Why are so many college students failing to gain job skills before graduation?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by luvmymbpr, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. luvmymbpr macrumors regular

    luvmymbpr

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    #1
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...-gain-job-skills-before-graduation/?tid=sm_fb

    I really believe that college in this country has been a joke for a long time. Other than that magical piece of paper every employer so desperately wants before they hire you, college is ridiculous and ineffective. The vast majority of degrees should be reshaped to 2yr degrees that focus intensely on the core requirements. In other words, computer degrees don't need adolescent development, film classes, or 18th century history.
     
  2. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #2
    Profit > Education

    Until this changes, nothing else will.
     
  3. luvmymbpr thread starter macrumors regular

    luvmymbpr

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    #3
    Totally agree. The costs are insane. What a great business to be in. Charge whatever you want, because the government guarantees your customers will have the money.
     
  4. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #4
    It's even effecting lower education. Funding for public schools is based on test scores, so instead of teaching things that can help, they are teaching what will be on the tests. It's a big cycle of crap.

    In my kids' district, they don't even teach actual writing any more. They expect kids coming into kindergarten to already know how. And if a child doesn't, the teachers just don't have the time in class to catch them up. I was lucky in that I was able to put my kids in a pre-pre K, and pre k (they had been in some type of school for years before kinder), but not everyone has the ability to do that.

    There are a lot of kids behind before they ever step foot in a school.
     
  5. TimelessOne macrumors regular

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    #5
    I can disagree on the history and other core requirements.
    Heck let's look at my computer science degree. Let's go threw that on what is not related. Yeah my 6 hours of history, I can give you my required humanity credit. All and all I could give you maybe 4-5 classes (1 semester worth) but a lot if the others build and pretty much directly relate.
    But in the core things that are needed in the real world like English, speech, basic math and science.

    There is at least a year worth of core just needed. I can even argue that those humanity credits are good just to make on more well rounded.
    Now we need to start finding public colleges better and they can easily start killing loans and grants that go to private school.
     
  6. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #6
    I think you could have gone "threw" some more core classes.

    And why would we target private schools? They often outperform the public institutions they compete with.

    My graduate school is private, the undergrad institution I went to was public. The undergrad institution also has a well regarded grad (medical) school but I met and interacted with enough of its students beforehand to know that it was too much of a malignant, full-of-itself, hell-hole to even apply.

    Now that I've rotated with students of said program in some of the local hospitals this year, I feel comfortable saying I got a better education at the private school.

    N=1 of course
     
  7. TimelessOne macrumors regular

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    #7
    Why target them. Let's see they more and government should not be putting in extra money on above what we pay state schools. For profit schools I say cut them completely off. Dollar for dollar they are less effective.
    If the school is not accredited no money.
    We have been cutting education in this country across the board. We need to put more into public education. Government money put into private schools in terms of grants and loans to the students is cap at what extra cost they would need to pay to go to public school in what they would need to pay for tuition and board.
     
  8. boast macrumors 65816

    boast

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    #8
    They need to create a bigger distinction between university and trade/technical schools.
     
  9. G4er? macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Public schools.

    My daughters both took AP and IB classes in high school and both received IB diplomas. To earn the International Baccalaureate diplomas you take tests and write essays that are graded outside of the US.
    Which means you are competing at the educational level of other countries.

    Our oldest graduated 5th in her class of about 500 students and our second graduated 7th in her class of about 475.

    And it wasn't all academics. Older one did theater and choir and younger did band and track. I think having those kinds of activities can help

    Oldest just graduated from college last December with a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering. It was an accelerated program that was supposed to take 5 years. She did it in 4 1/2. She did two paid summer internships. In 170 hours of classes she made all As except for two Bs. She made all As in her graduate classes.
    She is finalizing a six figure job offer.

    Younger just started college and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

    A big part of what you get out of an education is what you put into it.
    It isn't just the teachers. The other two thirds of the equation is the student and the parents.

