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I volunteered a lot in High School. I had a leadership internship at a political outreach organization for a year. I'm in a university pursuing a Biochemistry degree with a 3.0 GPA. I have no work experience. I can't find a job. I'm pretty much friendless. My parents have no connections. I can't find a job.

What do you guys recommend?

 

I'm asking on this forum because people usually have VERY long detailed posts. I assume everyone is well educated and can give a youngster some guidance on what to do with his life. Thank you. <3

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Unfortunately a lot of things are all about networking. Not necessarily "who you know" but at the very least reaching out to people. You've done some volunteering. Ask some of those people for some letters of recommendation if you can, or at least find out who will allow you to list them as references.

 

If you haven't already, join LinkedIn and build a good profile there, and use it to connect to others. You can even search for job opportunities through there.

 

The nature of economy in a lot of areas has made it difficult to get a good first foot in the door. Find out if there are any decent temp agencies that deal with companies in the fields you want to work in. Temp work isn't ideal, but it provides businesses with a way to manage workload and certain needs without the major expense and responsibilities of hiring someone. As the "worker" you get a bit of the raw end of that deal, but it does give you something valuable: the foot in the door. If you can get that and then succeed at impressing and making a few connections, can probably turn that into something much bigger.

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If you intend to actually use your degree to work in the field of biochemistry, you're going to need a graduate degree as well, which means you're going to want to improve that GPA.

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The easiest jobs are ones that your parents or near relatives can refer you to since the hirer knows them.

 

Next since you are at a university is to check out your department's bulletin boards/website to see if they have any jobs. Most will be for graduates, but some take undergraduates and you can get experience working in your field. Also if there are any professors that know you from classes you could ask them if they are hiring or know someone that needs workers. The pay won't be as good as private companies, but these are people that will write recommendations when you graduate and can help you later. You have a chance to learn skills that are relevant to biochemistry that will look great on your resume.

 

Even boring jobs in your field will be more useful than a summer at a fast food restaurant.

 

Recessions are bad times to find jobs because you are competing against more experienced people that are willing to take even lousy jobs that you are barely qualified to do.

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I'll give you how I hire people generally and close with some specific advice for you. As many people around here know, I have a PhD in engineering and have hired students for internships and am going back to academia. So I've seen all sides of this.

 

In terms of hiring people, I've used GPA only as a filter for a threshold (my institution has a minimum of 3.2, so that's what I use). Otherwise, GPA is the least important aspect that I evaluate as a candidate -- I've interviewed people with 4.0s, but I have yet to hire a single one. The next thing I look for are relevant skills. My work emphasizes computation, so I had better see one or more programming languages listed, as well as other relevant computer skills -- "skills" like MS Office or Excel do not count for me, as I just assume anyone who has the more specialized ones can use them.

 

This narrows things down to the type of candidates I'm looking for. I then look at work experiences or involvement in professional societies as it indicates that the candidate is motivated and has soft skills. Having no involvement in anything other than coursework is pretty much a death knell for otherwise promising applications.

 

If a candidate clears this, I'll generally give a phone interview. During this process, I try to establish the communications and critical thinking abilities of the candidate. This usually involves asking them to communicate course or work projects, teamwork experiences, etc. I also ask open-ended technical questions where the answer is "it depends" to help assess thinking. If the phone interview is successful, I'll ask for unofficial transcripts to look at specific coursework and grades in those courses, a writing sample, and a couple letters of recommendation. There may or may not be a follow-up phone interview if I have any additional questions.

 

From there I'll decide whether they are someone I'd want to hire. I then rank those candidates holistically, and hire the number I can afford at the time.

 

In terms of specific advice for you:

* First, a candidate needs to demonstrate a positive attitude. While you are not interviewing here, your post sounds quite negative. This type of attitude will not get you employed. A candidate has to show confidence that they can do the job and convince an employer they can work well on a team. A person who is constantly negative is not good for employee morale, and that attitude will justifiably scare off employers.

* Boost your GPA. It's below the threshold of many companies hiring STEM careers.

* Get involved in relevant technical professional societies. This offers networking opportunities. Also, run for officer positions. These make your resume more noticeable.

* Get internships on campus and off-campus if you can. This will help you acquire skills that look attractive to employers.

* Impress people on who are established in your field (e.g., professors, supervisors, etc.). Internships help here, as does doing independent studies with professors. My rule is that if you can't get at least two established professionals in the field to say good things about your intelligence, attitude, and work ethic, I'm not interested.

