Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poking a Hole in Blogger Seth Grodin’s Higher Ed Melt Down Idea

In the Pacific Northwest this morning, I woke up to a storm of Tweets about Seth Grodin’s catastrophic blog post on higher education’s future. While I like some of Seth’s work and agree with many of his points in this post, I disagree with his view that:
“4. The correlation between a typical college degree and success is suspect..The solutions are obvious....[t]hings like gap years, research internships and entrepreneurial or social ventures...”
Gap years, internships & entrepreneurial ventures are great options or alternatives for some students (particularly single people with access to parents’ money), but to say that the link between traditional education and success is suspect is just plain wrong. I’d like to know what “data [he’s] seeing” that supports his view; I know there are statistics showing the opposite.

Some might say I’m biased because I work for a company that provides career guidance resources to students and schools.  But the science and data don’t lie.  Not everyone is entrepreneurial and social - as over 30 years of research with Holland’s Theory of Career Choice has shown. And many satisfying, well-paying jobs require a college degree, certificate or formal training. Is there anything wrong with being an engineer instead of a self-made entrepreneur or blogger? (I don’t think so).

The real problem is that many people go to college and choose a college major with little to no career planning.  What do you want to get out of your education? What areas of study interest you the most? If you don’t know or are not ready to decide, wait to go to school until you do. The obvious solution to this problem is to make a series of good career decisions throughout your life.

Hasty, directionless education choices are not all the fault of school counselors or parents.  Individuals need to take control of their own destiny, even though it’s more difficult for young people more easily swayed by peers, parents, and marketing. We need to create a more open, honest discussion of all career options people have - and to help people do the work (and yes, have the fun) necessary to explore them. Sometimes that means college, a gap year, job shadowing, or a Road Trip

If more students made high-quality, creative career and education decisions, with the help and support of parents, counselors, and even peers, more people would enjoy success from a college education.

Let’s focus on supporting creative, well-researched career decisions for everyone instead of overemphasizing entrepreneurial, non-traditional career paths. Choosing to be an entrepreneur is no better or worse than someone choosing to be an engineer - the important thing is to choose a series of career paths throughout your life that fit your interests and your passions.

1 comment:

Laura E. Sanchez-Gonzalez said...

I read his post and I totally disagree with his posture about higher education, I think it is totally wrong and send the wrong message to prospective students.

Thoughts of a Career Woman