Dan Holliday, J'ai lu.
Mise à jour il y a 141w · En vedette sur Distractify · L'auteur dispose de réponses 14.5k et de vues de réponses 121.3m
Yes. Also no. But the truth is: It's almost always a HUGE mistake.
The stupidest degree is the one that doesn't pay you back. A law degree from a premier university is "the stupidest degree" if you're going into fashion merchandising. In the end, there is no stock answer. A Liberal Arts degree may be the best degree in the world -- IF you are going to use it. If not, then get something else that is [a] in demand by the market and [b] likely to prepare you best for the rapid-changing world of work.
When in doubt. . . (scroll to the end).
I'm going to explain something to you first that most kids don't get. I plea. I beg. I desperately tell kids this and they don't listen. Kids are so dumb. Here's the nugget of what I'm telling you: Education in the US is cheaper than you think. You've just been lied to for years about how expensive it is and are likely prepared to spend more than you should.
This will tie into your arts libéraux question momentarily. Please bear with me.
In some rare circumstances, your Stanford or Duke or Harvard or MIT or Caltech or Princeton education will give you an ROI. But for the most of us, the people entering the general work force, the "where" you got your degree doesn't matter (just don't get an online one, unless it's from a brick-and-mortar school; more on that later). In all 50 states, there are community colleges. All of them have a university partnership. If you pursue your select degree from there, then you can literally graduate with little to nothing in debt.
But how does this answer your question.
The answer is that the only degree that is useless is the one that doesn't pay you back. How does this work?
If you're rich and your parents will pay for your degree, then it doesn't really matter. Just get whatever degree you want from whatever school you want. You won't graduate with a ton of debt and having a degree (here's the answer) is always better than no degree at all.
There are questions that you need to ask:
- Will you go on to get a graduate, post-graduate degrees?
- Will you be going into a field like science or teaching or business or IT?
- How much debt can you afford to accrue?
But full stop. That's about it. If you must pay for your degree out of your pocket, then a Liberal Arts degree, while better than nothing, is the single most useless degree ever invented. I'm a recruiter. I'm not a college professor shilling things to you to make you feel better. The collegiate way of looking at valuable degrees is different.
From a recruiter's stand point, the degree in question is utterly pointless. It's the kind of degree that most of us see and think, "There's someone who wandered aimlessly through college." And the numbers don't lie -- it's kind of true. But, the flip side to this is, many companies will never hire someone without a degree and this degree + experience is as good as psychology or general education or basket weaving. Most do want it to be a brick-and-mortar college and with special "negative" attention to University of Phoenix, DeVry, Capella -- they consider them substandard (and with good reason, some are). The college degree is there to open many doors that will otherwise be shut to you; you need the right degree to be that key.
If you insist on getting this degree and if you're going to enter the general work force, then you should go to a community college and use the university partnership. Get this degree, accrue little debt. Nobody will care where you got your degree from.
If you're going on to do post-graduate kind of stuff, then the university you get it from may matter, and you should take that into consideration. You should also take into consideration the odds of landing a good teaching job that will pay you back for that. Still may be better to take the university partnership at your local community college and get that university stamped on your diploma.
If you are flexible in your degree options, are going into banking or retail or business of some kind, get a degree that is directed at that area. It sucks that the job market does this to young people, but you need something that will look good on paper. The university partnership at your local community college will be good enough. Us that. Save money.
If you are aiming for Microsoft or Google or Facebook or LinkedIn or Apple, then you need a premier university on your diploma. Okay, you don't absolutely need it, but it helps. Stanford, MIT and CalTec are all industry leaders and their alumni network + their name on your diploma will open doors that Ohio State or CUNY won't open.
Companies generally don't care where you studied. They really don't. Because if this, your first mission is to assess your career goals and choose the right university path. Sometimes this means NO university (maybe an apprenticeship). If you get that squared away, then you need to choose the right degree. Sorry to inform you -- the world lied to you.
You don't get to just "be passionate and follow your heart". You've gotta' get some ROI or you'll have wasted all this precious time. First -- assess the best career path. Second -- choose the right university. Third -- choose the right degree. Don't get seduced by the nicest college near you. Go for price. Chance are you don't need the private education -- god knows, nobody beyond a few niche companies care about them.
When in doubt, if you know college is good for you and is your correct path (instead of, say, plumbing or carpentry):
- If you're math inclined: BSc Chemistry, Physics or best yet, Engineering.
