Thursday, May 17, 2012

19 Things That All High School Students Should Be Told Before They Go To College

Michael Snyder, Contributor
Activist Post

Don't you wish that someone had told you the truth before you went to college? Don't you wish that someone had told you that college has become a giant money-making scam that is designed to drain as much money out of students and parents as possible?

Yes, college can be a profitable endeavor if you pick your field of study wisely, if you can get someone else to pay for at least some of it, and if you can actually get a good job in that field when you graduate. But most high school students are never told to weigh the pros and the cons before they run off to college. The typical high school student is simply told to get into the "best school" that he or she can and to take out whatever loans are "necessary" to pay for that education. Our high school students are assured that those student loans will be paid back easily once they get "good jobs" following graduation.

But the truth is that there are some other things that high school students should be told before they go off to college as well. They should be told that student loan debt can cripple them financially for decades. They should be told that the quality of education at most U.S. colleges and universities is a total joke. They should be told that most college graduates do not get a "good job" once they graduate these days. They should be told that after they receive their diplomas they are likely to end up flat broke, waiting tables and living with their parents.

If we would just be honest with our high school students ahead of time, it would save many of them a whole lot of pain later.

Higher education is not necessarily a bad thing. But these days when it comes to higher education the goal should be to get as much for your money as you possibly can. You don't want to end up spending four years of your life and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a degree in "art history" or "political science".

If you are going to get a college degree, choose a field that will actually advance your career and try to spend as little as you can. Unless you have wealthy parents who can pay for it all, the goal should be to make as big of a profit on your education as possible.

Unfortunately, most young Americans are not told the truth and they end up falling for the scam and many of them end up as debt slaves for decades.

The following are 19 things that all high school students should be told before they go to college....

#1 A college education has become insanely expensive. Over the past 30 years, the cost of college tuition in the United States has tripled. One father down in Texas says that he will spend a total of about 1.5 million dollars on college expenses for his five daughters before it is all said and done.

#2 As costs have risen, so has student borrowing. Sadly, U.S. college students are now borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago after adjusting for inflation.

#3 Unless you have a wealthy parent, there are some schools that should be avoided like the plague. In the United States today, there are dozens of schools where tuition, room and board total more than $50,000 a year, and only a handful of those schools provide a top notch education.

#4 Our parents and our grandparents paid far less for their college educations than we do today. Back in 1952, a full year of tuition at Harvard was only $600. Today, it is over $35,000.

#5 The college textbook industry has become a gigantic money-making scam. It is now common for many college textbooks to be priced well above $100, and overall the cost of college textbooks has tripled over the past decade.

#6 At the end of your education, your diploma will likely come with a debt burden which will hang around your neck for many years to come. In 2010, the average student loan debt burden at graduation was $25,250.

#7 Student loan debt is one of the greatest debt bubbles the U.S. has ever seen. In fact, student loan debt in America has grown by 511 percent since 1999.

#8 Americans now owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards. In fact, the total amount of student loan debt in the United States recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.

#9 People that pursue advanced degrees can pile up absolutely enormous amounts of student loan debt. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, approximately 167,000 Americans currently have more than $200,000 of student loan debt.

#10 The student loan default rate in the U.S. is rising to unprecedented heights. In fact, the student loan default rate has nearly doubled since 2005.

#11 All over America, websites are connecting young college students desperate for college cash with "sugar daddies" that are willing to make a "contribution" to college education in exchange for some "companionship". The following is from a Huffington Post article about this disturbing trend....
On a Sunday morning in late May, Taylor left her Harlem apartment and boarded a train for Greenwich, Conn. She planned on spending the day with a man she had met online, but not in person. 
Taylor, a 22-year-old student at Hunter College, had confided in her roommate about the trip and they agreed to swap text messages during the day to make sure she was safe. 
Once in Greenwich, a man who appeared significantly older than his advertised age of 42 greeted Taylor at the train station and then drove her to the largest house she had ever seen. He changed into his swimming trunks, she put on a skimpy bathing suit, and then, by the side of his pool, she rubbed sunscreen into the folds of his sagging back -- bracing herself to endure an afternoon of sex with someone she suspected was actually about 30 years her senior.
#12 Once you start college, there is a very good chance that you will not finish. Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor's degree within four years.

#13 At most U.S. colleges and universities, the quality of the education that you will receive is rather poor. Just check out some numbers about the quality of college education in the United States from an article that appeared in USA Today....
-After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change. 
-Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago 
-35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone. 
-50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages. 
-32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.
#14 The good news is that you will have more free time in college than you have ever had before. One survey found that U.S. college students spend 24% of their time sleeping, 51% of their time socializing and 7% of their time studying.

