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Guest Rob

This is something that I've been thinking about a fair bit recently, and since a large portion of OT have gone through/are going through some sort of post-secondary (college, university) education, I thought it'd make a decent topic to discuss.

 

What sort of education do you want? What degree do are you planning on going for or considering? Do you think post-secondary education is a waste of time?

 

Or just discuss anything relating to education really.

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Post-secondary education (in the States) is very inefficient for it's importantce: it's too good to pass up but you'll save a lot of money, time, and stress by not going. The whole concept of general education is just a repeat of High School and not to mention, private schools are borderline scammy.

 

I'm attending community college right now and see a lot of it's faults. Without the FAFSA (government grants for students) I wouldn't be going.

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I'm getting a PhD in awesome.


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In the US, a college education is a waste of time and money unless your career of choice absolutely requires a degree (e.g. Lawyer, Engineer, Doctor, etc.)

 

 


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I've personally just finished my A-levels in the UK and will be going to university this September to study medicine - I'm looking forward to it enormously. My situation in studying medicine is very different from my friends, I require a medical degree to practice and my prospects of employment post degree are secured (98% employment for medical graduates with only those choosing to leave the field of medicine or take time off limiting that being 100%).

On the other hand I look at my friends around me and I would say only half will gain anything by going to university. Many are studying subjects which they are uninterested in and will not help them especially in the career's they wish to follow. So why do they go? Because in the UK university is touted as the funnest period in your life and indeed friends of mine who are going to noncompetitive universities seem to be out on the town every other night - no one wants to voluntarily miss out on three years of sex, dancing, drinking and friendship and simply don't believe they'll get the same quantities of these outside of university. Also the amount of employers requiring a degree, simply a degree of any level from any university before considering any applicant is high. A massive problem in the UK which has led to a cheapening of degrees in our country and a two-tier system where if you attend a Russel group university (our Ivy League) your degree is considered far superior to those who did not attend one.

 

tl;dr - Medicine, Engineering etc.. go to university. If you're interested in History go to a good university and study it if you're stupid don't go to university to do a crap course.


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I'm getting a bachelor's in biomedical/materials engineering and possibly going on farther for research such and *I wanna have a PhD after my name*

 

It's essential (in US at least) to do something when you get out of high school unless you're going into a skilled trade (machinist, CAD, etc). I have a few friends who were hired right out of high school to be trained to work their way up in a couple of local manufacturing/engineering companies who also will offer to pay for their college in time. If you get the right combo of high school classes and work ethic you can have a good job right out of high school, but if you're going for something a bit bigger you really do need that college degree right off the bat.

 

Money is getting ridiculous (attending most expensive public school in the state at about $38k a year) and that's something I wish they would fix, you're screwing over the population that gets by but doesn't have a ton of money for extra stuff (ie the middle class) - we don't qualify for free money, and if you're average academically you don't get any scholarships either. Sure, junior college can help that (last I looked $240/cr hr vs $530/cr at my college) but it still costs a lot of money.

 

Edit: My employment after graduation is pretty much guaranteed, [only chem eng in higher demand than biomed] this school (Michigan Tech) is pretty well known for engineering and base pay for any grad starts at $55k a year. That's why I chose there instead of Grand Valley State (my other option).

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Senior year at Purdue University for a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and minors in Economics and Mathematics. Will be interviewing this fall for jobs starting next summer. Not sure if I want to get an MBA or masters / phd in something after I graduate. What I've learned is that coming out of school, masters level engineers earn more, but the difference can be made up in the 3 years it takes to get the advanced degree.

 

Also I've learned that if you pay out of pocket for a masters in a STEM degree, you're doing it wrong.


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I'm in my fourth year at the University of Minnesota, studying computer science and engineering. It's been very good for me, especially as it is a top 20 engineering school in the US, while total cost of living/tuition is only about $25k/year. The average salary for a first year grad with my degree, from my school is $65k. Right now, I'm 19 years old, and I'm making about $50k/year salary as a software engineering intern. When my internship ends on Friday, I am hired as an associate, to work part time during school and full time during breaks.

 

Like others said, college is great/necessary if you're doing something like science/engineering/medical/lawer etc, but I see other people in more "general" majors graduate with no job and tons of debt. If you have the drive to go for a valuable degree, the sweat and tears will definitely pay off in the long run. My girlfriend is studying petroleum engineering, which is the highest paid job out of college. You can start at over $100k year if you're good enough.

 

Aside from the money, I personally think that the jobs youll get with a degree will be much more fun and satisfying that a high school job.


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Might as well keep the engineering streak going.

I'm going into my 4th/final year of mechanical engineering at a top Canadian school. This summer I managed to get an undergraduate student research award, so I'm given some money and get to work full time on a research project under the supervision of a professor. When I graduate next year I will probably go on and do a masters degree (tuition is payed for, and I get a stipend of ~$20000-30000 per year for living expenses and as payment for being a TA). It would be a 2 year program, and ideally I'd be able to make a little bit more when I start actually working in the field.