- If you're IT inclined: Bachelors of Computer Science (the "Computer Science" is better than "IT")
- If you're business inclined: Bachelors of Administration, Accounting or Project Management (which is useful for all managers).
- If you think you might go the medical route: DO NOT get a "pre-med" degree. Go for BSc in Nursing + all the requirements. If you have to quit, at least you've got that degree.
Degrees to avoid: BSc Psychology , Liberal Arts, Marketing or General Studies. These degrees are ONLY niche useful and mostly as a route to higher studies.
Who I've recruited for:
- Cleveland Clinic
- Banque de clés
- US Steel
- PNC Bank
- Cinquième-troisième banque
- Berkshire-Hathaway / Lubrizol
- Progressive Insurance
- Nationwide Insurance
- Allstate Insurance
- City of Cleveland
- Huntington Bank
- Duke Energy
- TimeWarner Cable
- US Department of Defense / DFAS
- Mutuelle médicale
- Procter & Gamble
- GE Lighting
Not one has ever cared about the university someone attended.
Jennifer E. Janes, Professional Patient and Medical Social Worker
Répondu il y a 90w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 112 et de vues de réponses 865.2k
This is a much more complex question than it would first appear.
The most important issue is to decide if you can get a job you would like (or could at least stand) with the major in question, regardless of whether it is a humanities major or STEM major or what have you. If your dream job doesn’t require a specific major, go for what makes you happy. Whatever you do, don’t major in anything—even if job opportunities with that major abound, and the major itself makes you happy—if the job opportunities that major would produce would make you miserable. You do need to plan for the future.
Let me clarify by giving you a personal example. When I was in college, I planned to continue on to medical school. The health professions advisors told all the pre-meds to major in what makes you happy, because as long as you had the proper science pre-requisites, you could go to medical school, anyway. I chose to major in Biology because BIOLOGY made me happy—at least as a major. I have always found Biology fascinating, and I enjoyed studying it. The problem was, once I graduated, I decided I didn’t want to go to medical school, after all, and there are only 2 other realistic options for a Biology major: More schooling (maybe a PhD), or research.
Here’s the problem: Either of those options led to lots of research in my future, and I hated research. I did cancer research for a few years for lack of better options while I tried to figure out what else to do with my life. I never liked research because a.) it’s very competitive and surprisingly high-pressure, because everyone is always under pressure to publish, publish, publish, and b.) I am the type of person who needs some concrete results every so often to have job satisfaction. And with Biological/Medical research, your experiments can potentially last years before reaching a satisfying conclusion. I am just not built that way.
So even though Biological research had lots of job opportunities and I enjoyed studying it, it was the wrong major for me.
That being said, I would encourage anyone to undertake a liberal arts program/curriculum, regardless of major. I went to a liberal arts college, and a certain number of courses in various humanities fields were required to graduate. I became a better critical thinker and a better human being because of the college I went to. I will always be grateful for my undergraduate education for those reasons. As they say, education is what is left after you have forgotten everything you learned. I no longer have the Kreb’s cycle memorized, but I have a better understanding of how the world operates and a more comprehensive worldview because of my college experience.
David Schneider, Professor Emeritus of Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
Répondu il y a 93w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 2.1k et de vues de réponses 9.9m
Réponse d'origine: Is it a bad idea to major in the humanities? Given the cost of college, is majoring in the humanities, even if you're passionate about your major, a bad idea?
Getting a good education is not about getting a good job. Now that’s a value judgment but one I would defend strongly although not here because it would take too many words. You should major in what you have a passion for. Life is too short to major in something that you don’t like because you think it will get you a better job.
In the first place contrary to what some have claimed here people with humanities degrees generally do get jobs, generally not the best paying ones. If not the unemployment rate among college graduates would be high, and it’s actually fairly low. There are some college degrees that translate easily into careers: engineering, many science degrees, often economics, obviously business. But you’ll not see many job postings for someone with a degree in philosophy, or even psychology. My most recent experiences have been at an elite college and although I can’t recall the exact figure the jobs rate 6 mo after graduation (minus those who went to graduate school) was well over 90%. That included engineers (no business majors) so perhaps the rate for humanities folks was somewhat smaller. Things may be somewhat less favorable at less elite places. There are data on such matters — each college collects them. I taught psychology which is generally a pretty worthless degree for getting a job unless you develop statistics skills, and all the kids (I am talking about 100s) I knew got jobs. Again, not necessarily their dream job or one that paid enough for them to have a nice new apartment and a restaurant habit.
