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Old 06-13-2014, 04:08 PM   #41
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The first seems to be whether people should major in liberal arts or STEM. .
This is confusing since many of the majors available at Liberal Arts schools are STEM or involve science and/or math.

I think folks may be interchanging "Liberal Arts" with "Arts and Humanities" or "Social Sciences."

You can go to a Liberal Arts school and carry a STEM major such as Biology, Physics, Math, Geology, Chemistry, Pre-med (Bio-Chemistry), Computer Science, etc. Or, you can major in a quantitative non-STEM major such as Accounting, Economics or Finance.

Attending a Liberal Arts school does not necessarily mean being a C- student in Art History.
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:35 PM   #42
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I also have two kids with fairly recently-minted liberal arts degrees, one in English and one in Psychology, both from a state university. I would have preferred that they would have gone into one of the STEM fields. However, the daughter with the English degree is 3 years out of college and making over $70K working as a tech recruiter in New York. The younger daughter with the Psychology degree is making considerably less, but only graduated a year ago and does make enough to live on her own in an apt in Seattle. She has a job that will be stepping stone to something better. Although not having the immediate payoff of a STEM degree, a degree in liberal arts/humanities is still valuable, as it gives the chance for the foot in the door. I really do wish my daughters would have pursued science or tech in college, but neither seemed inclined. I think they will be fine regardless.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:16 PM   #43
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Frankly, pushing a kid into engineering when their heart isn't in it is a recipe for a bunch of failed classes and extra student loan debt.

The kid has to have both the aptitude and desire to slog through it. If either of those is missing, they are almost guarrenteed to fail out.

One thing about engineering, as opposed say to math or physics or chemistry. In school at least, it is boring as hell as soon as you get into the professional engineering courses.

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Our family's liberal arts college experience
Old 06-13-2014, 07:26 PM   #44
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Our family's liberal arts college experience

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They say 50%, and at my university, that was true. When I think of my classmates in engineering, about 10% just quit college. The other 40% switched majors. Many went into education, although a few went into business and liberal arts. Two of my friends are very successful in business now. One runs his own landscaping business, the other is a manager at a manufacturing plant.

And then there are those who make it through to the working world and flame out there. The #1 reason I see that happen is lack of communication skills. STEM is great, but if you are at a college that somehow allows you to never have to write a paper or express yourself in written and spoken thought, you are sunk. Seen that a few times.

I started my BS in Engineering in the late 70's and into the early 80's. By the time I graduated less than 20% who started with me ended up with that engineering degree. I was at a state school where the admission rate was higher and if you had the engineering dream and scored a minimum of 25 or 26 on the ACT you could give it a shot. Most failed physics and higher levels of calculus long before any engineering classes even began in year 3. More transferred into business school or something less rigorous than those who dropped out of college entirely. I'd guess at least a third got so discouraged that they dropped out of college (BS) entirely.

My wife is a Dean at a Private LA college and through her knowledge of higher Ed I gained a whole new appreciation for non STEM careers. I admit that Technical minded career folks like me are a little ignorant about the Liberal Arts and Humanities. As she reminds me often: Most CEO's and powerful corporate boards and leaders have a LA degree, not a STEM degree. That is in fact true.

Here's some more interesting facts from the Association of American Colleges and Universities

http://www.aacu.org/press_room/press...artsreport.cfm
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:57 PM   #45
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As she reminds me often: Most CEO's and powerful corporate boards and leaders have a LA degree, not a STEM degree. That is in fact true.
That may be true, but only a very small percentage of people in this country are going to become CEOs, so average salaries by major are going to look more like this:

http://www.payscale.com/college-sala...t-pay-you-back

What concerns me are the kids we know graduating with liberal arts degrees, worried over low job prospects, parents unprepared for retirement and 6 figure student debt either the kids, the parents or some combination are going to have to pay off.

If it was just one family I would think it was none of my business, but it isn't just one, and nationwide there is $1.2 trillion in student debt which is a drag on our entire economy and causing depression in young adults -

http://www.forbes.com/sites/paigecar...and-depressed/
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:04 PM   #46
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What concerns me are the kids we know graduating with liberal arts degrees, worried over low job prospects, parents unprepared for retirement and 6 figure student debt either the kids, the parents or some combination are going to have to pay off.
You forgot the taxpayer.

