What is a College Degree Worth in Generation Z?

The college degree! Our parents always reminded us about the importance of having one. Is it still important?

Forbes says that the college degree is the new high school diploma. You probably have a high school diploma. You are not alone. 200+ million Americans have one.

So, how valuable is a college degree nowadays?

Srikant Vasan, founder and president of Portmont College at Mount St. Mary’s, says

the return on investment in college education clearly goes down as the return decreases with the decreasing probability of finding employment, especially employment at higher salaries, and investment increases with the rising costs of college…. students should check out alternatives to college degrees.

Does a person need to complete graduate school to have the best chances in the corporate world?

It depends. A college degree does not necessarily have a default net worth.

The truth is that some college graduates have accepted an entry-level career with McDonald's and Walmart. Also, the truth is that there are college graduates working in leadership roles for a Fortune 500 or Inc. 5000 company.

No level of higher education is going to guarantee your success. It is your job to be the guarantor by not giving up.

Can a college graduate make more money than a college dropout? Yes.

Can a college dropout make more money than a college graduate? Yes.

Does a college graduate have a higher earning potential of a college dropout? It depends on the industry.

Twenty years ago, our parents’ advice was to go to college because graduating with a degree guarantees us a great career. Here we are now in the 21st century with more students than ever enrolling in college.

How valuable is a college degree nowadays if Forbes and The Washington Post are equating it to a high school diploma?

How valuable is a college degree if one-third of the courses are irrelevant to the major?

Occidental College offers a course called Stupidity. The course examines the stupidity felt in political life, ranging from the presidency to Beavis and Butthead. 

Many people see these acts on the television daily. Is it such a course really going to prepare a student for the workplace?

Stanford University offers a course called Technology and Culture: Virtual People. The course teaches students about the importance of having a really good looking avatar in social networking situations and virtual worlds.

You can continue reading after you are finished laughing.

The University of South Carolina offers a course called Lady Gaga and The Sociology of Fame. The course unravels the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga with respect to her music, videos, fashion, and other artistic endeavors.

Another interesting class… I am just wondering how many employers are going to be impressed about these graduates’ knowledge of Lady Gaga.

While college graduates do stand a better chance of landing a job than college dropouts, they are being left with jobs that would also be offered to a person without a degree. 1 in 3 college graduates has a job historically performed by those with a high school diploma or a GED. Over 284,000 college graduates had minimum wage jobs last year.

As students graduate with a huge debt burden, it is those types of jobs that will make living difficult for them. The Associated Press found that half of young college graduates are either jobless or underemployed.

Some experts argue that attending college has become less about learning actual skills and more about simply paying to have a degree. According to Time Magazine, 36% of students failed to demonstrate any improved learning in their 4 year study.

Is it worth going to college? It depends on the major.

If you feel that it is not worth it, consider some of these professions that do not require a college degree.

Automobile Body Technicians:

National Estimates

Minimum annual salary: $22,530

Average annual salary: $41,840

Maximum annual salary: $65,390


National Estimates

Minimum annual salary: $30,420

Average annual salary: $53,030

Maximum annual salary: $82,930

Executive Assistants:

National Estimates

Minimum annual salary: $31,310

Average annual salary: $50,220

Maximum annual salary: $73,530

Building Inspectors:

National Estimates

Minimum annual salary: $32,050

Average annual salary: $55,230

Maximum annual salary: $83,760

Web Developers:

National Estimates

Minimum annual salary: $33,550

Average annual salary: $66,100

Maximum annual salary: $105,200

If you do not have a college degree, your potential is not limited. Limits only exist in the mind. You can break those limits by setting the intention and start reaching your finish line.

This is an excerpt of my book, Reaching The Finish Line: Discovering The Champion in You.