It’s always hard to generalize, but first of all personal experiences don’t count for much. There are lots of reasons people get jobs or don’t. Major isn’t necessarily the only or most important reasons. Humanities majors potentially do have a major advantage, namely the ability to express themselves clearly. That’s not unique to humanities major, of course, but someone who majors in a humanities area should certainly work on those skills, just as social science majors should be work to have good analytic and statistical skills. Our engineering departments recently mandated one or two writing courses because too many graduates got jobs but couldn’t advance far because they couldn’t write a clear sentence.
As I say whatever personal experiences people mention (including mine) shouldn’t necessarily influence your choice of major. Quora is a wonderful forum, but it’s not especially good for this type of question. All colleges have career services offices. Ask them, and they will be able to give you a straight forward answer that is relevant to the particular college and to a certain extent general job situation. As I say they have data on job success by major and perhaps GPA and other such variables.
A couple of other things to keep in mind. First young people are likely to make many career changes during their lifetime, some within the same general area and some not. It is possible that over time those who have prepared themselves with s specific major will be less flexible about making the necessary changes. No one knows because things are changing so rapidly without a clear predictive trajectory. Jobs in general don’t draw heavily on the specific skills and bit of acquired information that college graduates have at their disposal, Not many jobs require a student to know the difference between Freud and Skinner , or Proust and Hugo. More general skills such as expression and ability to synthesize which generally do develop with college may be more relevant in the long run. And also keep in mind that many college graduates end up going to graduate school (law, business, various programs devoted to environmental issues, etc.) Increasingly a college degree is just a place to start.
And here’s another hint. If you’re concerned with return on investment, make sure that the reward side is long range. As I have said almost all humanities majors make less than say engineers starting out. There used to be data suggesting that liberal arts kids started out lower but ended up higher — maybe still true, I haven’t looked it up. It’s hard to be poor when you’re a recent graduate and working at a low paying job. But young people can do that; people who are 40 are less successful at it. Your goal is to try to project what you will be making when you’re 40 (again if you’re emphasizing return on investment). There are data that can help with that projection.
Dawn Meade, Senior AV Architect /Project Manager at Government Contractors
Mise à jour il y a 9w
Réponse d'origine: Is it a bad idea to major in the humanities? Given the cost of college, is majoring in the humanities, even if you're passionate about your major, a bad idea?
Except for a few specific fields, most careers in the 'real world' don't care what major you have... and with proper perspective, any major can be spun as a positive. I went to a liberal arts college and double-majored in English and Dramatic Arts/Dance. Useless, right? Au contraire! As I tell people, the liberal arts college gave me a well-rounded basis of knowledge of the world. The English major assures that I can read critically and write admirably. The Dramatic Arts major assures that I understand the importance of image and what we project, as well as assuring that I can present and speak publicly with self-confidence and poise - after all, what is public speaking and presentation but performance? I sell my 'useless' undergraduate degrees in a way that emphasizes their benefit to future employers and highlights the fact that I possess key business skills that your average Business major might not possess.
I've known Engineering majors with genius-level IQs who bomb out in the business world and end up working dead-end jobs. I've also known Humanities and Liberal Arts majors who have excelled in the business world (in a variety of fields) because of their drive and their perseverance. It is what you do with your degree that ultimately matters. After all, I just completed a double Masters program (MS, Technology Management Information Systems & MBA) without having undergraduate degrees or classes in either of those topics! But my undergrad humanities degrees, and subsequent real-world business experience in a technology field, gave me the necessary tools to do so. Regardless of what you major in, the ultimate determination of success rests in YOU and YOUR ability to make the most of each opportunity to learn - in school, in the business world, in your personal life. What feels right for you, will be right for you. Good luck!
Vinod Khosla, Entrepreneur, investor and technologist. Founder of Khosla Ventures.
Mise à jour il y a 140w
Réponse d'origine: Vinod Khosla: For college students, is majoring in liberal arts a mistake?
EDIT: I have expanded my initial Quora response to the following, which I have also reproduced on Medium:
Is majoring in liberal arts a mistake for students?
Critical Thinking and the Scientific Process First — Humanities Later
If luck favors the prepared mind, as Louis Pasteur is credited with saying, we’re in danger of becoming a very unlucky nation. Little of the material taught in Liberal Arts programs today is relevant to the future.
