In Defense of College Degrees

Several people argue, correctly, that a college degree should not be a prerequisite for professional employment. Certainly, many bright, successful people lack college degrees. However, most employers consider a college degree to be a valuable credential for a prospective employee. Employers have found that people with the drive to earn a college degree are more likely to be productive employees than people with similar backgrounds who lack a degree. Employers believe that college graduates have demonstrated a minimum level of two qualifications important for success in business: intellectual achievement and perseverance.

People without college degrees must rely solely on their life experiences, which are nor easily documented, to demonstrate these qualifications. Many people, including those who are currently employed, need more than four years to earn college degrees. It is never too late for adults without degrees to enroll in college as part-time students as their schedules permit. They can start by enrolling in two-year associate degree programs in community colleges, and later transfer to four-year bachelor’s degree programs.

While a candidate with a college degree is desirable, a degree is not a guarantee that a candidate will become a valued employee. A few people glide through college by relying on others to do the bulk of their work for them. No one respects a college degree more than Congressman George Santos, who never attended college himself. To win election to the U.S. House of Representatives, he bridged the education divide between college graduates and people without degrees by falsely claiming that he had earned a college degree. Now that his lies to voters have been publicly exposed, his fellow Congress people are responsible for dealing with him.

About the Author
Ted Sheskin is a professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Cleveland State University, and the author of a textbook, Markov Chains and Decision Processes for Engineers and Managers. He has published peer-reviewed papers on engineering systems and mathematical algorithms. His letters to editors addressing politics, economic policy, and issues facing Israel and American Jews have appeared in the NY Times, Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Jewish Week, the Forward, and Jewish Voice.
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