A College Degree - Not For Everyone (2/5/09)

For a long time now, one of America's most widely-accepted beliefs has been that everyone should do whatever they can to get a four-year college degree. But is this really true?

Sure, we've all heard that college graduates earn a million dollars more on average in their lifetimes than non-graduates. But is that BECAUSE they have that degree? Or are they more likely to have that degree because they were already wired for that kind of success?

And speaking of success -- who's to say it can only come in an environment that demands a diploma, a network of fraternity buddies and a coat and tie? I know a lot of people who seem to have been born to be plumbers, electricians, mechanics and many other things that didn't require a college degree. And the ones with enough drive and common sense to match their skills are living very well, indeed.

The truth is, society does a lot of people a disservice by insisting a four-year college degree is essential for everyone. Many people are simply better off in trade schools or junior colleges - or in apprenticeship programs. And many who do take a stab at college incur significant debt before dropping out in a year or two, burdening themselves needlessly for many years to come.

Don't misunderstand. I believe in education. I also think our colleges are essential.  But I also believe education comes in many forms and that there are many different paths one can follow in pursuit of success.

I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.