Education

When Will Millennials Start to Realize a College Degree Is Not Enough?

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a cardboard sign that says "will work for loan payments"

A recent poll from the conservative youth organization Young America's Foundation found that over half of graduating seniors are "nervous" about what their future holds, and 39 percent say they are not optimistic at all that they will be able to find a job in the first few months after graduation.

As a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I have (anecdotally) noticed a pattern: Many of the people who complain about their job prospects are the same ones that graduate with nothing on their resume other than their major and their GPA.

There is a myth on campuses that being in possession of a college degree is the only validation a person needs to be handed a job. Many college students feel that sitting in classrooms and listening to lectures for four years will somehow teach them the skills that are necessary to get ahead professionally. This misguided sense of entitlement falls right in line with the increasing demand for political correctness that is sheltering college students during one of the most crucial developmental periods in their lives, creating a dangerous disconnect between their current college experience and the real world experience that awaits them.

As student debt, currently tipping the scales at $1 trillion nationally, continues to pile up and more college graduates move back in with their parents, a cultural shift in the way we view higher education is necessary. The college experience should move away from credential acquisition and pure learning in lecture halls and libraries towards real world experience, skills acquisition, and helping students develop interests and passions that transcend the classroom experience.

Lazlo Bock, the head of H.R. for Google, articulated this well in an interview with Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times earlier this year. He told the columnist that "when you look at people who don't go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people." Far too often, colleges "don't deliver on what they promise. You generate a ton of debt, you don't learn the most useful things for your life. It's [just] an extended adolescence."

Watch "The Case Against College Entitlements" with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.):