 

Also, for the record, I have zero family connections in my field. In most STEM careers, you, by and large, sink or swim by your merits -- caveat emptor that I'm sure you will find exceptions somewhere. During my five years at my job, I've seen a lot of people have family connections get internships (typically undergraduate level) at my workplace; however, the division I worked in did not end up actually hiring a single person who got an internship though family connections.

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I feel some sympathy for the 3.0 GPA.t That's really not ideal, but it's also completely college-dependent. Different places normalize grades to different numbers, and you can't fix that. Of course, if 3.0 is below average for your institution, by all means work on improving. (And if it isn't, still work on improving!) But that can be when it's helpful to state class rank or give some other indication that it's better than it looks. And *i, the arbitrary grade cutoff thing drives me nuts. It's contributing to the grade inflation treadmill.

 

The other thing you want to do is look for research technician jobs. Check postings at universities, at academic centers, and at a lot of academic hospitals where many people have labs as well. Check Craiglist and Monster and all the other places people post jobs. Apply to a ton of positions. Research techs aren't expected to have tons of experience, though it helps; nowadays it's often a position taken for a few years by someone fresh out of undergrad for a few years interested in getting some of that all-important work experience before applying for further education. If that's your plan, be honest about that; if it's not, say so.

 

Of course it all depends on what you want to do and where you are. Are you looking for a job to do while in college, a summer job, or a job for after you graduate? Is this hypothetical future job-hunting or something that needs to happen very soon? Do you hope to stay in biochemistry, or are you hoping to get into something else, or do you not care as long as you can afford food and shelter?

 

[Edit: Also it was suggested to me that, especially if you're not in need of paying work right now, what you should do is reach out and see if you can volunteer in a lab, especially one on campus. Even if you're just shadowing or cleaning glassware it's that all-important work experience on your resume and a chance to network with the people in the lab and the people they know and... well, building up a network. Plus some PI's, if they're not broke, will be willing to give some pay and may be more favorably inclined towards you if you come in just asking for experience. But money's tight right now. But be aware that taking on an undergrad is actually a lot of work for a scientist; again, saying so will show some awareness and may help. And don't be disappointed if you get fobbed off on a grad student or even a more senior undergrad; that's standard practice.]

 

—Alorael, who thinks this is exactly the right place. Spiderweb is, for reasons unclear, brimming with scientists, many of whom were necessarily at one point in a position not too different from yours. Although for some of them it was a very long time ago!

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What do you want to do?

 

If there's nothing you really want to do, but you just want to get some kind of job, then that's actually a handicap in getting any kind of job, because almost any employer will choose someone who wants their job in particular over someone who just wants a job of some kind. Wanting to do something in particular is an edge.

 

What do you want to do?

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What you want to do doesn't need to be your life's passion, either, but it should be something you like, or are interested in. Of course, the farther down the wage and prestige totem pole you go the less expectation there is that you want this job and the more it's understood that you just need a job. No one's looking for a burger-flipper who sees it as his life's work. On the other hand, even for unskilled, minimum wage employment managers will be more likely to hire someone with enthusiasm than someone who just doesn't care.

 

—Alorael, who considers being able to put a chipper and enthusiastic face on top of bleak soullessness to be a critical business skill.

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No one's looking for a burger-flipper who sees it as his life's work. On the other hand, even for unskilled, minimum wage employment managers will be more likely to hire someone with enthusiasm than someone who just doesn't care.

Flipping burgers is the gateway drug. I started things off how many years ago, just working at a sandwich shop - menial for sure but I did it with enough care and enthusiasm that I found myself first as a trainer and shift manager, then assistant manager, soon being considered to be moved around for store manager openings... that kind of experience made it a lot easier for me to get my foot into the door at financial institutions, even though one had relatively little to do with the other.

 

I'm not saying go work at Jack in the Box... indeed don't if you can avoid it. But don't look down on it either - wherever you end up, even if it's not precisely what you want, remember to see it as an opportunity and carry on thence.

 

Oh, and when you have an interview, inevitably you are going to be asked "Do you have any questions for me?" or "Do you have any questions about us?" Do NOT say "Thank you but I've got it all." or "No, I can't think of any." (or "How much is the starting pay.") When they ask you that it's a little bit of a loaded question - they're looking for you to dig in, to show that you're thinking. Look up their company and some of their "names" in advance if you have to, and be thinking of some questions for them, things you want to know about their culture, or the way they operate.

