Avoid The College Black Hole: Why Higher Education Alone Won't Get You Hired

For many Millennials, college presents the first opportunity in life to live independently and to mold personal identities. Higher education has become nearly essential in life, even amongst the naysayers who diminish its value because of the tough employment markets. But college has always been about developing certain core competencies in order to help enable individual success, regardless of the chosen major of study — though it is in no way a ticket to employment.

Many people have certainly accomplished amazing feats without a degree, but college is designed to teach students how to think deeply and to develop problem-solving skills, in the most basic sense. In addition to acquiring an invaluable skill set, a college education allows students to become worldly and knowledgeable individuals. Knowledge is opportunity.

With a few of these benefits in mind, a thought that resonates with many Gen-Yers is “once I graduate from college and get a degree, I will get a job and become self-sufficient and worry free.” Newsflash: This is not how things always work out! Deliberate planning most directly leads to success. Today’s workforce is transient and does not hesitate to transition between jobs to get a desired happiness quotient, both in terms of compensation and quality of life.

This, combined with unsettling economic times and increased flow of information due to technology, may demand a different strategy in light of the increased competition for employment. College is necessary in so many ways, but can lead to a treacherous beginning to “real world” life. If not handled properly, Millennials are at risk for living in their parents’ house longer than they may have originally planned.

Millennials should be keenly aware of the evil college black hole that sucks in so many of them and wreaks havoc on their futures. Going to college provides great room for false hope. Jobs in this economy require forward planning and a strategy to obtain, which means positioning yourself to employers in a way that makes them want to employ you.

More than ever, well-educated and qualified students are getting degrees and cannot find work because they were too complacent during their college years. That great GPA, which once seemed like enough to satisfy your obligation to plan, isn’t enough. Unfortunately, many realize this when they are trying to make ends meet, while they are underemployed and still paying off student loans.

In a recent interview, former US Secretary of Education William Bennett said that his research shows that only 150 of the 3,500 US colleges are worth their price tags in terms of return on investment. But, the impact of future planning on a person’s ability to succeed in the employment world was omitted from this analysis. Someone’s personality and skill set will likely have a high impact on how hireable someone is.

The most important thing to realize about college is the abundance of opportunities waiting to be taken. There are 10,080 minutes in every week.  Strategic forward planning may only require mere minutes out of each week if done with consistency and persistence — and it’ll have a massive impact in life. This small future investment will leave enough time for recreation, employment, school and relaxation.

Also, it will likely create much more time and a better quality of life. Remember, who you are today is only who you have been; living in the past is a surefire way to miss out on amazing opportunities today that will allow for a better tomorrow.

Photo Credit: St. Johns College