 

I'm definitely interested in research, but to be entirely honest I don't think I'm ready to go out and start working quite yet - although job prospects and starting salaries are good if I do. I know everyone has said that university is a waste if you're not planning on working in an area where a degree is required, and I don't really disagree, BUT I know that there is no way I would have been ready to start working out of high school. 4 years to mature/learn stuff/have fun isn't the worst decision you can make as long as it won't put you way in debt.

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I am finishing off a PhD in decision making (mix of psychology and behavioural economics).

 

I recommend being ruthless and logical when choosing a degree. In recessionary times it's a mistake to study something for the sake of interest. Find a course that leads to a job; it's the difference between having employers lining up to pay you >£30k/year and having the choice of where to live (engineering, statistics, computer science, pharmacy is a good choice too), and interning for no pay for years wherever you can find a position (psychology).

 

The same applies for studying for a Masters - do your research first. I sat in on an occupational psychology course with more than 150 Masters students in the room, and some occupational psychologists came in from the business world and said that there are around 6 occ psych positions available in the whole of the UK each year.

 

Also, don't believe people who say there's a shortage of people studying this or that (e.g. physics, chemistry). There's only a shortage if physicists or chemists are being paid £30k/year straight out of university and then going on to earn £70k in 5 years. They are not. I lived with some chemists - they are on 6 month temporary contracts paying £18k/year, interspersed with periods of unemployment.

 

For some jobs the people in them seem to get paid a lot (management consultants). This might fool you into thinking there's a shortage. There is not - competition is fierce. Although management consultants are still paid a lot, the downside is that you get worked into the ground because as soon as you let up they'll replace you with someone younger. Some people enjoy it, but others don't want their life to revolve around work for 5 years (it is difficult to imagine how taxing this really is. You'll be moved around the country every 12 weeks, you'll work 12 hours per day for 6 days per week, you won't be able to find a gf/bf because you'll have no time to meet one and no time to keep one if you do meet them. Your old friends will have quaint things like hobbies and houses and family bbqs and kids, and you will not).

 

That's actually a really good reason to study something in demand. It's not just about the salary, it's also about how you're treated. If you have recruiters e-mailing you positions every month, then your employer will treat you with respect. He'll try to make sure you're fulfilled. You'll get special things like free tea/coffee - small things that make a difference. But if your employer feels like he's doing you a favour by letting you work in his firm, then he'll treat you like you're replacable.

 

Think twice about going to grad school: http://100rsns.blogspot.co.uk/ "In 2010, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, there were 33,655 Americans with doctorates collecting food stamps." There are between 300 and 800 applicants for every tenure-track position in American universities.


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Guest Rob

I am finishing off a PhD in decision making (mix of psychology and behavioural economics).

 

I recommend being ruthless and logical when choosing a degree. In recessionary times it's a mistake to study something for the sake of interest. Find a course that leads to a job; it's the difference between having employers lining up to pay you >£30k/year and having the choice of where to live (engineering, statistics, computer science, pharmacy is a good choice too), and interning for no pay for years wherever you can find a position (psychology).

 

The same applies for studying for a Masters - do your research first. I sat in on an occupational psychology course with more than 150 Masters students in the room, and some occupational psychologists came in from the business world and said that there are around 6 occ psych positions available in the whole of the UK each year.

 

Also, don't believe people who say there's a shortage of people studying this or that (e.g. physics, chemistry). There's only a shortage if physicists or chemists are being paid £30k/year straight out of university and then going on to earn £70k in 5 years. They are not. I lived with some chemists - they are on 6 month temporary contracts paying £18k/year, interspersed with periods of unemployment.

 

For some jobs the people in them seem to get paid a lot (management consultants). This might fool you into thinking there's a shortage. There is not - competition is fierce. Although management consultants are still paid a lot, the downside is that you get worked into the ground because as soon as you let up they'll replace you with someone younger. Some people enjoy it, but others don't want their life to revolve around work for 5 years (it is difficult to imagine how taxing this really is. You'll be moved around the country every 12 weeks, you'll work 12 hours per day for 6 days per week, you won't be able to find a gf/bf because you'll have no time to meet one and no time to keep one if you do meet them. Your old friends will have quaint things like hobbies and houses and family bbqs and kids, and you will not).

 

That's actually a really good reason to study something in demand. It's not just about the salary, it's also about how you're treated. If you have recruiters e-mailing you positions every month, then your employer will treat you with respect. He'll try to make sure you're fulfilled. You'll get special things like free tea/coffee - small things that make a difference. But if your employer feels like he's doing you a favour by letting you work in his firm, then he'll treat you like you're replacable.

 

Think twice about going to grad school: http://100rsns.blogspot.co.uk/ "In 2010, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, there were 33,655 Americans with doctorates collecting food stamps." There are between 300 and 800 applicants for every tenure-track position in American universities.

 

That's the kind of thing I find terrifying: spending years and years getting a degree in something only to not be able to get a job in that field. I'd really really like to study something like astronomy or astrophysics but I know there's not exactly a high demand for astrophysicists. I'm interested in things like Engineering, but something like physics or chemistry would be much more interesting for me simply because of the amount of research topics available (that being said, I'm actually unsure of how much research is done in the field of engineering).