Consider all the science and economics that has been updated, the shifting theories of psychology, the programming languages and political theories that have been developed, and even how many planets our solar system has. Much, like literature and history, should be evaluated against updated, relevant priorities in the 21st century.
I feel that liberal arts education in the United States is a minor evolution of 18th century European education. The world needs something more than that. Non-professional undergraduate education needs a new system that teaches students how to learn and judge using the scientific process on issues relating to science, society, and business.
Though Jane Austen and Shakespeare might be important, they are far less important than many other things that are more relevant to make an intelligent, continuously learning citizen, and a more adaptable human being in our increasingly more complex, diverse and dynamic world.
I would coin a new term, “the liberal sciences,” as this basic education, the test for which would be quite simple: at the end of an undergraduate education, is a student roughly able to understand and discuss the Economist, end-to-end, every week. This modern, non-professional education would meet the original “Greek life purpose” of a liberal arts education, updated for today’s world.
The most important things for a general, non-professional or vocational education are critical thinking and problem-solving skills, familiarity with logic and the scientific process, and the ability to use these in forming opinions, discourse, and in making decisions. Other general skills that are also important include — but are not limited to — interpersonal skills and communication skills .
So what is wrong with today’s typical liberal arts degree?
Neither the old definition of liberal arts nor the current implementation of it is the best use of four years of somebody’s education (if it is to be non-professional). The hardest (and most lucrative) problems to solve are non-technical problems. In my opinion, getting a STEM degree gives you the tools to think about those problems more effectively than a liberal arts degree today; though it is far from a complete way of thinking, and a liberal science degree will do this in an even more complete form.
Some of you will point to very successful people who’ve gone to Yale and done well, but you don’t understand statistics. A lot of successful people have started out as liberal arts majors. A lot haven’t. If you’re very driven and intelligent or lucky, you’ll probably be successful in life, even with today’s liberal arts degree. Then again, if you’re that driven and intelligent, you could probably find success with any degree, or even no degree. Apple’s Steve Jobs and Joi Ito (Director of the MIT media lab) are both college dropouts. Joi is a largely self-taught computer scientist, disc jockey, nightclub entrepreneur and technology investor. The top 20% of people in any cohort will do well independent of what curriculum their education follows, or if they had any education at all. If we want to maximize the potential of the other 80%, then we need a new Liberal Sciences curriculum.
Yale just decided that Computer Science was important and I like to ask, “if you live in France, shouldn’t you learn French? If you live in the computer world, shouldn’t you learn Computer Science?” What should be the second required language in schools today if we live in a computer world? And if you live in a technology world what must you understand? Traditional education is far behind and the old world tenured professors at our universities with their parochial views and interests will keep dragging them back. My disagreement is not with the goals of a liberal arts education but its implementation and evolution (or lack thereof) from 18th century European education and its purpose. There is too little emphasis on teaching critical thinking skills in schools, even though that was the original goal of such education. Many adults have little understanding of important science and technology issues or, more importantly, how to approach them, which leaves them open to poor decision-making on matters that will affect both their families and society in general.
Connections matter and many Ivy League colleges are worth it just to be an alumnus. There are people with the view that liberal arts broadened their vision and gave them great conversational topics. There are those who argue that the humanities are there to teach us what to do with knowledge. As one observer commented: “They should get lawyers to think whether an unjust law is still law. An engineer could contemplate whether Artificial Intelligence is morally good. An architect could pause to think on the merit of building a house fit for purpose. A doctor could be taught whether and how to justify using scarce medical resources for the benefit of one patient and not another. This is the role of humanities — a supplement to STEM and the professions.”
In my view creativity, humanism, and ethics are very hard to teach, whereas worldliness and many other skills supposedly taught through the liberal arts are more easily self-taught in a continuously updating fashion if one has a good quantitative, logical and scientific process-oriented base education.
The argument goes that a scientific/engineering education lacks enough training in critical thinking skills, creativity, inspiration, innovation and holistic thinking . On the contrary, I argue that the scientific and logical basis of a better liberal sciences education would allow some or all of this — and in a more consistent way. The argument that being logical makes one a linear problem solver and ill prepared for professions that require truly creative problem solving has no merit in my view. The old version of the Liberal Arts curriculum was reasonable in a world of the far less complex 18th century Euro-centric world and an elitist education focused on thinking and leisure. Since the 20th century, despite it’s goals, it has evolved as the “easier curriculum” to get through college and may now be the single biggest reason students pursue it.
