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Thoughts on the value of a non STEM "Big Brand" bachelors degree as an adult student
#1
I've been doing research and it seems like a lot of people on LinkedIn with non STEM related bachelors are not financially stable from the outside looking in unless they become entrepreneurs or get into high ticket sales, etc. I'm seeing people with bachelors from Duke, Harvard University, Brown, NYU and other similar colleges in intern positions, volunteering, or stuck in jobs where you think (from the perspective of an observer) that the brand of the degree doesn't matter and anyone who's at the right place or the right time could very well be performing their job instead. Also, after doing a search for "Harvard ALB" on LinkedIn I'm seeing cases where a person gets an ALB from Harvard (HES) and then follows it up with a 3rd tier masters and it makes the overall profile of the person look bad, and on top of that their job does not change in accordance with the time frame spent in school when looking at their progress timeline. This is touching up on what @alexf.1990  and @cookderosa  mentioned in an earlier thread and it makes a lot of sense when you start evaluating these things. It's almost a no brainer as an adult student to get the quickest bachelors possible with RA accreditation (brand doesn't matter as much as we think. It's all in our head) and follow it up a strong specialized masters. What's interesting is that now in days you could even re-brand your whole profile with a STEM related masters if you want to go that route, and for the most part your bachelors doesn't matter if the accreditation is regionally accepted and you got whatever pre-requirements are needed to enroll into the program. It does seem like we are moving towards a period where the bachelors degree is really thew new high school diploma.
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#2
I agree with you about the bachelor's degree being the new High School Diploma. When I had my first "Real" career job in Information Technology,  a degree was nice to have but not required and this was in 2006 at a local college. I was the youngest member on facility and I had zero credentials except I was in the right place at the right time and I seized the opportunity. It would surprise you where soft skills can take you. That would never work in today's market, I would have not had a snowball's chance in hell.  

From that moment forward the job market has only gotten harder for people without a degree. I live in an underprivileged area where a Masters Degree and 10 years of experience has the average pay of $45,000 a year; I know you are thinking the cost of living (COL) must be cheap and that depends. It used to be until people from big cities bought all the real estate dirt cheap. Now the cost of property has climbed, and it is hard to find a nice neighborhood.

Bank teller jobs will list no degree required but preferred. Even having a bachelor's degree doesn't guarantee a liveable wage which blows my mind considering the cost of a traditional education.

The only way I see you can distinguish yourself is to build a portfolio and hope you picked the right research to standout and have killer references or you worked for Tesla or Google and use that to springboard to something else. The Masters will help you stand out but then what comes after that?

If my grandmother was alive, she would be 120 years old. I have her 8th grade diploma that she framed. When she attended school completing 8th grade and High School meant something and today it doesn't.
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#3
(06-25-2019, 10:48 PM)Life_One Wrote: I agree with you about the bachelor's degree being the new High School Diploma. When I had my first "Real" career job in Information Technology,  a degree was nice to have but not required and this was in 2006 at a local college. I was the youngest member on facility and I had zero credentials except I was in the right place at the right time and I seized the opportunity. It would surprise you where soft skills can take you. That would never work in today's market, I would have not have had a snowball's chance in hell.  

From that moment forward the job market has only gotten harder for people without a degree. I live in an underprivileged area where a Masters Degree and 10 years of experience has the average pay of $45,000 a year; I know you are thinking the cost of living (COL) must be cheap and that depends. It used to be until people from big cities started buying all the real estate dirt cheap. Now the cost of property has climbed, and it is hard to find a nice neighborhood.

Bank teller jobs will list no degree required but preferred. Even having a bachelor's degree doesn't guarantee a liveable wage which blows my mind considering the cost of a traditional education.

The only way I see you can distinguish yourself is to build a portfolio and hope you picked the right research to standout and have killer references or you worked for Tesla or Google and use that to springboard to something else. The Masters will help you stand out but then what comes after that?

If my grandmother was alive, she would be 120 years old. I have her 8th grade diploma that she framed. When she attended school completing 8th grade and High School meant something and today it doesn't.
Thank you for your valuable input. It helps to see things from a different perspective. My parents are both the same, they didn't attend college. Though that didn't keep them from having an OK quality of life, but times have changed.
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#4
People mainly care about the details of your GPA or school if you're a traditional college graduate going into the normal entry-level positions for their career since there's not much else to judge by. Once you get a bit past that point, the focus shifts. The people who are hiring us older students expect us to have a degree, but are not focused on it, they're more focused on our experience and skills.
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#5
I would say that if you got to Harvard and then get a "3rd tier master's" it really depends on the master's you get. If you are 10 years out and want a Cybersecurity degree, and go to WGU to get it, I'm not thinking that's 3rd tier, it's just practical - give me a relevant degree for the least amount of time and money I can find.

But a college degree never has, and never will, guarantee a job of any kind, well-paying or otherwise. That's all on you.
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#6
(06-26-2019, 01:09 PM)dfrecore Wrote: I would say that if you got to Harvard and then get a "3rd tier master's" it really depends on the master's you get. If you are 10 years out and want a Cybersecurity degree, and go to WGU to get it, I'm not thinking that's 3rd tier, it's just practical - give me a relevant degree for the least amount of time and money I can find.

But a college degree never has, and never will, guarantee a job of any kind, well-paying or otherwise. That's all on you.

That last sentence needs to reiterated over and over and over. I have several high school students at my bank and I tell them that networking is key in undergrad, grad school, etc. Always be kind to people because one day, you may need them. Ones education is only one piece of the puzzle.
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#7
Most non-STEM graduates of Harvard and other top schools actually do very well. Starting as an intern is normal for traditional students and helps them get work experience they don't have. Internships can be quite competitive. There's also nothing wrong with volunteering. I bet you that most of those high-paid staff members in politics started as interns and volunteers.

I believe it's better to go with a cheap bachelor's and shoot for a prestigious master's. There are more prestigious, online graduate programs to choose from, and getting a master's is cheaper than getting a bachelor's. However, I'm referring to competitive programs that are the same as traditional, on-campus programs. If a program accepts almost anyone, it's not really prestigious, in my opinion.

If you're young, then go to the best undergraduate program you can get into if the financial aid is there. You probably won't have to bury your bachelor's with a more prestigious master's.
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