 

It looks like you're already doing some of the right things; volunteering, internships... just don't burn bridges and do make sure you come away from those things with connections and references, and you should be doing well.

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And *i, the arbitrary grade cutoff thing drives me nuts. It's contributing to the grade inflation treadmill.

 

Completely agree, Alorael. Unfortunately, I'm just stating facts about the world in which we live (hard GPA cutoffs for candidates that are mandated by company policies), not the one that ought to be (GPA is treated as a rough indicator of performance and is one of many factors that is evaluated to assess a candidate's future potential at a company).

 

I also should have stated in my original post tht I'm assuming a 3.0 normalized on a 4.0 scale.

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Just out of curiosity, when institutions look at GPA, do they focus more on the GPA of the courses in the main discipline or the general GPA campus-wide? For example, if one had a 3.65 GPA out of all the Biochemistry Major classes, but a 3.25 GPA in all classes needed for graduation, what do employers tend to look at more?

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It's kind of ridiculous, though. You can take mostly difficult, quantitative classes, work hard, and manage to come out with a 3.1 GPA. Or you can cherry pick the classes for easiness rather than content, leavened with a few of the softer sciences for non-majors, and coast to a 4.0. Which students has shown the the kind of determination that bodes well for employment? Which one has probably learned more useful skills?

 

 

 

The studies have shown that different departments normalize GPA to different levels. If you're taking physics or neuroscience you're likely to have an average grade a full point below the average in humanities classes.

 

—Alorael, who thinks the only mercy is that most people going into STEM fields need all those stem classes. A 4.0 without any STEM classes won't open the doors.

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I volunteered a lot in High School. I had a leadership internship at a political outreach organization for a year. I'm in a university pursuing a Biochemistry degree with a 3.0 GPA. I have no work experience. I can't find a job. I'm pretty much friendless. My parents have no connections. I can't find a job.

What do you guys recommend?

 

I'm asking on this forum because people usually have VERY long detailed posts. I assume everyone is well educated and can give a youngster some guidance on what to do with his life. Thank you. <3

 

What sort of jobs are available for people with a biochemistry degree?

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Yeah I think I have a really low GPA because I have not taken any GE classes. They have all been required classes such as Orgo, Bio, Chem, BioEng. Really brought down my grade but the classes were pretty interesting. I just couldn't do as well because teachers need to "keep a normal curve". I'm on a quarter system and it's past my second year. I'll try harder to get a higher GPA. Thanks for all the thoughts. It's opened my mind to try and start from the bottom if I can and work my way up.

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Any class that's a core class, something relevant like a bio or chem or science. If you have worse than a B in any of those, consider retaking that class during the summer to try to do better, if that's a possibility. A lot of times especially if you're applying to grad school or professional programs, they will disregard your overall GPA if your core area GPA is very strong. Just be judicious about it. A retake on your transcript looks better than a C, but a retake without improvement, does not look so good, so be sure you have the time to pull it off.

 

 

 

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I worked throughout highschool and college in a home for developmentally disabled people. I too was shy, but that job really helped bring me out of my shell. Plus, you get to pass meds and stuff like that, so it's (marginally) relevant to your degree (it's actually a great stepping stone to pharmacology, if that's something you might be interested in).

 

Best part, though, is that most people shy away from working with the disabled so it's a job that's pretty much always hiring. You could get a position easy in most areas. Plus, it tends to pay better than most work you can get with no experience (i.e. fastfood).

 

Seriously, though, I think people are being unrealistic when they suggest you look for positions directly related to biochemistry in some way (i.e. internships and what not). Jobs in biochemistry are hard to find even with a degree. You are still young. You don't need to find a career right now. You just need a job. If you aim too high and apply only to stuff relevant to your field, you probably aren't going to get anywhere. So just look for something, anything, you think you can do and do it. Then, once you have a real job and are working, you can focus on your career and start applying to other things that might be more relevant to your degree.

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A few others have mentioned looking for work in a research lab on campus, and I definitely support that sentiment. I'm also two years into college (albeit in real chemistry, not squishy biochem), and after a few emails and an easy in-person meeting with a professor, I'm working in his lab for the summer and possibly the rest of my time as an undergrad. Asking older students or TAs if any professor may have an open spot, even if it's just volunteering, is a great way to find positions.

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Depending upon the professor the job can range from janitorial work of cleaning equipment to I have an idea for an experiment and need someone to do it that can lead to a paper and be doing work like a graduate student.

