Recently, the rate of people who enter college is quite high in developed countries. Seventy-four percent of Americans and a half of Japanese enter a college, according to an official report by the Japanese government. The average rate of entering college is 62% in the OECD. Higher education has been dramatically spread.
Then, is it truly valuable for a person to study at college? There are very ironic data about it. The Economist showed that graduation from a college is not beneficial in terms of total income in many cases. According to this article, many graduates are struggling to get back their financial investment of entering a college in later life.
The Economist: Higher Education Is college worth it?
It is no doubt that it is not the only purpose for a college student to earn much money in the future. Nevertheless, this result is shocking.
I think that there are three goals of graduating from a college.
First, you cultivate some specialized knowledge and techniques for the future development at work. The most typical case is medical school. You have to graduate from medical school to become a physician. Some kinds of scientists also utilize their experience at a college directly for further research. MBA is another good example. They are so very lucky that they can apply what they have learned to their own job.
Second, even if you cannot utilize a certain knowledge you learned in college, you can acquire some basic skills necessary in a business, such as logical thinking, literacy, project management, and so on. For example, after gaining a bachelor of French literature, perhaps you can make a planning paper for a product, with a large amount of documents. It is a sense of culture.
The third advantage of graduating a college is signaling. If you are an examiner, which person do you adopt, a graduate from Harvard, or uneducated one? Although discriminating a person with educational level is no good, academic background shows some information about yourself. It is a little pity if this is the only meaning of graduating from college.
I think there is somewhat unbalancing. For some people, continuous studying is beneficial, but for others not. There should be many opportunities to choose your own academic history. We should avoid the both situations; that a person who hope to enter a college cannot do so, and that anyone enter a college regardless of their own talent.