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What is the most useless College Degree?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Phi83, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. Phi83

    Phi83 Contributing Member

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    My cousin is in his 2nd year of college at UofH and is trying to make a decision what degree to pursue. He is really interested in Psychology, but he doesn't understand that psychology degrees are a dime a dozen in the real world and that unless you go for a graduate degree its pretty useless. I am trying to push him more to a business degree or technology related degree since he is really good with math and computers.

    I guess my post is a two part post,

    1. In your opinion what is the most useless degree one can get in college?

    2. What would be the best degree (undergrad) to get right now?
     
  2. Behad

    Behad Contributing Member

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    Mine.
     
  3. freeflowin'

    freeflowin' Member

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    ON a tangent:

    Does anyone else think that the education system (esp. higher education) in the US in now geared towards vocational studies? More and more undergrads are opting for "degrees" in accounting and finance and the all encompasing "business" majors.

    It seems now that universities are gearing their pupils for degrees that will get them a job.

    Whatever happened to studies in the classics and humanities and, well... stuff that you used to learn in college? I guess education is now for "job hunting" rather than for any intrinsic value gained from "knowledge".

    I don't fault the kids or the universities totally. It's more like market demands (employers wanting hard skills from kids coming out of school) and the skyrocketing prices of higher education.
    I mean, why would you want to study english and get a 25K job when you can study finance or engineering and get a 55K job---especially when your education has saddled you with an outrageous amount of loans?

    It just seems like the population is getting dumber---in the sense that the ability to think and reason about issues is constrained by the lack of knowledge stemming from what you studied in college.

    Oh, and I think the most usless College degree is philosophy. That or underwater basket weaving.
     
  4. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    1. The most useless degree: Psychology.

    2. Best degree to get right now: also Psychology.

    Psychology is the degree you get when you go to college and don't know what you want or what you want to do, and aren't particularly strong in math. I've met the folks that go that route; I've talked to them and no their motivations. History, btw, is a close second.

    However, I am also of the opinion that a college degree is only worthwhile insofar as it is a college degree. A person is no more competent for having majored in psych, history, econ, business or physics (getting advanced degrees is a different story). But, they are more competent for having gotten a college education at all and the fact that they've had the experience of studying something is more important than the particulars of what they've studied.

    So, my advice has always been to study something that interests you. If you don't know what interests you, you'll probably do psychology or history. That's fine; they're interesting subjects. You'll be a better person for having studied it.

    Of course, he will get this sickening feeling when he gets out of college that he should have chosen a different major. Employers will prefer people who studied business over the folks who did psychology. Imo, those employers are crazy to think they'll get something extra out of a body fresh out of college just because they majored in something 'useful.' But, it doesn't matter for long because after you get over that hump and get your first job, no one will care what you majored in, no matter how useful it was.

    I think there are some exceptions to this thinking (as with everything). There are some occupations that you want to study for now if you want to get in. If you want to do architecture, start now or not at all. If you want to do programming -- even though you can get into it later -- it would be profitable to start studying it in college. However, I think you have to really want to do these things to put yourself into that position. The supposed money in a thing (which may be gone in 4 years) is not worth it if the subject makes you miserable.
     
  5. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    IMO, the best degree is in something that you love. Ken Griffey, Sr (Jr's dad) said, "Do something you love and you'll never work another day in your life."

    Those who pursue the things that they love end up happier, healthier and, the vast majority of the time, wealthier than the average American who got a degree in business or whatever.

    Present success is NO indicator of future success in any field. Match your aptitude to the things that you love and that is the best place to be. Maybe that's a psychology degree. Maybe it's no degree at all (ask Bill Gates).

    The point is that you will work harder and longer at the things that you love than you ever will at the lousy dead-end job you hate.

    If you need statistics to back all of this seemingly hippy-ish response up, no problem. My mom spent her entire career as the head of secondary guidance counseling for HISD, the third largest school district in America. She spent her career figuring out how to advise kids on vocations and college. If anyone's heard it all, it's me! :D
     
  6. mav3434

    mav3434 Member

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    His.
     
  7. Phi83

    Phi83 Contributing Member

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    Jeff,
    I truly agree with your response, getting a degree that you are interested in is much more important than getting a degree that is hot in the current year. I have known too many people to get degrees that they never use or have nothing to do with there present occupations. For example, my old roommate has a masters in music, but he sells window-blinds as his career so he can play more music. I told my cousin, that what ever makes you happy you should try to do it, but the most important thing that you can do while in college is to actually graduate. A degree is the only thing a person can get that no one can take away. You could be a mass murder and still be called doctor.

    freeflowin',

    I agree, college are becoming more vocational in the sense that they are training you for a career and not the actual process of self discovery. For instance, when I got my first degree in computer science, I never realized that I was learning theory more than an application. The same goes for engineering and most BBA's.
     
  8. PhiSlammaJamma

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    Ken Griffey's dad was wrong:) You're still working man. I don't care what you do. There are going to be good days and bad days. And when money's involved you better believe there will be people putting pressure on you. It doesn't matter who you are and what you are doing. It's work even if you love it.

