Note: This is an analysis to some of the answers i’ve received from interviews and surveys. For privacy sake, I have redacted some details by using […] to signify when something was cut out or replaced to promote privacy for the person answering the questions. Rest assured that these answers are from a real person who’s life aligns very closely to the subject of this blog.
Note 2: I thought I had published this back in November.. apparently I haven’t, or my blog search isn’t picking it up.. so i’m reposting here.
this omission on the part of the college is borderline criminal
Why did you go to college? Do you recall what your influencers (parents, teachers, etc…) told you about a college education?
I wasn’t told much about a college education or even how to apply to universities, colleges, etc by teachers, friends, supervisors, etc. I was a high school dropout who re-enrolled herself in a private college in […] when she was 19 to complete her high school diploma. I graduated when I was just about 21 years old and then moved back to […] . I started working at a fast food restaurant to support my family after I moved back […] . After a few weeks, I received an acceptance letter from [public community college] . My mother had applied for me and informed me that I was going to college in the fall semester. She felt that going to college was very important considering that she had attended a year or so of college and then stopped and never graduated. She had supported my father as he finished multiple degrees and advanced in his career. I was the first one of the [children] to go to college and to get a degree. All […] children had dropped out of school. My brothers had returned to school to get GEDs / High School Equivalency diplomas […] . […] just recently completed his Bachelor’s degree while working full time and having a wife and two kids. […] has never returned to school and his wife is completing an Associate degree right now.
Why did you choose [private college]?
I did not choose [private college]. I did not even know about [private college] until I got an acceptance letter. I was being stubborn and stupid that year and had only applied to [public college] Psychology program and was not accepted. That same day, I got the “You are not accepted” letter from [public college], I got a letter from [private college] saying I was accepted to their psychology program and had to submit a few documents. My mother had completed most of the application for me.
Did [private college] explain anything about what you can expect in terms of jobs with your degree?
No information was ever mentioned about jobs with your degree or job searching until my last semester of my senior year. We had to do a resume that semester and have it reviewed. I had switched from Psychology to Social Work major after doing my own research on job availability and education requirements etc for those jobs early in my junior year. I took myself to the career office the last semester and received very limited help. I taught myself how to job search and apply for jobs through lots of research and trial and error while being a full time mom after graduation. I remember being offered my first professional job by September (I graduated in May) as a counselor/caretaker in a group home for troubled teenage girls. I worked one day and after determining this was not the actual job I really wanted, I quit. I was offered the job as an [public sector job] shortly after that and accepted it right away. I had interviewed for several social work and social services dept. jobs and would never accept them because they required overtime and on call (I had a baby […] at home at the time and […] was working night shift).
Analysis: There are some very interesting themes here that align quite well to the Professional Individual Contributor population. The first theme is of the lack of awareness and understanding of the benefits and of and need for education. If you read between the lines the decisions were made because of the general belief that the four year degree is a good thing, correction, a great thing – but no thought or consideration was put into what degree to get and what the outcome should be. Once a little bit of thought about aligning the degree and education effort to employment and a little bit of research was done, the interviewee immediately changed their major to something that would better align to employment.
Also, not really pointed out here.. but glaring to me, is why didn’t the interviewee get a complete employment debriefing before she entered into her first psychology classes at the – which we will find to be in a future blog post – very very expensive private college. To me this omission on the part of the college is borderline criminal. The college convinced a young and impressionable individual to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt and commit years of their life without really understanding what they were pursuing and what the real benefits and challenges (as it relates to employment which is the point of an education) will be once they achieve their goal.
There is more to come with this interview, and I hope to collect more stories like these and analyze them. If you would like to share your stories, then you can start with our education survey: