Role of a College Education Over the Term Paper

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Role of a College Education

Over the last several years, the importance of a college education has been continually debated. This is because there are many examples of individuals who never went to or dropped out of college that are successful. For instance, Michael Dell (the founder and CEO of Dell Computer) quit the University of Texas in order to build low cost computers. At the time, many people laughed and though he was crazy. However, years later, the choices that he made have provided greater financial results than if he had stayed in college. (Baldwin, 2008)

Moreover, there are a number of university graduates who are not working and have trouble finding a job. According to study that was conducted by the job placement firm Adecco. They found that nearly 60% of graduates are underemployed in their field. This is because most candidates have focused on understanding concepts within their discipline / degree requirements. Yet, when it comes to having specific skillsets that many firms require, these individuals are lacking in these areas. A few of the most notable include: writing, critical thinking, marketing, web design and search engine optimization. At the same time, employers have a larger pool of candidates to choose from. The combination of these factors is showing how many people have questioned the value of a college degree in the U.S. labor market. (Crotty, 2012)

To fully understand the magnitude of college education there will be a focus on its significance. This will be accomplished by looking at different viewpoints and making an analysis based upon these findings. Together, these elements will provide specific insights that will highlight its importance in today's workplace.

Is a college education essential in the U.S. labor market?

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that a person with a two-year college degree will earn $500 thousand more over the course of their lifetime (in comparison with a high school graduate). While someone with a four-year degree will earn $1 million extra. At the same time, an individual with a Bachelor's degree has an average salary of $51,554 (versus $28,645 for high school graduates). This is because someone with a university education has enough of background to learn a variety of skills. (Baldwin, 2008)

As a result, having a college education is essential in the U.S. labor market. However, it depends upon if the discipline is in demand, the personal attributes of the individual, ambition, and willingness to learn new ideas. The combination of these factors will have an impact on the kind position someone obtains, their ability to hold the job and the possibility of realizing career advancement. These are the key elements that will help increase anyone's value to their employer. (Baldwin, 2008)

The Discipline must be in Demand

A common myth that most people believe is they can go to college, obtain their degree and employers should immediately offer them jobs. In the real world, this does not happen, as employers need individuals that can address their needs. This means that they do want college graduates. However, they are searching for people, who have a background in the areas of specialization they require. (Baldwin, 2008)

For example, someone with a degree in IT Technology or Nursing will be more in demand than a person who studied Liberal Arts. This is because employees that are trained in IT Technology and Nursing are in short supply. In order for employers to attract the best candidates, they have to offer them more money. This means that those career fields with the largest shortages have the lowest unemployment rates. (Baldwin, 2008)

For college graduates, this is a sign that they need to focus on those areas that will be in demand over the next several decades. If this kind of approach is taken, there is an excellent possibility that the person will never have to relearn new skills from an industry that is no longer essential. As a result, this is illustrating how a college graduate's ability to find a job will depend upon if there is demand for individuals with this training inside the workplace. (Baldwin, 2008)

Those people who have a background in these areas will find it easier to locate work and earn high amounts of income. Whereas, graduates with degrees in fields that are not in demand will have to search longer and they will be underemployed for a certain amount of time. In the event that the economy slows, these people are more than likely to have trouble finding other employment from their lack of training in critical areas. (Baldwin, 2008)

This is showing how college degrees are in demand. However, they must be in areas where there is a shortage of trained professionals and a continuing need well into the future. In cases where the person has more general types of degrees, this could mean that it will take them longer for them to find a job. This is because they have to look in a variety of sectors and must find some way to specialize. During this process, there is the possibility that they will be underemployed or may not be working in their field of study. (Baldwin, 2008)

The personal attributes of the individual

The personal attributes of the individual will have an impact upon their success in the workplace. This is because the way they interact with others and their supervisors will determine if they are eligible to receive promotions or remain with the company for a number of years. Those who show initiative and have a positive attitude are selected for advancement. The reason why is because they are seen as an asset to the firm. Executives will automatically look for someone, who they think favorably of for higher positions. (Hill, 2007) (Carnegie, 1981)

According to Hill (2007), one of the ways to attain and achieve positions of higher authority is to have a desire to want something more. This continuous effort is showing that the individual cares about the quality of their work and the firm. This builds a sense of trust and faith. It is this point that a strong relationship develops with executives believing in the capabilities of a particular employee. While at the same time, they realize that this person motivated to make positive changes for the better. (Hill, 2007)

Evidence of this can be seen with Hill saying, "Strange and imponderable is the power of the human mind! We do not understand the method by which it uses every circumstance, every individual, every physical thing within its reach, as a means of transmuting desire into its physical counterpart. Perhaps science will uncover this secret. I planted in my son's mind the desire to hear and to speak as any normal person hears and speaks. That desire has now become a reality. I planted in his mind the desire to convert his greatest handicap into his greatest asset. That desire has been realized. The modus operandi by which this astounding result was achieved is not hard to describe. It consisted of three very definite facts; first, I mixed faith with the desire for normal hearing, which I passed on to my son. Second, I communicated my desire to him in every conceivable way available, through persistent, continuous effort, over a period of years. Third, he believed me!" (Hill, 2007, pg. 38)

This is illustrating how desire, faith, friendship and motivation will help firms to see which employees are the most valuable. Those who meet this criteria will r receive positions of higher authority (which have enhanced compensation packages). Anyone who does not fit into this category will eventually leave the firm. (Hill, 2007)

In this aspect, a college degree is important in presenting the opportunity (through qualifications and the ability to work in a chosen career field). However, what determines success is the aptitude of the individual to network and show initiative. This means that regardless of their college degree, they must possess these attributes. Those who do not will more than likely find themselves working in dead end positions or they are underemployed. (Hill, 2007)


Ambition is another key that will determine if someone is successful in the workplace and in life. This is because individuals who are willing to do what is necessary, in order to be successful, has the cultural attributes everyone admires. In the labor market, firms want employees that can deal with adversity and become successful. (Robbins, 1991)

This means that a college education is important, but it is not the only requirement for realizing personal and professional achievement inside the workplace. According to Robbins (1991), some the most successful individuals are people who overcame a number of challenges in order to realize success. Each person had to address these and other issues, to live their dreams. In a number of cases, these people had no formal education. Instead, they learned different ideas on their own and applied them in their lives. This is what created transformations in who they are and it…[continue]

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