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A Degree Is Worthless. An Education Is Priceless.

By Erik Folgate

My generation has fallen into a huge trap when it comes to our philosophy about higher learning.  We have created a society of young people whom think that having a college degree will automatically make them successful in the marketplace.  Young people will spend anything and everything to get a so-called “prestigious” degree, and most young people look to Uncle Sam to help them fit the bill.  The end product is a young and broke twenty-something whom is working at a decent job making $30,000 a year with $25 – 50 grand in student loans. 

Allow me to step up onto my soap box as a 24 year old who hates paying his student loan payment every month.  Stop being brainwashed that going to a prestigious school and getting a great sounding degree will get you far in life.  Employers could care less about your “pedigree” rather than your work ethic and personality.  Employers want to know less about what your GPA was and what ranking your business school is rated. They want to know more about what kind of value you are going to bring to their company.  A degree may get your foot in the door, but an education will be the determining factor for how successful you are in the marketplace.  Your education is what you made of your four or eight years of school.  Your education is how much you learned and how well you apply it to real life situations.

Just take a step back for a moment before you go to graduate school and spend another $25 grand on schooling.  What is the REAL value of that degree.  If you have the money, then by all means go for it if that is what you want to do.  But if you do not have the money, don’t get caught up in the lie that you should borrow as much money as you want to keep piling the initials up after your name. 

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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Comments

  • Young Finance Guy

    Once again, great article…

    I totally agree with you, unless your going to a top 5 B-School or undergraduate school, it does not make too much sence to get $100K into debt for school.

  • http://pennyfoolish.blogspot.com Kira

    I always wonder about people who get their degree without thinking about what kind of job they want. That’s destined for failure. Yes, learning is wonderful and great but you are supposed to be goign to college so that you have more knowledge and skills than a high school grad.. and the skill of writing a paper about Emily Dickinson while drunk is not really marketable.

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    Exactly. An education is much more important than the school you went to. Wish I had known that before I chose the college I went to for 4 years of my life. A pricey 4-year private school. 5 blocks away was public college for 1/3 the price. Employers were interested in my transcript, but never in the college. I’ll remember that if I ever decide to get a MBA.

  • http://www.littleplanet.ca jp

    Millions of people earn degrees, diplomas & certificates because they’ve been told
    since pre-school that this is the track to life’s success.
    They were not necessarily instructed on all the fine details regarding superb and
    astute choices.
    Let’s not forget – a tanking economy (for whatever reason – who cares?) blows smoke
    and mirrors around the whole issue of gainful employment.
    A robust economy would find something useful to do for a PHD in nosepicking.

    For growing numbers – higher education is not a guaranteed solution to anything…
    in many cases, it’s just a bad debt.
    Now, if one examines the Housing debacle, the Outsourcing and Offshoring fiascoes,
    the great downsizing and de-industrialization processes of the past 30 years – the
    resulting impact on white collar workers…..sifts through the entire mess, one might
    come to the quick conclusion that an expensive education is quickly becoming a real
    Vegas crapshoot. And they’d probably be right.

    It’s a damn shame that good economic history, followed by straight current economics
    and their current social impact are not made compusory studies for every high school
    senior.

    For many, this may be the absolute last year of their life……..that they are actually
    debt-free.

  • http://onlinerookies.com Kalen

    I agree. I didn’t learn much that will help me in my MBA program. My engineering degree however, provided a great education. It continues to benefit me in so many ways even though I am not in engineering. The education I received in engineering taught me how to think analytically and formulate new strategies. I attribute my success as an Internet marketer more to that than I do my MBA, which really just taught me to be a cog in the system.

  • http://www.moneycrashers.com Kalen Smith

    I agree. I didn’t learn much that will help me in my MBA program. My engineering degree however, provided a great education. It continues to benefit me in so many ways even though I am not in engineering. The education I received in engineering taught me how to think analytically and formulate new strategies. I attribute my success as an Internet marketer more to that than I do my MBA, which really just taught me to be a cog in the system.

  • Joshua Oberle

    I say this for myself and for everyone else who spent years of their lives working for a degree, screw you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erik.gholtoghian Erik Gholtoghian

    I think it is ironic that your article is critical of most others’ “educations” while you have actually used the word “whom” in the second sentence with incorrect grammar. Correct usage dictates “who” instead. $30,000 is also overstated by a factor of at least 2. Nice to dream though…

    20K in debt? What a joke. You have no idea what is going on.

  • quinnsbeacher

    Yes, not only ‘whom’ as a basic English error that sticks out like a sore thumb, but employers that ‘could care less’ – that means they do care to some extent, otherwise how could they care less? – the expression is ‘couldn’t care less’ – maybe young Erik should take a free course in English language?

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