4 Reasons Why College Degrees Are Still Critical for Job Seekers

There are plenty of practical and theoretical reasons to decide NOT to pursue a college degree right after high school. College has become a standard rite of passage for a middle-class teenager, but this doesn’t mean you need to drop thousands of dollars and four years of your life just to fit in with the crowd. A few decades ago, the decision was a no brainer: if you had the means and the ability, you were foolish not to pursue this route. Period. The benefits so dramatically outweighed the costs that college was seen as a universally desirable ticket to a better life. But the job market and the culture have changed since that time. And now, a growing number of young people aren’t so sure.This is a complicated issue, and compelling evidence is mounting on both sides of the decision to enroll or find an alternative. In a future blog, we’ll explore some of the reasons why college might not represent the golden doorway that it once did, back when tuition costs were lower, standards for learning institutions were higher, and degree holders were a rarer sight on the job market. For now, we’ll discuss the reasons why—despite these problems—college is still a wise bet for most young people.

1. Employers still request degrees for most professional jobs

Most intelligent employers don’t demand a perfect alignment between an open position and a candidate’s course of study. In other words, financial/marketing/business/etc. employers are usually happy to accept brilliant candidates who hold degrees in English/engineering/healthcare or any other field. These employers recognize that a degree represents several traits that have nothing to do with course specifics, for example: a strong work ethic, a curious mind, and the ability to stick with a project for four long years in order to meet a goal. Employers may value the degree itself more than the subject matter, and they may have their own reasons for doing so. But when they’re the ones hiring, they make the rules.

2. Degrees provide an easy cut-off

There’s something elegantly simple about this qualification: candidates either have it or they don’t. Some candidate merits are subjective, hard to measure, or hard to compare. But not this one. So dismissing resumes from every candidate without a college degree can narrow an enormous applicant pool and simplify a complex decision.

3. Learning is easier with structure

Without a set of college courses, you can take yourself to the library or the web and learn on your own, all day every day for four years. The information students gain in the classroom is free and widely available to anyone curious and driven enough to seek their own answers.But most of us don’t have the discipline to tackle this challenge. And even if we do, we don’t have a road map. We don’t know exactly which books to read in order to get where we need to go. College professors are the ones at the front of the room for a reason—they know where you’re going and how to get there, they’ve faced the same challenges, and they have the subject knowledge and teaching skill to guide you through the wilderness.

4. Labs

Any valuable course of study contains a practical element. Theory will only take us so far, and beyond that point, we have to get our hands dirty. Knowing is one thing, but doing is another. And doing requires equipment, field work, and real engagement with the tools and situations we’ll encounter during our careers. College provides these things—usually with a helpful instructor standing right beside them.

You Won’t Second Guess Getting a Degree

Earning a degree is a smart first step on the long winding road to a successful career. When you’re ready tackle the next step (landing your first job!), MyPerfectResume with be there to help. Visit the site to explore our templates and resume creation tools.