Two centuries ago a college degree was the holy grail of prospective employees. Graduating from college with a degree set you apart from most people, you became the hope of the community and you were virtually untouchable. Prospective employers ardently sought you out. The knowledge you had acquired moved you to another level, unmatched by many but desired by all. With the increase of literacy levels all over the world, such privilege was reduced to a common occurrence.
Fast forward to the 21st century where technology advances in leaps and bounds. Today in the tech business you could be crowned king and 2 months down the line you would be a mere jester of the court. The internet has revolutionized the education system. Books have been made accessible to the entire world, e-learning online platforms have taken classroom education to a completely new level. Courses that traditionally could only be taken in a physical classroom have been made available at the click of a button at absolutely no cost. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the literacy rate for all people aged 15 and above globally is at 86.3%. Only a small fraction of this population have gone high up the education ladder as to attain a college degree, but considering these are global statistics, even a small fraction resonates into a large number of individuals.
These advancements in the education sector have induced a shift in the corresponding job market. Long gone are the days when a resume adorned in college qualifications would have opened too many doors for you than you could afford to go through. Enter the age where a college just doesn’t cut it for you at a job interview and here’s why:
Inflated examination results
The credibility of the examination results from many institutions of higher education has been found wanting. Advancements in the technological sector have made cheating during an examination easier than it would have been in the early days of education. According to a survey carried out at 70 highs schools in which a total of 24,000 students participated; 64 percent of the students acknowledged to cheating on tests, 58 percent to plagiarism while the greater 95 percent admitted having participated in some sort of cheating, be it plagiarism or copying class assignments.
With such staggering levels of dishonesty among the student ranks, a student’s curriculum vitae to an employer can’t be taken at face value as gospel truth. This has led to the introduction of various other tests to determine whether the available graduates are fit for employment. These tests look for various qualifications in the applicants: aptitude, knowledge, personality and progressively, analytical thinking.
High cost of college education
It is not enough reason for someone to miss a job opportunity simply because he or she could not afford college education. How else is the poverty cycle supposed to be conquered? People argue that if an applicant can prove that they have the necessary knowledge and reasoning skills that are needed by the employer, why should it matter where or if they attended college?
This attitude has been fueled by the ever increasing cost of college education and student debts. Taking the student population of America as an example; 71 percent of all students graduating from college had debts in the name of student loans. This was back in 2012. It is now 2017 and statistics show Americans owe the country over 1.4 trillion dollars labeled as student loans. This is a whopping 620 billion dollars more than the countries credit card debt making American students burdened with student loan debt, now more than ever. It is in the same spirit that the inclination towards a more tailor-made curriculum that allows for vocational training or the graduation of holders of associate’s degree from a community college.
Expensive education coupled with high cost of living has rendered a college degree an unattainable goal to many citizens. This does not mean that these people are to be denied the chance of earning a decent living. People from different backgrounds are acquiring much-valued skills on their own, especially with the help of online learning platforms. If the employers assess these skills they may be of the same pedigree as a college degree. In the end, it will make it easier for employers to be able to hire better employees.
Introduction of new benchmarks
With the increasing unconventional methods of acquiring higher education such as long-distance learning and online courses, better known as MOOCs there has been a corresponding increase in the need for tests that prospective employees can use to prove their worth to employers. Degree programs have long used the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in conjunction with evaluations in mathematics, literature and the sciences in rating their students. At the moment, anyone, at any age can sit the GRE despite their level of formal education. This has led to its listing in the résumés of job seekers.
The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), an online exam, is another test that plays a role as a potential job credential, especially for mentally challenging jobs. The CLA assesses the creative solving skills of the examined using realistic theoretical challenges. It ensures high levels of accuracy in the results produced as the student’s answers are marked by both humans and AI software. The introduction of a newer version of this demanding test, CLA+, allows students to submit their results to probable employers. This test is available to all interested persons.
On their own accord, people from all walks of life are learning things of value through self-education courses that they undertake outside the traditional degree programs. If the assessment of these skills can be carried out through testing, they should be of great value and help the employer to hire better employees.
A degree isn’t a holistic yardstick of measurement
Though a college education plays an excellent role in teaching many valued skills on an individual, the curriculum lacks in numerous aspects that are paramount to the success of an individual’s life in general. Such skills include financial responsibility, proper conversation, logical thinking and how to apply these skills in real life situations.
Going through the discussion above, it is clear why a college degree isn’t the only qualification while hiring. The new benchmarks, increasing inflation of examination results and the high cost of obtaining a college degree are some of the reasons why a college degree can’t be used as the sole qualification while prospecting for a potential employee.