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Have you ever felt embarrassed by your lack of a degree?
april004 Wrote:I hate when conversations would start with -" what do you do? Where did you go to school?" I'd much rather people asked what my hobbies were. When it comes down to it, it's my hobbies that make me the interesting person I am, not my alma mater.

Without my degree I still feel I've amassed alot of knowledge. I am constantly kicking everyone's butt in Trivial Pursuit and am always answering the questions on Jeopardy.
Hi april004,
Thanks for the post. I understand your feelings perfectly. You are lucky to be young enough to be able to change careers easily and go after what you really want. I really like your line about your hobbies! It's so true! I also like Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy. My family is always asking how I know some of the answers and I'm always surprised because I think that the things I know are commom knowledge that everyone knows.
Taking the Road Less Traveled
The Journey of A Thousand Miles Starts with The First CLEP

BS-Psychology - Excelsior College
Enrolled in the School of Business, BS in Accounting
After MIS I'll be halfway there!
72 CLEP Credits, 21 DSST Credits, 25 ECE Credits (Including Inf Lit), 6 TESC Credits, 2 FEMA Credits = 126 Total
Withholding 6 Credits for Accounting = 120 for Psychology
12 credits completed toward my accounting degree
Do not feel bad...I am a professional in a high profile banking field....and 56 yrs old to boot. I am just now trying to finish my degree. Experience and knowledge have taken me through just fine ...up until now. I was recently hired for a new..even higher profile position. Unfortunately the "lack of degeree" put a snag in the whole process and I am once again trying to "finish the degree process". While no one doubts my expertise...the degree is still an important piece of paper. If nothing shows your determination, especially if you are already well established in the work place. My advice...if at all possible...go for the degree.
When I first entered the workforce, Australia had a fairly large apprenticeship program. The majority of these apprenticeships were four year qualifications with a combination of college based theory classes and practical workplace experience. The beauty of this system was that school leavers had a number of viable options. They could continue their education by going on to college, they could opt for an entry level job or they could sign up for an apprenticeship which combined the best of both worlds (getting trained and getting paid).

Now, while the apprenticeship was a four year program, because the emphasis was on practical skills and not theoretical knowledge it was never seen to be the equivalent or even close to a college degree. At the end of the apprenticeship a person would have a trade certificate and a marketable skill which at the time was all that was needed.

The apprenticeship system almost died completely in the late 1980s and while there are still apprenticeships available today, many employers are requiring a college education which makes the option of being an apprentice nowhere near as attractive as it used to be.

I went through the apprenticeship system and continued to study over the years, gaining industry qualifications from the likes of Microsoft and Novell as well as completing a couple of Diplomas so I never felt embarrassed about my lack of a four year degree but I have been frustrated by it a number of times.

There have been opportunities over the years that were closed to me because of my lack of a four year degree. A couple of years ago there was a job opportunity that I was considering but I couldn’t even apply for it without the degree. I was actually approached by the manager of the department about the position and he tried to get an exemption but in the end the job went to a young guy that I had been training as he had a degree. His degree was in economics, the position was a computer support analyst position and while I liked the young guy he had about 3 months computer experience as opposed to my 15+ years at that time. So while I have never doubted my ability, I have been frustrated by my lack of qualifications at times.

One of the things that I found funny about this trend of requiring degrees was a few years later I had started my own training company and spent a lot of time dealing directly with front-line and middle managers. The general consensus was that an employee hired directly out of college was not worth a pinch of the proverbial (no offence meant to anyone) and it took about two years before they started to realize any value for the organization. While an apprentice started to realize value within 6 months. This was apparently put down to a couple of things including; superiority complexes, difficulties in translating theoretical knowledge into practical applications, having to “relearn” the “company way” as opposed to the theoretical way and the emphasis on company specific skill training for apprentices. It isn’t all bad for the college graduate; nearly all managers agreed that within 7 years of hiring a college student (with a degree related to the area of their employment) they had realized a value for the organization of between 2 and 5 times that of someone who had come through the apprenticeship scheme (and hadn’t taken on any additional personal development) and been employed a comparable amount of time. So while I found it funny that managers didn’t put a lot of worth on a college graduates early years of employment I can understand employers requiring a degree.

So I have gone from an era where a college degree really was optional, to where it became important to now where it is almost essential. Before long it will not only be essential to have a degree but also essential that the degree is relevant to the position (something that many employers don’t seem to require yet). Once we start gravitating to that point the requirements will change. For us the challenge is to try and guess the next set of requirements. Will it be industry qualifications (with the proliferation of industry qualifications this is a definite possibility)? Will it be a second degree? Will it be a Masters Degree? We can make educated guesses but one thing is certain, we are now living in a time of lifelong learning.

You may feel frustrated by not having a degree but don’t feel embarrassed. Our past is what has made us what we are. Our present allows us to choose our directions. Our future will bring whatever it brings.

Best of luck to all


Excelsior-BS Operations Management

[SIZE="1"]Excelsior Courses - 4 - 3 "A"s and 1 "P" - 10 Credits (3 UL)
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[SIZE="2"][COLOR="Navy"]Ron -

Save this for an essay down the road, it is very well written, thought out, and may in fact apply to a course or two that may enroll in down the line.

If you don't others may - Wink [/COLOR][/SIZE]
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I actually had to think about this question for awhile. At first glance, I could almost say 'yes, I've felt embarassed by my lack of a degree." However, I refuse to be allow myself to be defined by my having a degree, or lack thereof. 'Embarassed' probably is the wrong word for me. Do I feel that my lack of a degree has kept me from wonderful opportunities, career-wise? Absolutely...who hasn't? Having a degree, in my opinion, has absolutely no bearing on how well somebody can do a specific job or not. Yeah, they may have the 'qualifications' & such...but, all that degree does for you is get you in the game. From there, it's all your character & integrity, or no degree. Anyway...just my 2 cents worth.

~ Matt ~
Big Grin Matymus Primehilarious
Waterloo, NY
Excelsior College
B.S. General Business, Class of 2008

Fall 2011 - currently pursuing Pre-Pharmacy

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