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Old 06-13-2014, 11:18 PM   #47
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What concerns me are the kids we know graduating with liberal arts degrees, worried over low job prospects, parents unprepared for retirement and 6 figure student debt either the kids, the parents or some combination are going to have to pay off.
I do have a concern about the student loan debt. I also think that college tuition is way, way, way too high for no good reason.

Colleges are full of it: Behind the three-decade scheme to raise tuition, bankrupt generations, and hypnotize the media - Salon.com

However, I don't think that liberal arts degrees are really a problem. For three reasons basically. First, as I indicated earlier not everyone has to ability to earn a STEM degree. Second, some would be utterly miserable in such a field. Finally, society does need to have some people in those other fields.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:32 PM   #48
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Our family's liberal arts college experience

If you read the link I posted you'll discover that less than 20-25% of US students can even hope to graduate with a STEM degree and that's a generous figure if you include nursing etc. The majority of graduates are just not cut out for those degrees. More than half wouldn't even qualify for the admission standards. You don't see that problem stated in the flawed Forbes article.

So if we push more under prepared HS grads into STEM degrees that are too hard for them and higher percentages get discouraged and retention levels fall lower, then more student debt is incurred and those kids dropout with no degree to pay there first year loan back and the problem gets worse.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:53 PM   #49
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I do have a concern about the student loan debt. I also think that college tuition is way, way, way too high for no good reason.

Colleges are full of it: Behind the three-decade scheme to raise tuition, bankrupt generations, and hypnotize the media - Salon.com

However, I don't think that liberal arts degrees are really a problem. For three reasons basically. First, as I indicated earlier not everyone has to ability to earn a STEM degree. Second, some would be utterly miserable in such a field. Finally, society does need to have some people in those other fields.
I don't think kids getting liberal arts degrees are a problem either. I am concerned about the kids who go into massive amounts of debt to obtain one in a specific major where their job prospects and ability to pay back their government sponsored loans are poor. $1.2 trillion is a big societal issue. That is more than is owed on credit cards in the U.S.

There are many trade schools and AA degrees with very good ROIs.
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Old 06-14-2014, 07:47 AM   #50
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There are many trade schools and AA degrees with very good ROIs.

Not so. Almost all the trade schools common from the 1960's until about 2002 are gone. I spent some of my time from 1998-2006 remodeling old high school metal shops, wood shops, welding shops and auto shops into computer science labs and just plain additional classrooms. Due to anti union sentiment the post High School professional trade apprenticeship track has also significantly dried up.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:27 AM   #51
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Not so. Almost all the trade schools common from the 1960's until about 2002 are gone. I spent some of my time from 1998-2006 remodeling old high school metal shops, wood shops, welding shops and auto shops into computer science labs and just plain additional classrooms. Due to anti union sentiment the post High School professional trade apprenticeship track has also significantly dried up.
Beyond home ec: vocational programs are a good investment - Education - AEI

" "College debt represents a special sort of betrayal. We told you that the way to get ahead in America was to get educated. You did it. And now you find yourself in the same place, but buried under debt. You were lied to."

Lost in this rhetoric is any suggestion that it is the education system--the schools that charged all that money and then provided little by way of marketable skills in return--that let these young people down. Some of these talented people would no doubt have been better served by an education more directly tied to the jobs they so desperately need."

For post-secondary students, evidence is mounting that the payoff for occupational-certificate programs of at least one year can be quite large--often outweighing the benefits of an associate or bachelor's degree. Nationally, the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce estimates that 43 percent of workers with occupational certificates and licenses out-earned associate-degree holders, and 27 percent had higher earnings than bachelor's-degree recipients."
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:16 AM   #52
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I used to be hard in the camp that my kids would only get a STEM degree.
Then I started observing some of my peers. The most financially successful person from my high school double majored in English and Philosophy. He ended up writing tech books for less technical people (er... dummies.) He's got around 30 best sellers. Part of it was being in the right place at the right time for his first book... and a huge portion was having the writing skills and technical curiosity.

Another pair of friends - both have PhDs in Biology. He's a SAHD because the job market was challenged when his last post-doc ended. She went and got an MBA because she saw the ceiling for a PhD biologist was very low compared to those who have business backgrounds... So their STEM biology advanced degrees did not equate lucrative careers.