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Depending upon the professor the job can range from janitorial work of cleaning equipment to I have an idea for an experiment and need someone to do it that can lead to a paper and be doing work like a graduate student.

to "We're gonna need another Timmy!"
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Depending upon the professor and the student the job can range from janitorial work of cleaning equipment to I have an idea for an experiment and need someone to do it that can lead to a paper and be doing work like a graduate student.

 

Fixed a typo. Pretty much any professor would love to have the second extreme case. If you can do it, you're probably not going to be shot down for it.

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Humanities degrees are no more or less worthless than most science/math degrees. These days the only way to be guaranteed a job out of college is professional degrees....nursing, teaching, some computer science degrees (depending on your skill set), etc.

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Humanities degrees are no more or less worthless than most science/math degrees. These days the only way to be guaranteed a job out of college is professional degrees....nursing, teaching, some computer science degrees (depending on your skill set), etc.

 

So it seems that its common knowledge as to what degrees may you employable. So why on earth do people take humanities/math/science degrees if they want a job at the end of it?

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So it seems that its common knowledge as to what degrees may you employable. So why on earth do people take humanities/math/science degrees if they want a job at the end of it?

 

the job market changes super fast nowadays. what makes you employable now may not make you employable in four years when you've finished your degree. teaching and nursing are pretty solid performers in terms of job security but also the pay is really low by the standards of any other profession requiring comparable qualifications

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the job market changes super fast nowadays.

That's true in some cases (such as IT), but have liberal arts degrees ever made you employable? When I went to university 10 years ago, it was well known that liberal arts degree had the value of toilet paper in regards to employability, so it's hardly a new phenomenom.

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That's true in some cases (such as IT), but have liberal arts degrees ever made you employable? When I went to university 10 years ago, it was well known that liberal arts degree had the value of toilet paper in regards to employability, so it's hardly a new phenomenom.

 

you'd be surprised. back in the mid-2000s philosophy majors made more money straight out of university than holders of literally any other undergrad degree

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Demands do change and sometimes what was considered useless may find use providing knowledge in a new company. Right now there is lots of demand for people that can provide content in different media fields.

 

When the Internet bubble popped last decade there was too much bandwidth capacity. Now that use has expanded to download media content and upload data storage to the cloud and more will be needed. Netflix used to be a mail order business that transitioned to the Internet.

 

Companies are hiring people to teach ethics, not that it seems to do any good. :)

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you'd be surprised. back in the mid-2000s philosophy majors made more money straight out of university than holders of literally any other undergrad degree

 

I find this hard to believe. I doubt there has ever been a real demand for philosophy majors, and suspect all the claims of increased earning potential come from university professors and advertisers rather than impartial scientific review. The amount of money you earn straight out of school isn't really reflective of the earning potential of the degree, since many other qualifications have a training year, or require further certifications (eg. medicine, pharmacy, accounting, law).

 

I'd argue that most professors (and even secondary school teachers) have no idea about our supply and demand economy, nor what employers expect in the real world. The fact is that liberal arts has no real practical application. Hell, it doesn't even qualify you for certifications that have practical application. You'd be way better off learning a trade. Even panel beaters and mechanics are making better money than many of my friends, who chose worthless degrees. Hell, you'd be better of just working in an unskilled job, rather than wasting years of your life and resources.

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It's true that most undergraduate degrees give you no solid qualifications for any particular jobs. Trade school is a fine alternative if you know you are fine pursuing that trade and the market for it is good and going to remain so. But having an undergraduate degree vastly expands your lifetime earnings over not going to college; in part this is because a B.A. has become a default qualification for lots of jobs that need some basic competence and have no other good filter, and in part because a good B.A. does teach those all-important but vague skills of close reading, clear writing, and critical thinking.

 

Colleges don't do a good job of filtering students into reasonable education for careers. Some try, but it's not the purpose of schools; there's argument about whether it should be, but it isn't yet. And the departments all thrive on having students, not how the students do later.

 

—Alorael, who recalls seeing the objective findings on salaries after various undergraduate degrees. Philosophy wasn't the top, but it was the best after the crunchiest STEM degrees and definitely the most lucrative of the humanities. The world doesn't need anyone with most undergrad degrees, but it needs people to fill lots of jobs that aren't directly fed into by any degree. It doesn't seem unreasonable that philosophy majors would do better in that arena than English or History or X Studies majors.

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It's true that most undergraduate degrees give you no solid qualifications for any particular jobs.