    My aunt is a good example of this. She's made her way into the top 5 natural painters in the U.S.. She loves what she is doing. But she no longer has time to paint what she wants because she has to do calendars, she has to make appearances, she has to paint this, she has to paint that. She's told me repeatledly that the people who pay her can be a royal pain in the ass. But she's doing what she loves.

    It's still a lot of work.

    I think if you love what you do it makes the the struggles a whole lot easier. But there will be struggles and it will feel like work.
     
  9. mrpaige

    mrpaige Contributing Member

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    I don't think a large percentage of college students have lost the ability to think and reason (if they ever had the ability at all) to any great extent before they ever get to college.

    As a matter of fact, a large number of college students are completely unprepared for even the basic aspects of college. Over 35% of first and second-year college students were required to take remedial courses just to get them up to a speed close enough to get through some of the basic college courses.

    And in the classes I'm taking right now, a large percentage of my classmates panic when they aren't given extremely detailed instructions on how to do something (a report, for example). If they are required to just give it a try with minimal instruction, they often end up just doing nothing at all. For all intents and purposes, these people have little ability to think and reason and figure things out on their own (On the other hand, many college professors in many academic disciplines engender this type of response by having very detailed instructions and being very particular in how they are followed).

    As for the most worthless college degree, there are professions where a 4-year degree is overkill. Personally, all the people I know who have done well in radio or television did so with an associates degree at best. There are many health professions, too, where having a bachelors degree is not really all that prized over just the 2-year degree (Nursing, X-Ray Tech, etc.)
     
  10. PhiSlammaJamma

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    oh yeah. The worst degree probably is psych. I used to laugh at the packaging majors too, but they save companies billions, so they can make a good buck pretty fast.
     
  11. drapg

    drapg Member

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    the worst degree is mine, computer science.

    the field is so saturated right now, that you're almost guaranteeing yourself to be jobless when you graduate.

    psychology is also a good choice, unless you plan to get your pHD.
     
  12. mrpaige

    mrpaige Contributing Member

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    I would add something like accounting to this list since there are licensing requirements that call for significant accounting coursework to become a CPA (classes like "Looking the Other Way" and "Simply Deleting an Incriminating Email Isn't Enough" and so on).

    The other business disciplines don't really have that sort of requirements (and I would suggest that psychology translates to marketing relatively well since marketing is, at least partially, about human behavior. But I hated psychology, so perhaps I'm the wrong person to judge).
     
  13. Phi83

    Phi83 Contributing Member

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    Drapq,
    Computer Science and IT specialist is a great degree. The market right now is pretty swamped, but that will turn around once the economy gets rolling again. What killed for IT professionals is the .COM bubble being burst, but things are starting to look up. Also with IT and CS it depends what your specialities are. If you are a programmer with a broad based skill set then you should have no worries, but if you know only one program like VB then you maybe in trouble.
     
  14. PhiSlammaJamma

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    There are books on everything. Nobody needs college. The degree simply tells people that you can accomplish a task. and that is significant in my opinion. I think college helps you to develop two important things. The ability to reason with peers. And the ability to socialize with them. I don't think I would have gotten that training outside of college. That enables you to think about what you are doing before you do it, while you are doing it, and after you do it. To me that's what is important about college. So even if your peers get dumber it won't matter. The important thing is to be able to associate with them. Everybody will be at the same level of dumbness, but associating. That's what helps the world get better.

    I don't think the students are any dumber anyway. You have to remember that there is twice as much information than there was before. So students today know less about the fundamentals than they do the "surface" of the field. That's life. But that's all they need to know. They aren't dumber. They just know what they need to know to survive.
     
  15. Phi83

    Phi83 Contributing Member

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    I didn't hate psychology as a class, I always hated the wannabe psychology majors that tried to psychoanalysis you after they took Psy 202... "Hmmm, I think you have a Oedipus complex. "
     
  16. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    I wish I could remember the line from Basic Instinct, but the detective talking about how Sharon Stone's character got a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley says something like: "She's a criminal mastermind; she knows how the human mind works!" Berkeley is a good school and all, but... really.
     
  17. Major

    Major Member

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    I think there are more useless majors out there than Psych - at least you learn a little about people there. For example, a Medieval History major prepares you for nothing except getting a PhD in Medieval History so you can teach the subject to some other future Medieval History major.
     
  18. A-Train

    A-Train Contributing Member

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    A geography major at North Carolina has one of the highest annual salaries in the country! Sorry, but that joke never gets old. :)

    Kinesiology is a nice degree if you want to be a high school gym teacher. My friend from high school spent a year at Stephen F. Austin studying forestry....Forestry?
     
  19. ROXTXIA

    ROXTXIA Contributing Member

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    Wai-wai-wai-wai-wait a second.

    I thought Communications was the amorphous "I-changed-my-degree-one-thousand-times-what-can-I-cull-my-credits-into?" degree.

    Whenever I heard someone say her (usually her, not his, but sometimes his) degree was in communications, I would nod my head condescendingly. Now I'm nodding my head condescendingly at my former self.
     
  20. A-Train

    A-Train Contributing Member

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    No, Communications is the official degree of white division 1A college athletes, with African American History being the official degree for black division 1A college athletes.
     

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