I was flying to Seattle, with my girlfriend, last night to attend one of my best friends weddings. I told her I had no blog posts prepared and was in desperate need for some material. I needed some inspiration, and wouldn’t ya know, boo #2 (boo #1 is my mom) provided. The GF is an elementary school teacher and she told me her school had a college focused assembly for their entire student body. I was a little surprised that they are beating the idea of college in to second graders heads, but I digress. She went on to say her second graders went crazy when they learned that the average college graduate makes over a million dollars more in their lifetime than a non-college graduate.
I like the idea behind that statistic. Go to college, make more money. Don’t go to college, make less money. But then I started to wonder, is the diploma really worth $1,000,000? Even a diploma from an online college? If that’s the case, I’m going to start a college that costs $150,000 a year for tuition. After four years you paid $600K for the degree, but it will make you a million. It’s worth it right? Okay, I know I’m being a little facetious. What I’m really trying to communicate is this: I wish they had told the kids the same statistic in a different way.
I think it’s great to motivate the kids and get them excited about how important college can be to their future, but I don’t particularly agree with the simplicity of the statement. I’m wondering if the kids walked away from the assembly thinking, “Sweet, I go to college, I’m guaranteed a Million.” I probably would have told the kids the same stat, but would have added a caveat: The degree only represents the person that earned it. I’m willing to bet the majority of that extra million is a reflection of that person’s character , not the degree they hold.
It seems like common sense: A high school drop out is probably going to make significantly less than a college graduate. Why? Because the grad had the dedication to persevere 4+ years of college and that will most likely transfer to their professional life. They’re willing to suffer now, to make more later. Is it preposterous to assume the majority of high school dropouts probably lack the work ethic to find themselves in high paying positions? Note: I realize there are some of you that dropped out and have made millions so kudos to you, no need to send me hate mail
I’m sure I’m not the first person to think the person behind the degree is more valuable than the degree itself, but I think the idea is important enough to reiterate. If I was at that assembly I would have said “College graduates earn, on average, $1MM more in their lifetime than non-graduates, but don’t be lazy you awkward little 2nd graders and think that extra income is a guarantee.”
*to any of you lovely readers that comment today, I wont be able to respond till saturday…I’ll be too busy gettin’ jiggy with it at my friends wedding*