generation limbo: 20-somethings today, debt, unemployment, the questionable value of a college education

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think about all of the reasons people leave school, then think about all of the reasons people don't finish in this magical 6 year period -- it adds up

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:41 (seven years ago) link

I would def learn to juggle to work as a happiness consultant at yale

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:42 (seven years ago) link

But are these actually dropout rates, or do they lump transfers in as well?

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:43 (seven years ago) link

9%? wau

TBH my perception is very, very skewed because the vast majority of reasons why ppl would leave school were covered by undergrad services; multiple ppl had kids and still graduated in 6 years, had drug dependency issues and still graduated in 6 years, went crazy to the point of involuntary committal and still finished in 6 years, etc.

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:45 (seven years ago) link

it's not a measurement of dropouts, but graduations

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:45 (seven years ago) link

(to xtine)

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:45 (seven years ago) link

No, I meant that the graduation rate may have been artificially depressed by the number of transfers. I know that it works that way in some states with high schools.

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:50 (seven years ago) link

If those same grads are highly willing to be geographically mobile, highly willing to consider actuarial training, and highly willing to take tougher courses and study where the jobs are (doesn’t have to be tech subjects, some of those are failing too), the unemployment response to a given AD shock will be much lower.

anyway i think this is both wrong and misleading. on the whole as someone pointed out upthread its fine to say on individual level 'oh you shouldve been an actuary not a puppeteer' or w/e but there are hardly enough actuarial (or electrical engineering or software dev) jobs to give to everyone. also theres both an information and a time lag in education and its hard to fault anyone for not being prescient enough to know that IT jobs would be oversubscribed and actuaries would not or w/e.

realistically (and as well) most (white collar) jobs are only well-paying because they havent been outsourced/mechanized efficiently yet or because some credentialing body artificially restricts the supply neither of which bodes well for the prospects of young ppl in high school. the reason cowen's argument is particularly bad is because it obscures the real problem, which is that college is a bad investment for most ppl and is probably becoming increasingly worse one

so solaris (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:54 (seven years ago) link

otm across the board

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:57 (seven years ago) link

TBH my perception is very, very skewed because the vast majority of reasons why ppl would leave school were covered by undergrad services; multiple ppl had kids and still graduated in 6 years, had drug dependency issues and still graduated in 6 years, went crazy to the point of involuntary committal and still finished in 6 years, etc.

― dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, November 9, 2011 1:45 PM (10 minutes ago) Bookmark

yeah, I knew a person who completely failed across the board all her classes one semester, was given a mulligan

try doing that at a public school

there was also a story in the student newspaper about a student who stopped going to classes because she was playing WoW 16 hours a day

bet she prob ended up graduating too

in the end, ivies are probably willing to rubber stamp somebody on the way out if they get to keep their graduation rate in the 90% range

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:01 (seven years ago) link

Every school I've been to (4 state colleges and one community college) has had grad rates from 7 percent (at the community college) to the low 30s percents at the highest.

My friend works at one of the state colleges with a special retention program that he spearheaded – he grew up in Compton and he tries to get kids from there to go to this college and then stay in. He's got a really small support network at the college and threats of funding cuts all the time. It's totally crushing him because he's got so many out-of-school factors he's competing with. I was obv not in his program but he was and is a mentor to me and he's one of the biggest reasons I graduated college at all (I mean look at my track record there). He's the one who convinced me I could go to grad school and guided me through that whole process. I think my point is he's an anomaly at the kind of schools I've been to and it was just awesome luck that he's part of my life. The cost for him to choose to help people like that is more taxing than I could handle.

ghost grapes (Abbbottt), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:07 (seven years ago) link

anyway i think this is both wrong and misleading. on the whole as someone pointed out upthread its fine to say on individual level 'oh you shouldve been an actuary not a puppeteer' or w/e but there are hardly enough actuarial (or electrical engineering or software dev) jobs to give to everyone. also theres both an information and a time lag in education and its hard to fault anyone for not being prescient enough to know that IT jobs would be oversubscribed and actuaries would not or w/e.

realistically (and as well) most (white collar) jobs are only well-paying because they havent been outsourced/mechanized efficiently yet or because some credentialing body artificially restricts the supply neither of which bodes well for the prospects of young ppl in high school. the reason cowen's argument is particularly bad is because it obscures the real problem, which is that college is a bad investment for most ppl and is probably becoming increasingly worse one

