Don't get me wrong, I'd hate to see the arts and creative minds stifled, and everyone forced to work in cubicles. However, the reality is, where will you find a job? Art majors have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
The opportunity to access higher education in this country is one of our greatest legacy's. However, any number of studies can validate that tuition rates have practically doubled just in the last 10 years. (Sure, it's tied to politics, state & federal budget cuts & a number of other influences). . . but even if costs weren't soo inflated, the goal of education is and always has been to open the doors of opportunity for job security.......... right??
All of these generic, liberal arts degrees can get someone's foot in the door, if having a post-secondary education is one of the main job requirements.... but essentially, have you learned a trade? Do you have a skill that gives you the upper hand over the next guy? Not really .........
What is the solution? Well, definitely a more profound focus on career planning in high school, with a continuation overflowing into freshmen, college orientation courses. Pshht, I had no idea as to the purpose of my high school counselor! I told him what courses I wanted to take each semester, and he input them in the computer. I thought that was the extent of his job. Little did I know, students at other schools were receiving real-world advice and guidance on college preparation and career choices. Perhaps, I should have reached out to him, but I didn't even know those things fell under his job duties or knowledge-base. Being the first in my immediate family to go to college, how crucial that information could have been. Instead, I stumbled along, making plenty of unnecessary mistakes due to this omitted information.
Also, when it comes to college planning, families need to take a step back & consider the benefits of attending a community college first. Has anyone been looked over for a job, because they began their degree at community college?? ............. I don't know, but I'd imagine it's very rare! Nobody has ever questioned it on my resume. People are really looking at the college you graduate from, if that's even relevant in your chosen profession. Why not start out taking 60 credit hours of gen. ed. requirements and spending the equivalent of $5,000. Then, transfer those on to your chosen university, and you've avoided two years of extensive student loan debt, while maximizing your educational opportunity. At least at that rate, if you do major in Arts, you're only indebted by two years of the four year degree!
Higher education is such a complex matter, but it is definitely a decision worth mulling over and doing some strategic planning. A 16-18 year-old with little real-world experience may not make the wisest overall decision, so parents need to step up and provide some guidance. Just because a parent didn't go to college, doesn't make them a hypocrite for doing their research and trying to guide their children to make wise college choices.
In the end, it could be the difference between them figuring out how to repay $60,000 in student loans, while working at Subway during the day & playing their guitar in the subway by night! .......... OR making a comfortable living, not strapped by debt, but able to start a family, purchase a home and truly live the American Dream by the time they're out of their 20's.
Nobody wants to be a starving artist. . .