College Scandal – My Take

We have all read the details about the recent College Admissions Scandal, and so I will add my two cents about it:

  • Go where you fit in: Little is being written about how well these children performed at those colleges to which they had been fraudulently admitted. The likely answer is not too well. College is hard enough as it is. Don’t make it harder by playing in the Major Leagues when you should really be in Double A. Better to go to a college where your profile fits the profile of the college and its existing student body.
  • You will still find a good job: Trust me on this, you can still find a good job and have a good life even if you don’t go to any of the 20 Top 10 colleges. Many top employers recruit regionally at colleges where they have had success in the past or where their management perhaps attended back in the day. We have a labor shortage in this country. You or your child, equipped with a college degree, will be just fine even if that sheepskin isn’t covered with Ivy.
  • Don’t overpay for college: Most of these parents who defrauded college admissions departments did so for the privilege of paying retail to the tune of $70,000 or more per year for private college. USC is the prime example. Hope it is worth it to them. For you, I strongly encourage you to weigh the cost/benefits of attending less expensive state-run colleges and even junior colleges. Unless you objectively believe that your child is at least in the top quartile of academic performers, it is hard to justify the cost of a private college education because that education has become so expensive.
  • Think about alternatives to college: A college degree is an elite status checkbox thing. We as a society need to elevate the status of alternatives. If we truly are concerned with things such as income inequality and the welfare of the working class, then we need to raise the value of what the working class can do and achieve. We need mechanics, construction workers, electrical workers, restaurant entrepreneurs, and the like. Most of those don’t require a college degree, but they do require training beyond High School. Often an employer will pay for such training for an employee with a bright future. Studies show that you are financially better off to start work in a skilled trade right out of high school rather than to delay that work to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, even if the Bachelor’s holder’s salary is higher than the trade schooler, because the trade schooler is working and is cash flow positive while the college student is not working and is cash flow negative.
  • Easy for me to say: Yes, I have a Bachelor’s from an expensive private university and a Master’s from an expensive public university, so maybe you say I have no right to tell people they shouldn’t get a private college education? Well, the world has changed in the 40 years since I applied to college, mostly because the cost of college has increased exponentially. My point is to look very hard at the cost/benefits of a private college vs. a less expensive alternative.
  • College Is An End Unto Itself: Lastly, College isn’t just about what you get or can do as a result of earning your degree. Instead, College and an Education are ends unto themselves. Meaning, College is great because of the education you get. Once you earn your degree, you can’t take it away from you. So, if it is really worth it and you have the werewithal, then go for it if you truly value the College education, But, don’t go into insurmountable debt to do so, and, of course, Don’t Cheat your way in!

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