I've posted here before - I plan to pay for my kids public school undergraduate degrees - but the major will be determined when they show me a path to a career. If they can show a path to a career (backed up by statistics) for a liberal arts degree - that's fine. If they can show me a path to a career with a science degree - that's also fine. But blindly saying "stem" - without considering what jobs are available in that stem major isn't good enough.

I have a friend who's daughter graduated with a degree in environmental science. She didn't stop to look at what jobs were available till her senior year. It took her 2 years to find a job in her field. I hope my requirements will have my kids considering the major/career choices sooner than their senior year.
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Old 06-14-2014, 01:56 PM   #53
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Not so. Almost all the trade schools common from the 1960's until about 2002 are gone. I spent some of my time from 1998-2006 remodeling old high school metal shops, wood shops, welding shops and auto shops into computer science labs and just plain additional classrooms. Due to anti union sentiment the post High School professional trade apprenticeship track has also significantly dried up.
I wonder if this depends on where you live. I do think that many of the for profit schools are worthless.

But, around here, most of the things you are talking about can be learned at CC. Not every CC has every program, but they are easily found at very low cost at the CCs.

For example at the CC 2 of my kids attended there is a traditional academic group of courses meant to be transferred to a university. My son followed that and has transferred to a university for his last 2 years of credit (he is a CS major).

On the other hand, my daughter knew she didn't want an academic degree. So, for where we looked at the more work oriented programs. Some of the certificate and AAS programs at the CC available were:

Veterinary Technology
Electrical Technology
Game Design & Simulation Designer (artist)
Game Design & Simulation Developer (Programming)
Live Entertainment Technology
Visual Communication
3D Animation
Digital Photography
Graphic Design
Motion Graphics
Multimedia Designer
Video & Post Production
Web Design
E-Business Web Developer
Web Designer (artist)
Web Designer (programming)
Accounting AAS
Accounting Assistant
Payroll Certificate
Administrative Services
Administrative Services - Bookkepping
Administrative Services - mecial
Administrative Services - Global Office Support
Administrative Services - Office Communications
Business Administration - Human Resources
Project Management
Logistics Management
Automated Manufacturing Technician
Petroleum Field Service Technician
Petroleum Data Technology
Electronic Assembler
Engineering Technician
Architectural Engineering Technology
CAD operator/drafting
AutoCAD Draftsman
Solid Model Designer
Industrial Diesel Technology
Machining Technology
Computer Numeric Control Operator
Machinist
Inspection Technology
Welding Technology
Gas Metal Arc Welding
Pipe Welding
Dental Hygiene
Dental Assistant
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Echocardiography
Electrocardiography Technician
Emergency Medical Services Professions
Health Information Technology
Hospital-Based Coding
Physician Office-Based Billing and Coding
Massage Therapist
Medical Assisting
Medical Radiologic Technology
MRI Advanced Technical Certificate
Vocational Nursing
Nurse Aide (CNA)
Patient Care Technician
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Personal Trainer
Pharmacy Technology
Phlebotomist
Physical Therapy Assistant
Posysomnographic Technologist
Respiratory Care Therapist
Surgical Technologist
Floral Designer
Wedding Planner
Cosmetology
Facial Specialist
Human Services - substance abuse counseling
Interpreter Training Technology
Microsoft Office Specialist
Oracle Certification
Information Technology Core certification
Programming Specialist
Computer Engineering Technology
Geographic Information Systems Analyst
Geographic Information Systems Technician
Network and Computer System Administrator
Computer Networking
Cisco Certified Networking Associate
Computer Support Technician
Fire Science Technology
Basic Structural Firefighter Certificate
Paralegal Studies
EMT Basic
Business Administration Marketing
Biotechnology
Architectural Engineering Technology
Chassis and Electrical Technician
General Service Technician
Power Train and Driveability Technician
Professional Truck Driver



Note that I didn't include some things that were variations of something posted. I also looked at only one of the CC systems here. The other major CC system near here has some of these same programs as well as others. For example, the above systems doesn't have culinary arts or hotel and restaurant service or visual merchandising. The other CC system does have those programs.

I'm not saying that every one of those programs is a good career. Some of them aren't. But, many of them are programs that prepare people for perfectly good careers in needed fields that don't require a 4 year academic degree.
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