Articles

Go Beyond Books and Exams

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Introduction

After graduation, you are over the moon and filled with joy. Five years later you want to rip up that paper or burn it. It’s a hard world.

By all accounts, we have many colleges that are decent around the world. You get in, choose the subjects you like, gain knowledge, and leave being career prepared.

This is the reason many individuals choose to go to college, regardless of financial costs. But not all types of education programs can be considered extremely valuable.

While there is a disadvantage of not having an advanced degree, there aren’t necessarily fool-proof advantages in having one.

What is needed in today’s world is workers that have the ability to learn quickly and continuously at pace with the dynamics of the workplace.

We speculate that you have experienced firsthand the difficulties that graduates face when entering the job market. You have witnessed the disappointments that organizations express when managing them. Many employers lament the time and the skills that they often have to invest to get graduates up to speed.

At the time of writing this, no reasonable option in contrast to colleges has yet risen. There are no clear strategies for transforming higher education, and the challenges for those that go through the system are clear for all to see.

These are the reasons why, after college, experience-focused career training would sometimes be better than advanced degrees.

 

Skills are needed, not titles

The industrialized world today has brought hundreds of professional fields. Despite the great potential for employment for most professionals, many are still out of work. There is a glaring skills mismatch in the job market.

For instance, the current U.S. joblessness rate is 8.4%, yet there are 7.4 million employment opportunities. A large portion of these positions, experts say, is unappealing to “overqualified” graduates.

A major reason, however, is that these positions need hands-on practical skills. These are hard to find in graduates that have gone through an exam-oriented college program.

And as the number of graduates continues to rise, there is little evidence to show how university qualifications translate to proficiency at work. Employers are perturbed. Young professionals present masters (and higher) qualifications, but they demonstrate minimal practical skills and job readiness when they are hired.

It is also evident that many individuals regularly end up in jobs that are not lined up with their training. Things get convoluted when we consider that future jobs will require a whole new range of skills and not what the current graduates have. Education, as we know, is fast getting outdated.

 

Graduates want growth, not titles

Currently, titles are all that many get after poring through books and passing exams. In the past, it used to be that after investing so much time and cash into an advanced degree, one finds work quickly. It used to be that one is guaranteed a promotion after masters or higher qualification.

Today, skills sell more than titles. The only sure way to get fast employment and a faster career progression is investing in skills enhancement. Current strategies that can help include internships and professional certifications, networking, and employer-sponsored job training.

As many as 40% of graduates today work in occupations that don’t need their qualifications. It is also improbable that students value the process of learning.

Education matters more than the qualification, and so many brilliant students have received the education and even dropped out before graduation. They went on to invent, create and put it into practice.

 

Professionals are getting less

The cost of degrees in the U.S. has gone through the roof. Costs have climbed 200% in the previous 20 years. Student debt has risen even more. Student debt has grown by 600%, arriving at an unsurpassed high of $1.4 trillion in America. Young professionals are being crushed under this burden, with some carrying a debts of over $500,000 or more from their higher education pursuits.

The best education and career advancement path after college should have a guaranteed ROI (right?). The costs should be less than the value. The value should be practical skills that improve learning and employability. If the program doesn’t meet these standards, then it’s a waste.

 

Incorrect expectations about college

Universities market themselves as a vehicle for career development, employability, and achievement. Students thus believe that an advanced degree is a guarantee to improve skills at work. This leads to high expectations that are not attainable.

Not every person can be an inventor, a CEO, or an exceptionally searched after I.T. guru. It is simply unrealistic for the system to give everybody their dream jobs. If your professional goals are greater than the available opportunities, and your self-perceived proficiency is far higher than what you can truly do, you will be a miserable employee.

 

Research is prioritized over teaching

Anyone that’s been through college can attest to that. The situation is worse in advanced degree programs. The quality of an institution and the value of a program today is evaluated based on research and not how well the subject matter is taught.

In many top schools, traditional teaching is almost viewed as a stumbling block to research funding and accolades. Professors spend most of their time publishing, not teaching.

Until the whole higher education system recognizes the classroom’s value over the research lab, the skills gap in the job market will persist.

Research is the vehicle for innovation and advancement, and this explains why top colleges emphasize it. However, it ought not to be a reason to disregard the real education offered to students and the crucial task of preparing them for the real world.

 

Reinforcing inequality

The richer you are, the more likely you will get a master’s or doctorate. Therefore, top school graduates could have an unfair advantage over underprivileged professionals in the career world because their wealth enables them to get more out of life. The current college admission scandal in the U.S. tells it all. Wealthy families buy their way to ivy league schools and, after that, into top jobs.

Education should be of value to everyone that goes through it. That’s why after college, a professional certification would be very valuable. It is cheaper and more skills-oriented than an advanced degree. Radical changes are required in the education system!

 

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