Still Believing the College Hype


A recent op-ed in Chronicle of Higher Education claims that a bachelor’s degree isn’t as important as we make it out to be. Career counselor Marty Nemko deconstructs the undergraduate experience through an exercise in cost-analysis, and comes to the conclusion that too many of us spend thousands of dollars on a so-called “product” that provides relatively little value. In other words, what’s all the fuss about?

The past advantage of college graduates in the job market is eroding. Ever more students attend college at the same time as ever more employers are automating and sending overshore ever more profession jobs, and hiring part-time workers. Many college graduates are forced to take some very nonprofessional positions, such as driving a truck or tending bar.

Well, thank you for your opinion Mr. Nemko, but excuse me while I go ahead and respectfully disagree with your absurdist proclamation disguised as an economics lecture. Given, to varying degrees, we all struggle with the hefty price-tag of college and deal with lackluster professors that care more about their research than their students, but that isn’t reason enough to shelf college into the “overrated” category.

It seems a bit problematic to overlook the intangibles of the college experience. For some that might be the infamous dorm experience; for others, it could be a semester studying abroad. Pardon the cliché, but college is what you make it (Jeez, I might have unconsciously stole that line from an admission’s brochure). Quantifying the undergraduate experience doesn’t give due credit to the graduate as an individual.

In terms of dollars and sense, college is a headache. But it’s still worth it.

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