 

Most don't give you any qualifications that you could not obtain from working an unskilled job. If I were to talk to someone pursuing a degree which has practical application, but where the vocation has high competition (eg. engineering, law), I'd recommend they do casual work in an unrelated field. That way they have a reference who will vouch that they don't slack off or show up to work stoned. You can't always validate that from a degree alone, since most degrees these days don't even require that students attend lectures. Hell, some degrees don't even have exams. You could spend most of your time in college partying and still wing it.

 

Trade school is a fine alternative if you know you are fine pursuing that trade and the market for it is good and going to remain so.

 

The market for a trade will most certainly be better than that of a liberal arts degree. Even better, you can work for yourself, or start a business. Yeah, sure, being a tradie has its drawbacks (often dirty and hard on the body), but at least you will have gainful employment.

 

But having an undergraduate degree vastly expands your lifetime earnings over not going to college in part this is because a B.A. has become a default qualification for lots of jobs that need some basic competence and have no other good filter, and in part because a good B.A. does teach those all-important but vague skills of close reading, clear writing, and critical thinking.

 

Hahaha, this is just plain baloney spouted by professors who don't actually work in the real world. A B.A doesn't guarantee that the applicant is capable of close reading, clear writing, and critical thinking, and employers know this. Furthermore, a degree in more practical fields (such as medicine, law, engineering) actually *require* close reading, clear writing and critical thinking, while also providing you with clear avenues into gainful employment.

 

Colleges don't do a good job of filtering students into reasonable education for careers. Some try, but it's not the purpose of schools;

They could at least equip them with skills and knowledge that would either make them more employable, or start their own business . I can read leftist tripe on the internet in my own time, thank you very much, I don't need to pay for it to be crammed down my throat for 4 years.

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By the way, as an outsider (Australian) looking at the U.S.A, I can honestly say that you are all brainwashed with some sort of education complex, where everyone (from your parents, teachers, professors and HR) tells you that any tertiary education is better than none, even if it doesn't give you any concrete skills, and sucks away literally tens of thousands of dollars and years of your life.

 

When I was in my early 20's and had some time off (due to being unemployed because my Bachelor in Biomedical Science being as worthless as toilet paper), I was watching a crappy reality show. It was the child equivalent of Survivor. These kids, ranging from 5 years old to 12 years old, stayed at this cowboy ranch, and were separated into two different groups, and would have numerous competitions each week. At the end of each week, the best performing child would be awarded a literal gold star, which was worth $50,000 (I think). *Every* child awarded this star parroted the exact same thing: "I'm going to use this money to go to college."

 

What the hell? What 6 year old is thinking about how to finance their tertiary education? They don't know diddly squat about the real world or what is profitable, and they are already parroting the party line. There is *no way* that would happen in Australia. If you asked a 6 year old here what they would spend their money on, they would probably say lollies or an X-Box. Even if tertiary study was as expensive here as it was in America, they still wouldn't go spouting that, any more than they would say that they would use the star to finance a downpayment on their mortgage. Come to think about it, didn't you have a housing bubble over there because everyone was brainwashed to buy expensive housing? Hmm, I'm starting to see a trend here.

 

You guys just don't realize how ridiculous you look to us. From the age of 6 you are taught to chase these degrees which have have as much value as Enron stocks, which teach you some vague 'skills' that leave you in debt and short of 4-8 years of your life. It's like watching watching Ouroboros eating its own tail. Just like people were sunk into debt from buying their overpriced pile of bricks and wood, a whole generation of young adults is going into debt over overpriced pieces of paper.

 

Like Nikki, I took an undergrad degree which wasn't that good for employment. However, unlike him, I've only got myself to blame. I wasn't brainwashed, I just didn't know what I was going to do at that point in my life, and didn't have exposure to the real world. That's not to say that the university didn't promote the course with absolutely laughable 'advantages', such as "If you do this degree, you can study post-graduate medicine afterwords!" Yeah, you don't say. Pretty much any degree qualified you for post-grad medicine if you took the right electives. And I can't blame employers for not taking the degree too seriously, because it was as easy as pie. I only learnt about what real study was when I took a post-graduate degree.

 

Thankfully I've bounced back by studying in an unrelated field. Now, I can pick up the phone and cold call employers, and have a new job within the day. As much as my job can suck at times, you have no idea what a liberating experience this is when you used to trawl though the newspaper for weeks, applying for jobs that are way below your expertise, and still getting knocked back because you don't have any actual work experience.

 

My advice to Nikki would be to go and get a qualification which will guarantee him gainful employment. Hell, you're better off picking a certification in a job you hate, because there is nothing more crushing to your self-esteem than sitting around the house all day realising that you have less value to the real world than people who have actual work experience in unskilled jobs.