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That's the kind of thing I find terrifying: spending years and years getting a degree in something only to not be able to get a job in that field. I'd really really like to study something like astronomy or astrophysics but I know there's not exactly a high demand for astrophysicists. I'm interested in things like Engineering, but something like physics or chemistry would be much more interesting for me simply because of the amount of research topics available (that being said, I'm actually unsure of how much research is done in the field of engineering).

There is TONS of research done in engineering, I definitely would not exclude it as a possible career/major choice based on that criteria. Go check out the kinds of things that professors at your potential schools do research on. Even though engineering itself is a lot different than science, most engineering research is pretty similar to research done in science fields because in the end you're going back and investigating some sort of physical phenomenon/trying to create something new - although there is a bigger focus on researching topics where the results will be useful, eventually, in some practical way.

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I'm starting as a freshman at a top university this fall, probably as a physics or economics major. I got a free ride, but without ultra-rich alumni, I'd be screwed - $60,000/year is a ton of money.

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The problem with the world today is that we have more people looking for jobs than jobs available, so employers get to be extremely picky. Basically all job postings I've seen -- regardless of field -- say "Must have a bachelors degree" in their requirements.

 

Some jobs may not really require that you have a degree since they're talent-based (like art), but if an employer gets two applications: one with a great portfolio and a bachelors degree, and one with just a great portfolio, guess who they're going to pick? And then there are the employers who just remove every single applicant from the stack who doesn't have a bachelors degree, without looking at the rest of the application.

 

The cold hard truth is that if you have a bachelors degree, you'll have a hard time getting a job. But if you don't, it will be that much harder.

 

Oh and side note: tuition fees are absolutely incredibly freakin' absurd.

 

Moral of the story: life sucks.

 

========

 

I'm in the process of getting my bachelors degree, and that's probably the highest education I'll get. I'm honestly getting my degree just so I can have a little piece of paper that says, "Yay, more employers will consider you now!"


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I'm starting as a freshman at a top university this fall, probably as a physics or economics major. I got a free ride, but without ultra-rich alumni, I'd be screwed - $60,000/year is a ton of money.

>Location: Cambridge, MA

 

I swear, if you're getting a full ride to Harvard or MIT....


 

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Having already entered medical school (and having left very soon after), I'll be starting a degree in nursing this September. It's more appealing to me and I'm looking forward to it much more than I ever looked forward to a career in medicine. But I guess both of those careers are now degree-only. Medicine has been for a long time and nursing had its last intake for non-degree level students this year, and those student will have to "top up" after their diplomas have been completed anyway.

 

Nursing as a degree is very broad, but provides the essentials, so you can start working straight after registration, but you've got so many paths to choose from it's crazy. I could work literally anywhere in the NHS, except paediatrics. So I'm feeling very rosy about the future, but I know it's a tough three years ahead.

 

I think people who study "Mickey Mouse" degrees still gain something out of the experience of studying at that level. No degree is a walk in the park, though some are less hard than others. It's a much tougher question for them though, given tuition fees are now so high. At least £27K debt after graduation is no small total, and if your job prospects don't increase considerably for having the degree you're studying, I think it's very difficult to justify. That people drink and have sex (I mean, perish the thought of grown adults having sex with each other!) at university is neither here nor there to be honest... the government doesn't pay for that part of their funding. It's essentially their own money they're pissing into the wind on booze and whatever else, which they'll have to pay back now or later.

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I'm starting as a freshman at a top university this fall, probably as a physics or economics major. I got a free ride, but without ultra-rich alumni, I'd be screwed - $60,000/year is a ton of money.

>Location: Cambridge, MA

 

I swear, if you're getting a full ride to Harvard or MIT....

 

Actually, I had both. Unfortunately, you can only accept one :P

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The amount of money asked to enter a US college/university is ridiculous, especially since i'm looking at it from a country where

 

1. Higher education and Masters degree's are free for a great deal of people

2. Minimum income is only about 2k US $/year, and average is 1 or 2 K more. The sums put forth are just impossible to look at and not facedesk...

 

The problem, as mentioned before, is that alot of jobs are listed as requiring bachelor's degrees, when in reality you might only need short-term training course to be fully prepared for it, or perhaps not even that. For comparison purposes, here's how it used to go 22+ years ago in my country:

 

When we were under the communist regime, there was no such thing as pay for education; you either got into University/college for no cost whatsoever, or you you didn't. Those who didn't were sent to vocational training, where they actually prepared you hands-on for what your future job was going to be like. This was also free. Then again, this was a time where virtually no one was unemployed in our country, and of course this system led to different problems. But on the education side it was alot better than it is today and there was no such thing as debt.

 

 

As for me, I'm currently a 4th year student in maritime studies. It's not vocational and i'll become an engineer in the maritime industry at the end of it. Luckily, i didn't pay anything for the actual University studies, but i had to undertake a series mandatory, short-term courses, which amounted to about 2k US dollars (remember not to think in US wages, and you'll notice it's a significant sum). I was lucky to find a stable job but the vast majority don't.


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