#15 You are probably not going to be able to find a good job when you graduate. Last year, a staggering 53 percent of all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

#16 After you leave college, you are much more likely to get a crappy job than you are to get a good paying professional job. The following is an excerpt from a recent CNBC article....
In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).
#17 If you think that you will be able to "beat the odds" and land the job of your dreams once you graduate from college, perhaps you should consider these numbers....
-In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees. 
-In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees. 
-In the United States today, there are more than 100,000 janitors that have college degrees.
#18 College does a very poor job of preparing people for the "real world". In fact, one poll found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the "real world" while they were still in school.

#19 Once you graduate from college, there is a really good chance that you will be moving back home with Mom and Dad. One recent poll discovered that 29 percent of all Americans in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket are still living with their parents.

So what do you think about the state of college education in America? Please feel free to post your thoughts below....

This article first appeared here at the American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.


This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


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Anonymous said...

An employee is hired for one reason and one reason only, to bring value to the business.
A college degree is a business card, nothing
more. No one needs to rack up huge debt for college. State schools for in-state students
are a fraction of the private schools and just
as good if you understand that there are no
"good schools" only "good students". I hired
a guy once with no college degree over a PHD because the guy with no degree understood
the concept of value to the business while
the PHD thought it was his piece of paper.
I just finished an MBA at a state school for a
total of $14K when the private schools are $70K
Same course, same education. The school is irrelevant, it's what you put into the program
that really matters and how you see, the concept
of bringing value to the busines.

Anonymous said...

Yet another field that has turn to sh*t - sky rocketing costs and highly compensated Admin/Professors. This joins Medical/healthcare, law/litigation, film/entertainment industry, music industry, etc. etc.
There is a common denominator in our once great nation to all these and is directly responsible for these woes. Can you guess?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, aside from the debt problem with a college education and the general lack of knowledge obtained from such an education there is another larger thing to understand. That is everyone today can get a degree, the value as result of this saturation has made them basically meaningless.
Forty years ago, a large segment of the population went from High school to the trades and the “cream” went to college. In those days a degree actually had value and off you went to a good company and into management.
Today, all creeds can get in to college with special privileges and loans and required quotas. This is what deluded the value of the degree. If everyone has one because of quotas, where’s the value? Yet social norms continue the myth of the need for a degree – there’s too much money in it for the people who rake in the money to let the myth die!

bob klinck said...

A 20th point for Canadian HS students would be that there is no requirement for Canadian governmental agencies to recognize degrees earned at major Canadian universities when you apply for work with them.

Anonymous said...

I graduated from college 40yrs ago. What a waist of time. My tip to kids today is learn a good trade, go to local biz school to learn some basics. Not to mention the vast majority of what I "learned" in college was false.

Anonymous said...

We refused to enroll our daughter in any college in the US. The above article is correct. The students generally learn 1/4 of what students in "Asian" countries learn, and frankly, the instructors are smarter, and more focused on teaching the students the real meat of their subject material, and do it in a shorter period of time. We enrolled our daughter in an International school, and she loves it. She has learned in 2 years what 4th year students in the US are only beginning to grasp, and the tuition is cheaper. Her degree is valid and will be accepted in most US schools. US schools will bleed you to death, and will truly make you a debt slave for decades. Her field of study is wide open and the possibilities for her are endless. You want your child to get a "real education", and learn what the real world is like...and you can pay for their education so they dont have that burden, send them to an international school in Asia.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. I have over $165,000 in student loan debt, mainly from law school. Undergrad degree (Poli Sci) was completely worthless except for getting into a graduate school. It took me 2 years to actually find a job, which I only found because someone I knew quit because he hated it. I sent over 1500 resumes out before this job, and was only asked to come to a single interview. Plus, I'm only making 50k a year gross, 30k less than what my law school advertised was the "average" salary of its graduates (circa 2006). I thought I would succeed given my excellent grades in high school and undergrad (4.1 and 3.5 respectively), but life didn't work out that way.

Of course it is a blessing to have a job at all, which is ironic because the only purpose of my job is to pay my debts, rent, and food. So basically being unemployed living with my parents was a more fulfilling life than being a slave for the next 25 years trying to pay off debts and basic living expenses.

