I just read an article about Peter Thiel and the education bubble. The article describes Thiel’s opinion on the education bubble:
Like the housing bubble, the education bubble is about security and insurance against the future. Both whisper a seductive promise into the ears of worried Americans: Do this and you will be safe.
As a recent college graduate, it doesn’t seem my very expensive BA has earned its keep. I constantly complain about the uselessness of my degree (if I could do it over again, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college) and it’s made even worse by the never ending mantra of my BA becoming a high school diploma; everyone is getting one, and we’re all going to need higher degrees to stay competitive. Bu twhat having a degree doesn’t prepare you for is work, which is what employers are looking for in prospective job applicants. During my four years of university, I probably had one or two group projects. And unlike some of my more successful, or invested peers I didn’t have any mentors, didn’t participate in any internships and definitely wasn’t involved in any real capacity while on campus.
The education bubble is equally frustrating because most students probably don’t even know they’re in one. Several of my peers wondered how they were going to use their majors, particularly those who felt it necessary to have double majors, or double minors. A common question became, “What are you going to do with that?” While the talk of grad school seemed innate to our situation; how else can we get a job if we don’t have a bunch of degrees and distinctions? And I often find myself particularly envious of those whose degrees (like Economics or Finance) practically guaranteed them a lucrative position after graduation (especially if they had internship experience).
Inevitably, the problem with the bubble is largely one of ignorance and denial. When I was applying to colleges, I hadn’t really a clue what I was doing or real concept of how one goes about paying for school. It’s ignorance because I lacked the forethough to educate myself, because others didn’t think there were any alternatives to college. It’s denial because the American education system is deeply rooted to cultural beliefs; that college helps a person advance in the world, that college is the life boat on the Titanic that is life. If you have a college degree, you’re going to be better off than the people who don’t. It’s denial because those truths don’t seem to be existing anymore as post-grad students like myself are suffocating from the debt (and their collectors), are worried that with such a large burden – how does one manage?
The bubble needs to be popped so that if a high school student wants to go to college, they’ll go knowing informed and hopefully able to pay for it.