― so solaris (Lamp)

I already sorta said this but I think what bothers me most is the inability for someone like cowen to contextualize this. he is *in the belly of this beast*, his current paycheck depends on people believing that a non-technical degree from a so-so american public college is a *good investment*. his future paychecks depend on that demand!

dude is the most annoying person on my google reader feed but he's still worth reading I guess.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:43 (seven years ago) link

Studying puppetry and then not getting a job sounds sort of like boomer-parent life expectations colliding with our generation's reality. But yeah it's kind of a strawman too inasmuch as it's not very representative.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:43 (seven years ago) link

For reference, the 4 and 6-year graduation rates are the %age of first-time college students entering the school as freshmen who graduate from that school after 4 or 6 years. So yes students who transfer to other institutions and ultimately graduate count against reported graduation rates. As do dropouts and lingerers.

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:47 (seven years ago) link

Also I guess that means that students who transfer in to an institution don't end up on the top-line graduation rate numbers anywhere.

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:47 (seven years ago) link

If you want a symbol of our time it is not the unemployed puppeteers it is the unemployed JDs

xpost

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:49 (seven years ago) link

rly hate tyler cowen

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:51 (seven years ago) link

If you want a symbol of our time it is not the unemployed puppeteers it is the unemployed JDs

totally

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:52 (seven years ago) link

yeah I have a friend who is applying to law schools for the third year in a row, despite becoming increasingly aware that (a) he will hate it (b) he will be just as unemployed after he graduates as he is now

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:55 (seven years ago) link

he is an idiot

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:55 (seven years ago) link

tell him you read on the internet he should just be a paralegal and work for one of the new on-line firms

the green (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:58 (seven years ago) link

at least hell have a job in 10 years

the green (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:58 (seven years ago) link

it's really not worth telling him to do anything, I don't think he wants my advice. I think in reality he's just waiting for his grandmother to die so he can inherit some unfair amount of money.

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:07 (seven years ago) link

(also my advice is probably of dubious value given my decision to apply to PhD programs)

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:11 (seven years ago) link

yeah, I knew a person who completely failed across the board all her classes one semester, was given a mulligan

try doing that at a public school

there was also a story in the student newspaper about a student who stopped going to classes because she was playing WoW 16 hours a day

oh man I am so glad WoW didn't exist when I was in college

For us, if you failed 2+ classes in a semester, or failed a class in consecutive semesters, you had to take a mandatory year off and came back on academic probation. Interestingly, this happened to about... 75%? of my close social circle. (NOTE: If you are going to spend 3 consecutive weeks playing Asshole every night until 4 AM, make sure someone is funneling your class assignments to you, like I did.)

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:28 (seven years ago) link

(also, all of the guys who had an enforced year off came back and completely kicked ass in their majors, while I basically did the bare minimum to graduate in 4 years; I would really like to do that section of my life over)

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:29 (seven years ago) link

If you are going to spend 3 consecutive weeks playing Asshole every night until 4 AM

In that I am perhaps sheltered, this phrase raises questions.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:40 (seven years ago) link

haha - its a card game

the green (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:46 (seven years ago) link

lol

here are the basic rules, there are several variants: http://assholerules.com/

We always played with a President, Vice-President, Vice-Asshole and Asshole; President and Asshole swapped 2 cards, Vice-President and Vice-Asshole swapped one. Also, if you lost the Presidency you were automatically the Asshole in the next round. You could also order anyone below you in the hierarchy to drink at any time. We also didn't have special rules for the 3 or 4 cards; whoever had the 3 of clubs always started play.

A popular rule in our games was the Waterfall, where everyone would start chugging and you could only stop when the person directly above you in the hierarchy stopped; usually that meant someone in the middle would be torturing everyone below them.

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:47 (seven years ago) link

srsly tho, discovering Asshole after playing Bullshit for years ruined several of my friends.