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By the way, as an outsider (Australian) looking at the U.S.A, I can honestly say that you are all brainwashed with some sort of education complex, where everyone (from your parents, teachers, professors and HR) tells you that any tertiary education is better than none, even if it doesn't give you any concrete skills, and sucks away literally tens of thousands of dollars and years of your life.

 

there are a lot of office jobs where the minimum qualification is "literally any Bachelor's degree" -- they flat-out won't consider candidates who don't have one at all, so what degree you have can matter less than just having a degree. in theory the idea is that having a degree proves you have the skills needed to get a degree, in practice it's a method of class stratification -- having a degree proves you're the kind of person who can afford to get a degree. this happens in Australia to some extent but these days it's become near-universal among white-collar jobs in the US

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there are a lot of office jobs where the minimum qualification is "literally any Bachelor's degree" -- they flat-out won't consider candidates who don't have one at all, so what degree you have can matter less than just having a degree.

 

I've never seen this. But if that is true, that's an office job which would offer little in the way of stability or gainful employment, and is hardly anything to aspire to. And if a tertiary qualification is required, you'd still be way better off getting a degree which provides you with in-demand skills or knowledge.

 

in theory the idea is that having a degree proves you have the skills needed to get a degree, in practice it's a method of class stratification -- having a degree proves you're the kind of person who can afford to get a degree. this happens in Australia to some extent but these days it's become near-universal among white-collar jobs in the US

 

That's not true. In the U.S.A, you can take out oodles in student loans to study a degree, and pay back the loan once you find a job (note that this debt is NOT dischargable via bankruptcy). Having a degree is not evidence that you are financially well off, any more than having finance for a McMansion before the housing bubble was evidence that you were a millionaire.

 

The U.S had the housing bubble, now it is having an education bubble.

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That's not true. In the U.S.A, you can take out oodles in student loans to study a degree, and pay back the loan once you find a job (note that this debt is NOT dischargable via bankruptcy). Having a degree is not evidence that you are financially well off, any more than having finance for a McMansion before the housing bubble was evidence that you were a millionaire.

 

you're confusing class with income here. being able to afford to do something isn't literally just about being able to somehow acquire the money to do it

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you're confusing class with income here. being able to afford to do something isn't literally just about being able to somehow acquire the money to do it

 

I'm confusing neither. I pointed out that virtually anyone can afford a degree in the U.S.A. Having a degree doesn't give an employer any indication whatsoever of your financial situation.

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I'm confusing neither. I pointed out that virtually anyone can afford a degree in the U.S.A. Having a degree doesn't give an employer any indication whatsoever of your financial situation.

 

again, class isn't just about your financial situation, and your financial situation isn't just about how much money you have or earn right at this moment. if you have a family to care for, for example, then you're less likely to be able to take the time off work to get a degree. therefore, hiring only people with degrees means you'll get a higher fraction of employees who are able and willing to put career above family, which is a marker of class status in the US

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again, class isn't just about your financial situation,

 

I never raised the issue of class, you did. I may have never got a degree in Liberal Arts or Philosophy, but I know a strawman fallacy when I see one.

 

if you have a family to care for, for example, then you're less likely to be able to take the time off work to get a degree.

 

'If you have a family to care for' being the operative words here. Many people complete their degree before they have a family.

 

therefore, hiring only people with degrees means you'll get a higher fraction of employees who are able and willing to put career above family,

 

Not true. Indeed, I'd argue that people who intend to have a family will be motivated to get a degree, as they are led to believe that this will increase their earning potential, thereby allowing them to better take care of their children financially.

 

which is a marker of class status in the US

 

You're using 'class status' as some vague term that can be defined however you please when convenient. This may surprise you, but I'm not interested in listening to you pontificate about class stratification in the U.S.A, as you don't have any qualifications that make you an authority on the matter. As both an employee and a manager outside of academia, I have some idea as to how employers view worthless bachelor's degrees.

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I never raised the issue of class, you did. I may have never got a degree in Liberal Arts or Philosophy, but I know a strawman fallacy when I see one.

 

i did, and then you started talking about financial stuff, so i attempted to rerail the discussion

 

'If you have a family to care for' being the operative words here. Many people complete their degree before they have a family.