I do not believe that today’s typical liberal arts degree turns you into a more complete thinker; rather, I believe they limit the dimensionality of your thinking since you have less familiarity with mathematical models (to me it’s the dimensionality of thinking that I find deficient in many people without a rigorous education), and worse statistical understanding of anecdotes and data (which liberal arts was supposedly good at preparing students for but is actually highly deficient at). People in the humanities fields are told that they get taught analytical skills, including how to digest large volumes of information, but I find that by and large such education is poor at imparting these skills. Maybe, that was the intent but the reality is very far from this idealization (again, excluding the top 20%).
There is a failing in many college programs that are not pragmatic enough to align and relate liberal arts program to the life of a working adult. From finance to media to management and administration jobs, necessary skills like strategic-thinking, finding trends, and big-picture problem-solving have all evolved in my view to need the more quantitative preparation than today’s degrees provide.
Such skills, supposedly the purview of liberal arts education, are best learnt through more quantitative methods today. Many vocational programs from engineering to medicine also need these same skills and need to evolve and broaden to add to their training. But if I could only have one of a liberal arts or an engineering/science education, I’d pick the engineering even if I never intended to work as an engineer and did not know what career I wanted to pursue.
I have in fact almost never worked as an engineer but deal exclusively with risk, evolution of capability, innovation, people evaluation, creativity and vision formulation. That is not to say that goal setting, design, and creativity are not important or even critical. In fact these need to be added to most professional and vocational degrees, which are also deficient for today’s practical careers.
More and more fields are becoming very quantitative, and it’s becoming harder and harder to go from majoring in English or history to having optionality on various future careers and being an intelligent citizen in a democracy. Math, statistics and science are hard, and school is a great time to learn those areas, whereas many of the liberal arts courses can be pursued after college on the base of a broad education. But without training in the scientific process, logic and critical thinking, discourse and understanding are both made far more difficult.
A good illustrative example of the problems of today’s liberal arts education can be found in the writing of well-known author, Malcolm Gladwell, a history major and a one-time writer for The New Yorker. Gladwell famously argued that stories were more important that accuracy or validity without even realizing it. La Nouvelle République called the final chapter of Gladwell’sOutliers, “impervious to all forms of critical thinking” and said that Gladwell believes “a perfect anecdote proves a fatuous rule.” Referencing a Gladwell reporting mistake in which Gladwell refers to “eigenvalue” as “Igon Value,” Harvard professor and author Steven Pinker criticizes his lack of expertise: “I will call this the Igon Value Problem: when a writer’s education on a topic consists in interviewing an expert, he is apt to offer generalizations that are banal, obtuse or flat wrong.” Unfortunately too many in today’s media are similarly “uneducated” in their interpretation of experts. Storytelling and quotes become a misleading factor instead of being an aid to communicating the accurate facts more easily. His assertions around “10,000 hours” may or may not be true but his arguments for it carry very little weight with me because of the quality of his thinking.
Though one example of Malcolm Gladwell does not prove the invalidity of arguments for a Liberal Arts degree, I find this kind of erroneous thinking (anecdotally) true of many humanities and liberal arts graduates. In fact I see the inconsistencies that Gladwell failed to understand (giving him the benefit of the doubt that these were unintentional) in the writings of many authors of articles in supposedly elite publications like The New Yorker and The Atlantic. Again this is not a statistically valid conclusion but the impression across hundreds or thousands of examples of one person. When I do occasionally read articles from these publications, I make a sport of judging the quality of thinking of the writers as I read, based on false arguments, unsupported conclusions, confusion of story telling with factual assertions, mistaking quotes from interviews as facts, misinterpreting statistics, etc. Similar lack of cogent thinking leads to bad decisions, uninformed rhetoric, and lack of critical thinking around topics like nuclear power and GMOs.
Unfortunately in an increasingly complex world, all these topics skills that many liberal arts majors even at elite universities fail to muster. The topic of risk and risk assessment from simple personal financial planning to societal topics like income inequality is so poorly understood and considered by most liberal arts majors as to make me pessimistic. I am not arguing that engineering or STEM education is good at these topics but rather that this is not its intent of STEM or professional education. The intent of Liberal Arts education is what Steven Pinker called a “building a self” and I would add “for the technological and dynamically evolving 21st century”.
Learning new areas as career paths and interests evolve becomes harder. Traditional European liberal arts education was for the few and the elite. Is that still