I think what people right out of HS need to do is to find out how to become totally off grid self sufficient. I mean year round food growing, aquaponics in a greenhouse setting is ideal. They need to learn how to make things needed for survival. And in the mean time they need to find a job right out of HS and save money towards these goals. Then someday, perhaps within the 7 years it took me to go get undergrad and JD degrees, they will be set up so that almost every dollar they earn can be used for pleasure, savings and whatever else they think is a smart use of their money. And if they ever want to take some time out of the rat race, they will be able to survive comfortably without any worries.


Anonymous said...

I would tell anyone graduating from high school NOT to go to a large university-pick a community college. You can get a diploma or associate degree for the price of one year at university-or less! You won't spend your whole life paying it back! If you want to study something like journalism, get a degree in graphic arts or digital photography and take journalism classes as electives in your program.

Anonymous said...

Part of the reason why young people go to college or university is to learn things they should have learnt in high school. If high school curricula were held to higher standards or to the standards they had 30 or 40 years ago, there would be less need for full-time college and young people could learn a trade or do part-time studies and hold down a job as well.

a123456 said...

Want to restore the USA? Start by rounding up all the jooz in the media, finance, education and in politics. The joo is the problem and fire is the answer!

Anonymous said...

There is a class war raging in America, but the upper half is blind and brainwashed so they see it not, nor do they care. The corporate class discriminates against perfectly smart people without degrees and they do this for jobs that suck because they expect you to sacrifice and stress your life and health away so some fat cat and a few stockholders can live it up while the "little people" do all the blood, sweat and tears work. Corporate America is a disgusting pig. Wall Street is a disgusting pig. The Federal government is a disgusting pig. But stupid Americans sit on their lazy ignorant behinds and do nothing about it. So what happens? Things just keep getting worse. WAKE UP AMERICA! YOUR COUNTRY IS DYING AND YOUR ARE TOO APATHETIC AND BLIND TO SEE IT, LET ALONE DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. AMERICANS ARE AT FAULT FOR ALLOWING THE SYSTEM TO TURN INTO AN ORWELLIAN POLICE STATE. GOOD LUCK AMERICA. YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED. YOUR FEDERAL RESERVE BANK IS A SCAM. YOUR IRS IS A SCAM. YOUR TELEVISION AND MEDIA ARE SCAMS. YOUR ARE RUN AND CONTROLLED BY YOUR PRESS, YOUR WAR MACHINE, YOUR GREEDY CORPORATIONS, YOUR BRAINWASHED NEIGHBORS AND COWORKERS, AND ALL YOUR F'D UP F---ING F---TARD LYING POLITICIAN A HOLES.

Anonymous said...

I am a 38 year-old bartender who just completed the final two years of an anthropology degree (begun in my twenties). Though I sympathize with the author's sentiments - and am under no illusions of getting a job in my field (unless I pursue graduate work) - I graduated with a whole lot more than just a degree. I earned mentors, friends, a capacity for critical thought (after symbolic and sentential logic you can never really read a newspaper article the same way), an introduction to an eclectic mix of revolutionary thinkers in the sciences and humanities I would have never encountered otherwise, enhanced reading and writing abilities - and recognition (by peers and mentors) of your abilities and skills and their encouragement for you to refine them.

Yes, I don't agree with everything I was taught - but there's something to be said for being forced to ruminate on different, and often difficult, discoveries, thoughts, and opinions I would have never considered otherwise.

Yes, education and books are getting more expensive - but so is milk and bread.

And yes, my current level of education (undergrad) doesn't ensure employment in my field - but as the only child of a single mother raised in abject poverty I have keenly felt the need for identity. My anthropology profs taught me much about the roots of my human family (ie., homo erectus, australopithecus) and the diversity of my existing family.

Education is about much more than finding a job.

Very Dumb Government said...

I found my college experience mostly useless, except for the dumb bell English course that I had to take. That was actually useful. One of the happiest days of my life was when I walked off the campus...never to return again. I think that was 1968. I wanted to work, start a family, and I didn't have time in my life for such nonsense.

They teach things that are wrong. In English Lit. class the material was so depressing that
thoughts of hanging myself crossed my mind if I had to endure any more of these classes.

And yes, I took political science which was essentially a socialism class. It was complete nonsense. Science, I learned the principles of evolution which is not a part of nature. Evolution is just as stupid as global warming.

I never had to repay any debt for college and I never regretted not going corporate. I mostly worked for myself; and wouldn't you know it, I never got laid off. I made as much or as little as I wanted or needed and my life was full.

Anonymous said...

I have read numerous articles bashing a college education. I do not think there are any good answers. We sent all six of our children to college. We lived very frugally and paid in cash. They left with a degree and zero debt. We were, and are, not in debt either.

