Yes. Yes it is, if you’re to believe the conclusion drawn by journalists at the Wall Street Journal, based on results of a report released recently (Full PDF report here) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The Journal starts by repeating what’s become increasingly clear over the past few years — that college is becoming more and more expensive, in turn requiring students to take on much more debt.
But then they add a twist. They say that one thing that is normally seen as a strength of the U.S. system — that we have so many options for courses and types of study — that it is very easy for someone to pick the wrong one, whether “wrong” means that it’s something the student or graduate doesn’t enjoy or that won’t make much money.
Interesting enough, right?
Certainly at the average, those who attend college get higher pay and better protected from unemployment when the economy goes sour. But what this reminds us is that if you start to look at individual cases, there are a lot of people for whom the decision to attend a certain type of school — or maybe even attend school at all — is the wrong one.
There are ways to alleviate some of the risk; I’ve always thought it was pretty nuts to expect 18-year-olds to have an idea of what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but that’s pretty much what we’re asking them to do when we tell them to pick an expensive school to attend right out of high school. One of the things I did better the second time around was using the job I wanted to have after graduation to help me decide what school to go to and how to go about getting that job while in school.
Anyway, what are your thoughts? I’m especially curious to hear the opinion of international readers.