    If it sounds like I'm bragging I apologize. They sure didn't get their smarts from me, it must have come from my wife. But I am proud of them.
     
  10. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #10
    They should outperform them. Especially if you're paying two or three times as much.

    I went to a private university as well, and even though I got a great education, I'm almost positive that more than half the classes I took in my final 2 years (including classes about classic films and musical theater) were absolutely not necessary to my degree in Criminal Justice. I took so many "entertaining" classes that my counselor actually asked if I had dreams of becoming an actress. I could have graduated in 2 years taking the essentials and classes for my major.

    It's hard to see "electives" as anything other than a money grab.
     
  11. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #11
    Law school is another scam. It should be one year. However, they add another two years just to milk the students.
     
  12. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #12
    Absolutely agree. The teachers can only do so much. It's imperative as parents that we hold ourselves responsible for the education of our children.
     
  13. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

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    #13
    They sound like fantastic kids, you should brag :)
     
  14. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Feel free to BRAG, having successful children, it's one of the really good aspects of being a parent or a grandparent.:)
     
  15. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #15
    From the linked article:

    What does a college degree give to a potential employer?

    Lets just start out with this: The ability to get through four years of post-high school education, shows - at the very least - a certain amount of grit and determination. Characteristics which are of prime importance for success in pretty much any endeavor you care to think of. Plus the ability to defer immediate gratification in the pursuit of long-term goals.

    The second one is, perhaps, a little problematical. Because an awful lot of businesses these days seems to be run on precisely the opposite basis: Screw long-term success; let's concentrate on making our quarterly numbers. If we have to slash and burn (employees, customers, quality) to do it - so what?

    To return to the quote: The reality is that Enterprise shouldn't be surprised that its college-athlete recruits aren't very good at problem-solving or decision making. Because those are skills that aren't taught in any school in the world. They aren't taught at West Point, or Harvard Business School. And they certainly aren't taught in the football (or track, or tennis, or wrestling) programs at any university.

    Problem-solving and decision making skills require two things that are essentially an anathema to both entry-level business jobs, and participation in big-time college athletics. They require a high-level of emotional intelligence. And they require a high level of intellectual creativity.

    Sorry Enterprise: But you're looking in the wrong place if thats what you want.
     
  16. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    To OP, it seems as though your recommendation of narrowing the university experience runs counter to the data and recommendations in the article you linked to.

    According to the bar graph, students don't know enough about the world we inhabit, aren't sensitive to diversity, don't have enough exposure to different cultures, and aren't sophisticated enough to cope with complex problems.

    More narrow degrees will only make university graduates less attractive to the workplace.

    As a former faculty member in the humanities who now hires in the private sector, a conversation an old colleague and I had rings more true, that is that universities should be more like finishing schools.

    Make students show up on time, learn to work in teams, give presentations often, make them dress up for presentations, make them turn things in on time, fail them from time to time to present obstacles, and generally get them to be functioning adults.

    I've interviewed some smart kids from top-tier universities, but they are boring, unprofessional, and too narrowly focused.
     
  17. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015

    jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #17
    "Ain't it awful!"

    The WP article cites a survey from "Hart Research Associates" that shows an employer's survey that can be summed up as "ain't it awful". Ain't it awful that 22 year olds aren't as well-developed as they think they are. "What a surprise."

    At the same time, one of the studies that was cited paints quite a different picture. The CLA+ study they cited:

    http://cae.org/images/uploads/pdf/CLA_National_Results_2013-14.pdf

    provides strong evidence that the Liberal Arts education is actually working. Tested students did grow significantly across all tested areas, and, the report concludes:

    I also disagree with your recommendation that only the technical training that one needs for a job should be required. The Liberal Arts aspect to a general university BA/BS degree is crucial towards developing those critical-thinking and communication skills.

    Cost is another matter. While the college education may be good for you, the debt is not. One change since I was in college is that today, college professors expect to be paid an upper-middle-class salary, while, when I was in college, the joy of teaching was the main reward expected. And upper-middle-class costs a lot in an increasingly unequal world.

