A few bloggers have recently discussed college education. They, like me, seem dubious of the benefits. OneSTDV thinks it a bubble and a racket (but does offer advice), Ferdinand agrees.
[Update: Sept 10, 2010 Φ (Academy Watch) and Whiskey also have posts I did not orginally list]
I too have long thought college education was an expensive chore foisted on most people as a necessary condition of finding reasonable employment. So how do we change that? I have a plan. [Oh Oh!]
I believe that the majority of jobs should not need a four-year degree. Most require some on-the-job training but not a bachelor’s degree (or heaven forefend the now sometimes-sought master’s degree). In fact, most new graduates will still need on-the-job training when they take up their first post.
I suspect that reason employers demand such qualifications is that they act as a type of aptitude test. If you can complete college, you can probably fill the demands of the role. Four years is a very long, and expensive, aptitude test.
To gain admittance to a college you need to perform an aptitude test. That test usually one of the SAT or the ACT. Success on those tests supposedly predicts the potential for success at college.
My question is: why not cut out the middleman? If the SAT and ACT predict likely college success, and college success predicts likely job success, why not use the test scores themselves to make employment decisions. Why force students into a four-year, six-figure expense when you can just use the 3-hour and fifty dollar version.
Instead of presenting their four-year degree, a candidate would present their SAT or ACT score. That score would indicate that the person was capable of college. It is often the ability to complete college, and not necessarily the specific education, that the employer is looking for (the qualification is not always in a related field).
Employees no longer saddled which huge debts could afford to take a lower wage. They would have four more years of productive life. Employees would get capable employees four-years earlier than before. They would have a larger pool of potential candidates, as many capable of college cannot afford the time or money. There is no extra risk, as a successful student may not be a successful employee. It is not even clear that those extra four years add greatly to maturity, so the smart high-schooler may be no less mature than the college graduate.