as long as the people doing the hiring keep asking for one, people are going to continue to get them. One issue I have with getting a bachelor's degree, even though I am going to have one in less than 2 months, is the schools really don't tailor them to specifics anymore. I'm getting mine in Management Information Systems, and at the school I am in, I have taken one management course and three IT courses(I transferred a bunch of IT courses in) and the rest has been general education, things that will do me absolutely no good as an IT Manager. We have course/teacher evals at the end of each course and for every one, I've put the same thing on them.

Until or unless colleges and universities change what is required for a degree, students are going to be unprepared for what the real world has to offer. In my opinion, if one is majoring in MIS for instance, the course load should have almost all if not all IT related courses, same for other majors. There is no need for a general education core as they call it. Biology, sociology, religion, and classes like that play no part in my career path, and I don't have a need for them. I often wonder if schools require them just to make money off their students.
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:05 pm

A Bachelor's degree is the stepping stone of "basics" into a Master's Degree, unless you do attend a high caliber school that has research assistant positions or coop experience in your field of interest and you are capable saturating your free time with experience in these opportunities. Many of those opportunities are highly competitive, and if you cannot drive yourself to it, you fall behind.

I just finished my MBA in Management Information Systems this year from a college that hires adjunct professors (read people who WORK in the field and have a proven professional track record). Every one of my finance, economic, and business instructors said the same thing: The job market is changing, and it's because of international economic pressures. We don't live in a world where each country is self-sustained any more, if we ever did.

A degree in International Studies would be extensively valuable if you were to augment it with an MBA or MS in Global Logistics because that is where industry is starving for brilliance.
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RainCloud
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PostSubject: Re: I know what a bachelor's degree means...   Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:37 pm

Thank you for that advice, omni Smile I'll look into it, although I've already been accepted into another Master's Program. Something less math heavy haha
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