All the children were expected to follow the protocol for our family. They must attend the county college before the four year college. We had to approve of their major (no underwater basket weaving degrees). They had to prove they were college material and attain good grades. They were not allowed to change their major after the start of the second year. We chose their college/university for their Bachelors Degree.

How did they do? #1 went to professional school. He has always been employed and is doing well, but has the debt I never wanted him to have. #2 got a teaching degree, had a job, got married and is now homeschooling their children. #3 got a degree and went into business with #4. Although successful,they decided after several years that they wanted to do something else. #4 got a Masters and is working for a large international company. She doesn't need the Masters, but got an internship over the summer, and hired her thereafter. It got her the job. She is not in debt from her Masters. After losing her business partner, #4 went back to school and got a nursing degree. It was plan B. While going to school she worked at a job that does not require a degree. She took the job because it was flexible for her schooling. #5 got a job with an international company (different field and company than #3) and has moved all over the US. He has plan B if things change. #6 is still in county college, born later that his siblings. He has plan A and B. He is still working on plan A, but has a skill that provides employment. It helps pay for school and expenses and is a buffer should plan A and B also fail.

In addition to school, we raised our children to be independent thinkers, have a large skill base-and all do, some better than others--are articulate and well rounded. College does not teach this, but we made sure we did.

It is true that it is not necessary to get a college degree to be educated. I will be the first to agree. A college degree can be done inexpensively. The subject matter can be learned without and institution or degree as well. How many are that motivated that they are able to learn on their own? Very few.

I have also read where having your own business would be another way round the employment problem. My family has a history of self-employment going back four generations. The government is not kind to the self-employed. In hard times, self-employment will be even more difficult. Few people realize that working for yourself also involves twice the hours with less pay.

To those who challenge me about trades, I ask them to list the number of trades left that earn enough money to raise a family. Their list is not very long. It was much longer years ago and didn't include many niche markets that will probably dry up during hard times. In fact, my family has a history of a high skill trade that goes back four generations. It is currently sitting comfortably in China. It will never return. The computer took care that. Low skill people can do the job now.

All the rules have changed. It isn't easy.

markd16 said...

No,it is not easy, and as I don't have kids after being married for 38 years, I just don't know.
However, being without parents at the age of 11, bros, and sis taken apart, I learned what needed to be done. I punted.
I was really poor at some sports, such as basketball, I religiously tasked myself to a unknown future talent that kicked my self awareness at every dribble. I liked it. He liked it. It was good at 10 years old.
I respond to this as I don't have kids, but this writer has several and I love the community.
The fireplace chat.
So, I try fishing, I meet 15 foot waves, I get seasick, go into a port and get butter slammed in my face. Apparently it is recreation for me to give the fishermen pleasure, a good 17 year old experience. Their are many other stories about loading 12 ocean going ships a month with 20,000 logs, and harvesting trees that where over 150 feet long. About a store, a traveling band playing disco.
The point is, what do you learn? What can you afford?
I took $40K to learn internet marketing, website development, video uploads, social media. This is not a school, it is hypster, IM, and other juice,
However, I did discover a path. is to visit and check it out.
because you wan't to learn!

Anonymous said...

Knowing how to spank their monkies didn't make the list !??

Anonymous said...

I graduated college 1971 with a BA in Business.My loans were $6k. Went to work in the oilfields of western ND and eastern Montana---and then to several foreign countries. If you are able to get your hands dirty and a little mud in your face,your college loans will be easily taken care of. The federal reserve note is a whole other story.....thank your guberment--which is operated by corporations--the fed,WDC,...

dtmcneely said...

Dear Anonymous May 17, 2012 9:29pm: Not once, in your entire response, did you mention the word: love. The only thing anyone reading your response comes away with, is the overwhelming control you have made your children suffer under. As to trades, it's the one way a young person can guarantee a decent living for his family. I am a former attorney, but my husband is a Master Welder. He has a degree in Applied Mathematics (but now, many colleges actually have a Metallurgy Degree). He makes a whole lot more money than I do, working for a "prestigious" bank. His skills are far more important than mine. I can fix a Bank problem, but he put in place a soaring 100 foot tall Sculpture that will exist for at least 200 years. Who's work is more important?

Anonymous said...

I don't know anyone who works in his degree field. I work with guys that have degrees in engineering, law, MBAs, you name it. Did those degrees get them in the door? No because these companies will accept "equivalent" experience. I would say if you are fresh out of high school get a job, work hard, be reliable and honest and in 4 years you be making more than 1st year college grads.

By the way do educate yourself, ready, study turn off the TV.

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