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:47 (seven years ago) link

asshole is one of my fav card games ever tho i prob haven't played it in over a decade (fuck) and have never played it as a drinking game

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:48 (seven years ago) link

yeah bullshit is pretty lame in comparison

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:48 (seven years ago) link

at dan's college the president actually gets to be president when the game's over

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:49 (seven years ago) link

I played an unbelievable amount of asshole in high school

max, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:50 (seven years ago) link

yeah we played the hell out of it in high school but in college ppl only wanted to play kings cup

the green (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:52 (seven years ago) link

lol iatee

we also turned Cosmic Wimpout into a drinking game

no one wanted in on my attempts to make Lunch Money into a drinking game tho

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:52 (seven years ago) link

(97% graduation rate, remember)

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 20:53 (seven years ago) link

If you are going to spend 3 consecutive weeks playing Asshole every night until 4 AM

see I thought y'all were talking about the Gene Simmons album Asshole

fill up ass of emoticon fart (crüt), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:11 (seven years ago) link

actually for us it would have been Beck or Morrissey

they did not often let me control the music

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:17 (seven years ago) link

Asshole was known as Capitalism at my high school, didn't play a lot of card games in college.

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:22 (seven years ago) link

presumably because the internet had been invented by then

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:25 (seven years ago) link

wait what are we talking about?

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:25 (seven years ago) link

I too am in the belly of the beast but I wanna say that teaching at a public 4-year institution & seeing how the students perform / attend class gives special insight into why graduation rates are as low as they are at such institutions.

like, maybe college isn't worth it b/c it doesn't teach valuable skills---I disagree---but keep in mind how many people absolutely waste those years & think, maybe that's part of the problem too.

Euler, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:36 (seven years ago) link

weve argued abt this before i think and im p sympathetic in general i mean i get enough students coming to office hours not having attended lectures in two months wanting me to help them solve half a semesters worth of problem sets cuz now its midterms but at the same time ive attended a fair share of lectures simply regurgitating information from assigned texts or that was garbled and unclear and thought 'i have to work tonight and finish a lab and a newspaper article to write and i really couldve used an extra hour of sleep, thanks a fucking lot' so

the green (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:43 (seven years ago) link

agreed that shitty teaching is a thing but it's not the only thing here. I mean the cynical take that "we fuck off 'cos they fuck off 'cos we fuck off..." is wrong...I think?

I read threads on ILX occasionally (less these days 'cos life is nuts!) in which there's the sentiment of "lol college, I really fucked off" & it seems like around here, there's nothing to be ashamed of in saying that, & I think that's indicative of the problem. I feel very out of touch on here sometimes.

I was reading something recently that suggested that the problem is that some people just don't have the skills to work super hard, & that it's bad that our culture expects everyone to be able to do that. & I think that's a terrible concession.

Euler, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:49 (seven years ago) link

sometimes there are actually no good reasons to wok hard

like if someone is graduating from your college and not planning on grad school the difference between them getting an A and a C is pretty minimal. i mean my gf graduated from an ivy league school w/ like a 4.3 and the only field where that really would 'matter' is finance. nobody else really gave a shit. so I mean it's completely rational for a lot of people to not work that hard.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:54 (seven years ago) link

haha wok hard

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:54 (seven years ago) link

wok hard pay hard

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 21:56 (seven years ago) link

ive certainly noticed that the public university i work for does a much better job of treating students as adults and that, while support services are there, its up to students to seek help and make the initial effort, as opposed to having faculty/admin intervene and guide students the way they wld @ a top tier private school (ime). im sort of ambivalent abt this, there are obvious advantages to both but i think ambitious, dedicated students from public schools probably graduate stronger people w/ better overall knowledge and skills

my big problem is: there still seems to be a declining correlation btw the work that students do at a university and their job prospects after? i think im probably exaggerating this since most evidence says otherwise (haha) and that complicates things. the fundamental/systemic issues are still there no matter how diligent an undergrad you are i guess

ive had this argument w/friends irl too: when i was an undergrad (half a decade ago now!) i was p driven, i played sports and wrote for the newspaper and did charity work and worked at a job in my field and basically made sure i had the sort of resume that wld get me job afterwards, as much as i was able. and it worked, i had a job waiting for me @ graduation and when i left finance i got another well-paying job right away. and i think on an individual level these things matter. but if everyone does them then they sort of end up losing their value, like an A- at princeton or w/e. i also think its worth asking whether some amount of goofing around isnt useful/part of the point? idk...

the green (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:02 (seven years ago) link

I wok hard every day

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:15 (seven years ago) link


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