 

which is also a marker of class status. people from working-class backgrounds are more likely to have children early, or to have parents who aren't financially self-sufficient

 

Not true. Indeed, I'd argue that people who intend to have a family will be motivated to get a degree, as they are led to believe that this will increase their earning potential, thereby allowing them to better take care of their children financially.

 

i don't know what to tell you; i'm basically repeating the explanation that was given to me by someone who actually works in HR in the US as to why he won't hire anyone without a degree -- they haven't proven that they're the "right kind of people" (i.e. people willing to drop everything for four years to pursue a personal goal)

 

You're using 'class status' as some vague term that can be defined however you please when convenient. This may surprise you, but I'm not interested in listening to you pontificate about class stratification in the U.S.A, as you don't have any qualifications that make you an authority on the matter. As both an employee and a manager outside of academia, I have some idea as to how employers view worthless bachelor's degrees.

 

okay, so if all of this is true, then why do people with a bachelor's degree (and no further educational qualifications) earn on average about 25% more than those with only an associate degree, and nearly twice as much as those with no degree? i mean you're the one trying to explain away the facts here

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i did, and then you started talking about financial stuff, so i attempted to rerail the discussion

 

If you don't want to discuss the financial element, you shouldn't have stated that class structure is linked to what an individual can afford. If you meant to use 'afford' in a non-financial context, then you only have yourself to blame for being vague with your usage of the English language. Perhaps you should take a degree in English to brush up on your sloppy terminology? :)

 

 

i don't know what to tell you; i'm basically repeating the explanation that was given to me by someone who actually works in HR in the US as to why he won't hire anyone without a degree -- they haven't proven that they're the "right kind of people" (i.e. people willing to drop everything for four years to pursue a personal goal)

 

And I've talked to multiple employers and managers, both inside and outside of the U.S, who have told me otherwise. Indeed, employers love people with families, as they are the perfect wage slave, who live paycheck to paycheck in order to finance their family.

 

okay, so if all of this is true, then why do people with a bachelor's degree (and no further educational qualifications) earn on average about 25% more than those with only an associate degree, and nearly twice as much as those with no degree? i mean you're the one trying to explain away the facts here

 

You're conflating useful bachelor degrees with all bachelor degrees, so that's a logic fallacy right there. Oh, and using wikipedia as a reference? Is that what passes for a reliable source in academia these days?

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Oh, and using wikipedia as a reference? Is that what passes for a reliable source in academia these days?

 

the article cites its source right below that table. the US Census Bureau is about as reliable a source of income statistics as you could hope for; the data is available publicly directly from the bureau if you want to fact-check it, but tabulated in a less convenient format. at this point i'm no longer willing to treat you as arguing in good faith and i'd encourage you to leave the thread if you don't have any further advice for the OP

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Unless you chose law which has a huge cost and low prospects for employment at the moment.

That's also not an undergrad degree in the United States, although it is in most of the rest of the world.

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Maybe there's more to it than "how easy is it to get a job" and "how many dollars will I get". Maybe there are people out there who would prefer to work they're way up to the point where they can make a living doing what they love over taking an easy-to-secure job they'll hate. And you know what, that's perfectly okay. If that's a risk they want to take then all the power to 'em.

 

Certain people seem to enjoy using words like "doubt" and "suspect" in this topic without backing themselves up. Facts and sources, people! Especially if you're going to go out of your way to pick a fight.

 

I'm getting a vibe that certain people think the only metric important to success is salary. This is far from the truth. Yes, its a big deal, but its hardly the only factor. I could work 100 hours a week and be swimming in cash. Would I be happy? Certainly not.

 

So what is success, then? Every person on this planet probably had their own thought on that. The simple answer is that success is the yardstick we use to judge ourselves. What I consider to be success right now might be considered failure to someone else. But that's fine.

 

From a more practical point, its pretty hard to point at one thing and say "nope, that's useless". Which is essentially what this argument has been. Look at the historical greats. Most of them had a lot of "hats". Many of them where known for advancements in many fields, both in science and arts. Nowadays, its a lot harder to successfully wear multiple hats, simply due to the prereqs of getting to an advanced position in the field. Here's where fools cone in: someone who wears their hat proudly but looks down on other hats. "My hat is the most important and most practical. Your hat is rubbish" the fool might proclaim. The fool says this because they don't know a thing about that hat. Okay, whatever. Its like the yardstick of success, no two are quite the same.

 

Really, we as a global society are all wearing the hats by proxy. We are now one distributed "person" wearing many hats. Science is the brain of this person, but arts are the heart. It doesn't take a doctor to tell you people usually die when one of those are missing.

