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Does your child really need college?

By Catholic Online
July 13th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

No one doubts the value of higher education, but you should really analyze the situation if putting your child through school will accrue a substantial amount of debt. Jennifer Derrick, with the Saving Advice Web site argues that a college education in not necessarily a gateway to a better life.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Obviously some fields require college. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, scientist, engineer, teacher, or architect, for example, college is the only way to go," Derrick says. "Other fields value skills that can be taught in college, but not exclusively. Many tech jobs are more about programming skills, for example, that can be mastered in your garage just as well as in a college classroom. The same holds true for many trades," she writes.

Derrick says that many potential employers are looking at prospective employees with practical, real-life experiences in lieu of smart people with a college degree. "Our world is changing and in a lot of ways it's going in reverse. In days gone by, it was your skills that mattered. If you could turn out a product, grow a crop, or repair something, you would never have trouble finding work.

"Now things are changing. Many employers value the skill set more than the demonstrated ability to be taught. They want to know: Can you make this product? Can you create this design? Can you program this application? Can you write this copy? Employers no longer have the time or the money to invest in taking an intelligent kid and teaching them the specific skills they need," Derrick says.

"Employers want people who can come in, hit the ground running, and start churning out products from the first day on the job. College degrees may carry a certain cachet, but beyond a few specific fields, they don't teach the concrete skills needed by employers," she concludes.

Derrick does not totally discount college education, and says that universities prepare many people for the real world. However, with the increasing costs of education, coupled with ever mounting college loan debt in the United States, practical alternatives must always be considered when determining your child's future.

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