Advice on finishing college

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by nathan, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. nathan


    Jul 16, 2004
    I've got two years of college under my belt. I stopped going to college last year because I had no idea what I wanted to do and didn't want to pay thousands of dollars a year to study something I'm unsure of.

    Now I'm beginning my second year of not being in college and I just moved half way across the country to play music in a big city with my band. I'm 21 years old.

    It's kind of just hitting me now that I'm not in school. It feels weird. Other members of the band are already graduated.

    So my question is...

    How important do you think it is to finish college? I plan on going back but only when I know for sure what I want to study and I don't know when that will be. Am I taking a big risk by not finishing right away?

    Your advice is needed and appreciated!
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Unless you want to go through life with little job security, making less than you know you're worth, get your degree.

    Even with a degree right now, it's hard to find jobs. I couldn't imagine trying without a degree.

    I hate to say it, but higher education in this day and age makes you average at best. In my eyes, it's quite necessary.
  3. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I did this. It's OK to take some time off.
    OTOH, don't worry about "knowing what you want to be" - know what you are interested in learning. What I do now (and I earn a nice living in the tech field) has nothing to do with my major as an undergrad (or my Master's degree, for that matter). But having "learned how to learn", completed college, and kept an open mind (and continuing to learn along the way) was critical to getting to where I am now.
    and knowing how pay grades work, the degree(s) help bump up your salary nicely.
  4. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Depends on your field entirely.
    A bit of advice... definitely find out what it is you want to pursue. At least at a high level. "Music" "Computers" "people" etc. Then you can start to narrow things down from there.

    From what I've found regarding degrees is that it's heavily dependant on what field you're entering. For myself, being in with IT, it's still relativly easy getting a job with no degree. Basically, the degree would be insurance to get it past HR and to the hiring manager - who often don't care about the degree (as there's thousands of "paper degree" people out there), and actually want to see your skills etc.

    Now, if you're more in the field I left - engineering - you best have at least your bachelors. This will help you find jobs. Masters and Doctorates aren't "required" for most jobs, but, anymore, more and more engineers are pursuing them.

    So, your first step is to narrow things down. Don't just do it in a night. Go out and talk to people who do things that interest you, and see if the full scope of the job is appealing. Weigh everything that you gather and make a decision on that.

    Good luck.
  5. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    I had three years toward an engineering degree and left because I hated college. I liked the raw material but I just couldn't stand the university process. That was 20 years ago and I never went back. I got married young and had a daughter and that made it so that I had to keep working factory jobs to earn a steady paycheck.

    I think about 9 out of 10 people would rather have gotten the degree in order to get the extra job security and huge bump in salary that goes with it. But, I've never regretted it that much because that's just my personality - I actually like factory jobs and I particularly like the company that I've worked for over the last 14 years.

    My own opinion is that a college degree is overrated and many people can be successful without one - but most people don't try that hard because they think it's impossible. Still, there are a great many fields that absolutely require a degree to even get in the door. If you want to work in one of those fields, you have to get that piece of paper, and the longer you wait to go back to school, the harder it will be.
  6. Finish the degree. It's only two years and, odds are, you will make more with a degree. I know people who don't have degrees that make great money. But, overall, those who have degrees make far more money.

    Plus, as others said, many occuaptions won't even talk to you without a degree.
  7. rr5025


    Nov 12, 2008
    I'd get the degree man, like has been said you're a tad screwed without it (unless stuff really picks up soon). I wouldn't be surprised if it is at the point in ten years where you need a masters just to be average.
  8. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    It does.

    Getting my BFA degree was the biggest waste of time and money of anything I ever did, and that's saying a lot.

    It never made me a red cent. Not one. Probably cost me: It made me overqualified for many of the jobs I applied for and really needed.
  9. One of the other posters makes a good point that you can be successful without a degree. However, at this point in time it is to your advantage to get the degree, even if you never really do anything with it in your chosen field. I think any degree with benefit you down the road. Most companies won't even call you for an interview if you don't have a degree.

    I went through a management trainee program at one of the Fortune 500 companies, and one of the other trainees at my location had a degree in English. It had nothing to do with business, but it opened the door for him to get into the program because a college was a minimum requirement.

    I'm going to suggest to get back to school sooner than later. I just finished my masters, and it was difficult being out of school for a period of time to get back into the swing of college.

    I can tell you from a hiring standpoint, I won't even look at someone who doesn't have a college degree, not to mention that I'm not allowed to hire anyone who doesn't have one. Keep in mind that I work in aerospace, so it may be different in every industry. The completion of college shows that an individual has a track record for success and it speaks about your ablity to learn and that you can apply what you have learned.

    It would definately be in your best interest to go back and finish your degree.
  10. Beller


    Aug 8, 2009
    Statesboro, GA
    At the end of the day it's never about how much money you made. Find a college literature professor who'll have a few beers with you and find out what it means to love learning. You'll be glad you did. I hope the best for you.
  11. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Go back to school while you still can. DO IT! I took a "few semesters" off a little better than 21 years ago, and never went back. The older you get, the harder it is.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    On the average, your lifetime earning power is more than $1 million higher with a college degree than without it...and the need for a degree is increasing every year.

    Get the degree.

    You do need to decide on a major - but it doesn't have to be in Engineering or Business. if you love music, major in Music!

    If you can support it, connect with an institution that provides most of the courses online, then stay in the music biz and take classes online while you work. Tons of employed adults do that, and it will fit any schedule.

    In in distance education - I know how this works. If you wish, PM me.
  13. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.
    you don't have to specialize in a more lucrative major, but at least take some classes that are business oriented like accounting or finance. This way you can understand the conversations going on.
  14. LSquared


    Jul 28, 2009
    SW Illinois USA
    A degree is a great door opener. I'm 27 years past my degree, and my career has only the slightest connection to what I studied. But I would have never gotten my first job in this field (engineering), or any of the subsequent ones without the paper.

    These days, I'm in the hiring side of the equation. And I'm not hiring you if you don't have a degree. Either a 4 year degree, or Associates degree plus plenty of direct experience.

    That's just the way of it, I'm afraid.
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I disagree. I got my Associates, and returned to finish my Bachelor's degree about 15 years later. I found it MUCH easier the second time around. Adult students are much more focused and serious, and real life workplace experience makes schoolwork seem really, really easy. I graduated with a 3.7GPA and my company paid for 100% of my tuition. The people in my university's adult degree completion program commented that our program had the highest average GPA of any program at the school.

    My advice to the OP - finish your Associate's at least, if you have a steady job right now see what their educational reimbursement policy is.
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    The key is - get ANY 4-year degree. It doesn't make intuitive sense, but there are tons of good positions that require a degree - and it doesn't matter which one. But without the degree, they CANNOT hire you.
  17. This is well said.
  18. Smurf-o-Deth

    Smurf-o-Deth ¡No me gustan mis pantalones!

    Oct 2, 2007
    The state of denial.
    And very true in the corporate world, I know from experience. May as well have a degree in degree ownership.
  19. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Yup. Even a degree in General Studies (no major - unusual but some schools offer it) counts as a 4-year degree.

    In today's job market, if the description says "bachelor's degree required" then your resume goes in the discard pile if you don't have one - no matter how good you are, no matter how much experience you have.
  20. Combat Chuck

    Combat Chuck

    Jul 27, 2009
    North Texas
    Do it. I'd recommend doing it sooner rather than later, since I'm pretty sure that the odds of you being able to transfer all of your hours for relevant credit drop the longer you wait.
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