Re: College Degrees and Employment

College isn't just about the education -- I would argue it's hardly about the exams so much is it about networking and utilizing resources the university has to offer in order to get you involved in companies and/or organizations related to your field of interest.  It is such a common misconception that college is solely about studying, being assessed, passing said assessments, and graduating with a degree.  Often times I hear stories of people who had friends or knew of family members who went to college, received a degree with a 3.7 GPA, and are in a ludicrous amount of debt with no line of work in their foreseeable future.  I make it a point to ask if during their time at the university did they work with their career services department.  The answers are either I don't know or no.  This gives the prospect of college a bad name.  Students are advised regularly to take advantage of university-offered services more often than not.  You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force him to drink it.  The inability of students' showing initiative costs them making contacts, getting first-hand experience, and ultimately, the probability they will get a job in what they enjoy doing.  To put it blankly, college isn't what most people think it is.  Furthermore, it is believed that if students don't get a job relative to their major, it is the prospect of college's fault, not the student's.

Please don't misunderstand -- grades still hold significant revelance in college.  They are, however, about as important as schools let them be important.  Scholarship awards are contingent upon students' performance in class as well as involvement in extra curricular activities.  In other words, good grades get you through school by earning you money to help pay for your tuition, and of course making you more likely to get into other schools.  Outside of the academic arena, however, only rarely do employers (in America) request a copy of your transcript.  They are more concerned with what degree you earned rather than what your grade was in Contemporary Ethics.  In sum, grades are important predominantly inside the academic arena.

I've been working with a professor and some other advisors on getting an internship related to computer science.  Thus far, I've applied to an intership for field placement, and have an inside connection with a local medical center in need of dev-ops.  If I hadn't bothered to meet with my professor or the other advisors at the university, I wouldn't have found these opportunities.

To wrap this up, college is a time to study what you want, but also to network and forge relationships with those who are in the field who will hopefully, in turn, provide you with ways to get on the inside as well.  Pick the right school, ensure disability services meet expectation, do well in your classes, apply for boatloads of scholarships, and don't be afraid to bang on some different departments' doors to have your questions asked.

HTH
Luke

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