 

But "arts are horrible, they'll never get a job! Scientists are just eggheads who can't dream". This brings us back to the yardstick. You can't compare one persons success to another's because there's no universal yardstick to success. If Nikki used his yardstick to measure me, it wouldn't work. If I used my yardstick to measure ghaldring, it wouldn't work. Because that's not how these things go. If you think your yardstick is universal then you're a universal ass.

Edited by sylae
this probably makes no sense and rambles . whatever, its late and im tired
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I pointed out that virtually anyone can afford a degree in the U.S.A.

 

Whoa, hold on a second here. Did you really say this? Do you have any idea what you're saying here? Do you understand the cost of higher education?

 

Also, as a note - there is a lot more to going to college than getting a degree to get money. I'm not spending four years of my life for the sole purpose of making more money when I'm done. Not by a long shot.

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Hahaha, this is just plain baloney spouted by professors who don't actually work in the real world. A B.A doesn't guarantee that the applicant is capable of close reading, clear writing, and critical thinking, and employers know this. Furthermore, a degree in more practical fields (such as medicine, law, engineering) actually *require* close reading, clear writing and critical thinking, while also providing you with clear avenues into gainful employment.

 

They could at least equip them with skills and knowledge that would either make them more employable, or start their own business . I can read leftist tripe on the internet in my own time, thank you very much, I don't need to pay for it to be crammed down my throat for 4 years.

In the US, at least, obsession over the exploding cost of college education has produced vast amounts of inspection of the value of college. In monetary terms, mostly; as Sylae points out, that's not the only metric. But although I haven't sought out the data, I'm pretty sure the college-educated have a greater tendency to work nine to five and not grotesque hours. (Having post-graduate degrees also increases your rate of being overworked!)

 

Anyway, a good rundown is in this article, which will send you to lots of research showing that you get your money's worth.

 

Ultimately it looks like you had a bad experience with your undergrad degree but managed to better with further study. I'm happy for you, but your anecdote does not make data. And you're not a counterexample; you do have that undergrad credential. An undergrad degree is certainly no guaranteed pass to a comfortable life, and it's much less certain now than it was just a decade ago, but having a degree, any degree, still soundly trounces not having the education.

 

—Alorael, who isn't going to take up the long back and forth over class and finances. Because it's ultimately being dragged down by a false assertion. Perhaps in Australia it's different, but in the USA there are vast numbers of white-collar jobs that will not, for whatever reason, consider applicants without an undergrad degree. Right or wrong, rational or ludicrous, the B.A. is a gatekeeping tool for employers. You will have trouble working in a cubicle without one. And no matter how much everyone hates the cubicle, it's several steps above what many people out of high school end up doing. If you're not going to be one of the much-touted genius dropouts who start a mutli-biliion dollar business you probably want the qualifications to work for one of those geniuses.

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Maybe there's more to it than "how easy is it to get a job" and "how many dollars will I get". Maybe there are people out there who would prefer to work they're way up to the point where they can make a living doing what they love over taking an easy-to-secure job they'll hate. And you know what, that's perfectly okay. If that's a risk they want to take then all the power to 'em.

 

That's naive claptrap. In the real world, if you don't have rich parents or a loaded spouse, you're going to need to make money. And you make money by doing what society demands, not what you personally want. That doesn't mean you can't pursue your other interests, it just means if you're going to drop 4 years of your life and $50,000 on a degree, you should at least consider the economics of it.

 

And if it's not all about money, then why the hell do these degrees cost an arm and a leg?

 

Certain people seem to enjoy using words like "doubt" and "suspect" in this topic without backing themselves up. Facts and sources, people! Especially if you're going to go out of your way to pick a fight.

 

Hmm. I 'doubt' that you're older than 20, and 'suspect' you've never had to tough it out in the real world. This is based on my observation that you spout the same nonsense I did before I was hit upside the head by the working world.

 

A less presumptious name said:

Whoa, hold on a second here. Did you really say this? Do you have any idea what you're saying here? Do you understand the cost of higher education?

Oh for goodness sake. Go back and read my posts in their entirety.

 

Alorael:

Anyway, a good rundown is in this article, which will send you to lots of research showing that you get your money's worth.

 

Like Thuryl, you're conflating useful degrees with all degrees.

 

Ultimately it looks like you had a bad experience with your undergrad degree but managed to better with further study. I'm happy for you, but your anecdote does not make data.

 

So you're discarding real world experience and relying on a study which doesn't support your main contention. Are you a teacher?

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