Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Job Experience Vs. Higher Education

I had just come home from a long day at work at my minimum wage paying department store job when I was confronted with this question on a website that I had happened to stumble upon:

Considering the ever-increasing cost of higher education, and the student loans which many college kids amass while working for their various degrees, do you feel the economy actually turned the tide and made job experience just as or more valuable than higher education?

It’s true. The economy is in the crapper and there are millions of students out there drowning in college debt. Is it worth it? I still think so, but I do think having a bit of experience under your belt is also an incredibly smart thing to do.

I wrote in an earlier blog post about whether it was worth it or not to go to college and obtain a degree:

“People with a college education tend to be unemployed or a shorter amount of time than people with just a high school degree, said professor Sandra Emerson, MPA Director of Political Science at Cal Poly Pomona. “When the economy went south in 2008 there was a tendency for individuals with only high school diplomas to be the ones who were unemployed first and stayed unemployed longer. Those people went back to school because they realized their options were limited. It doesn’t mean people with a college education don’t go back to school, but you path is clearer during economic downturns.”

Regardless of how much more you would make as a college graduate, actually having a degree is far more beneficial to anyone dabbling in the job force than anyone just trying to reach, and keep that success, without it.

Having both job experience and a college education is obviously key, but if you had to choose between the two I would still put my foot down and claim that it is more beneficial to have a degree in your back pocket.

It’s a widely accepted notion that college gives future job seekers that extra boost when trying to break into the “real world.” Students not only receive the added skills necessary to think and communicate in a clear and intelligible way, but they have something that can be used to better themselves and their chances for success in life, and it’s something that nobody can ever take away from you.

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Jasmine's Articles on So Educated

Jasmine Lowe is currently a student at Cal Poly Pomona. She has experience writing for her school’s newspaper, The Poly Post, and as an intern for the online site, TheLoop

She writes for her own blog, ‘Jasmine on the Issues.’ You can fan her blog’s page on Facebookand follow her on twitter @JasmineDLowe.


  1. I agree with your post. I went to college and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. However, I was unemployed for almost 3 years. Fortunately, I am able to find a job now and happy with the outcome of my career.
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  2. Some employers value job experience over a college degree. I agree with you, a degree is valuable. It would work to your advantage no matter which employer you visit. Sometimes I wish I had paid more attention to my math tutor!

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  4. For a while, higher education was the obvious way to go right after high school. But in today's economic climate, is that still true? There's something to be said for those who choose to jump right into the workforce, and there are companies out there which will pay for or provide stipends for higher education for employees who have been there a certain amount of time.

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