    Over-emphasis on cheap standardized tests nowadays for sure.

    Because the only reason to go to law school is to pass the bar exam?

    I disagree 38.4%. Certain of these skills can be developed through a Liberal Arts program.
     
  18. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #18
    Thing is, I'm not paying two or three times as much. I'm paying about the same, maybe 20% more than I would at a state funded medical school.

    I know of another private medical school that's actually cheaper than my state's public school too.

    As for electives in undergrad. I'm not sure how I feel about this, I think I'm inclined to agree with you for the most part. I think a better option would be to assign "selectives" like I've had in medical school. For example, this year I had a surgery "selective" that I had to complete. This could be a rotation in any field related to surgery (I chose plastic surgery), I also had a pediatrics selective, again anything related to pediatrics. I couldn't go choosing some primary care rotation as my surgery selective for example.

    Perhaps your degree should have given you selectives, so you had freedom to hand pick your classes somewhat, as long as they related to your degree in some way.

    I do think branching out a bit is valuable. There's something to be said about being well rounded, it lends so much value to an employee IMO. I've been able to strike up conversations and really get through to patients because of things I learned in undergrad that were only peripherally related to my degree's area of focus. I did a public health degree in undergrad, but I took classes in Architecture, Pacific Island culture and history, Archaeology, anthropology, rock and roll history, greek mythology etc. I don't necessarily regret having to take those types of classes.
     
  19. luvmymbpr thread starter macrumors regular

    luvmymbpr

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    #19
    I disagree. In the 2 years they get back for finishing an accelerated degree of only core classes, they could work on their professional experience and etiquette in a real job. All the finishing classes in the world won't do as good of a job as the first 6 months of a real job.
     
  20. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #20
    There are two reasons for electives. First, many students enter college without a clear idea of what they want to learn about and electives allows them a chance to seek out new paths for coursework. Some students may come into school thinking they want to be an artist, but realize that urban planning is really interesting. Some students may enter to become biochemists, but discover they really like medicine, etc.

    Requiring an 18-year old kid to know exactly what she wants to do for her life, or even for a few years isn't all that realistic.

    Second, as the article notes "Enterprise, like many employers, still finds today’s college graduates severely lacking in some basic skills, particularly problem solving, decision making, and the ability to prioritize tasks." This is why we need a well-rounded education. Students go to college to learn how to think, how to approach and solve problems, etc.

    I know that many graduate programs like our journalism students because they've learned how to prioritize tasks, research a subject and write. They also know how to deal with multimedia which requires both creativity and non-linear thinking.

    A student in a fast-track program for IT doesn't get the wider education.

    Part of this is a discussion about what college should be, is it about classical education, learning a trade, or something else?

    This article also notes the larger problem in primary education.

    After 14 years, the NCLB act has created a generation of kids who can't work at Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

    I can't think of a better shorthand for talking about the failure of standards-based testing.
     
  21. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #21
    They probably have more job skills than their forefathers, the good paying jobs are what is missing.
     
  22. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Often, people who are hyper-focused on their exact career and knowledge of it, don't have a very well-rounded set of knowledge or skills outside of that. That's not a positive thing.

    I disagree that hyper-focusing education is the way to go, but there are different ways of doing it. For example, was 2/3 of a year (and 90% of my homework) reading historical novels really necessary for an (at the time) engineering major? There are extra classes that are beneficial but not related, and there are those that simply serve no purpose.
     
  23. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Jan 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015

    jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #23
    Back in the day, engineering students would always complain about having to take humanities classes. But, don't you think reading, and writing about what you read, might have made you a better reader and writer? And that is a skill that engineers need also.
     
  24. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Definitely agree that reading and writing is necessary, especially writing. But I'm not sure what benefit I got out of reading 60 pages of some 16th century English novel every night for six months, especially for a slow reader. Surely there were better things to read and write about.
     
  25. boast macrumors 65816

    boast

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    #25
    One would think, but based on the number of foreigners with terrible english at my company i dont think that is the case.
     

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