Prelude: While many students receive a positive total return form
earn a low income and a negative economic return.
Effect of Education on Income
1) How important are grades to maximizing my
college academic experience?
Answer: It depend on
the subject. Students good at math should study hard in math,
those who write
well should work hard on all writing assignments.
2) Does this mean that people who are not good in mathematics or English
should ignore these subjects? Answer: Ignore is a strong word. There is a
basic skill level in
core subjects such as mathematics and English that all college
attain. It is not nearly as high as most educators believe, but
to balance a checkbook and write a coherent paragraph consisting of
complete, correctly punctuated sentences is important. See
3) Is being well rounded important? Is earning two B grades was better than
earning an A and a C. Answer: If you are seriously ill and need an operation,
hire the doctor with a B in Operating Procedures and a B in Bedside Manner
or a doctor with a A in Operating Procedure and a C in Bedside
4) So I can forget about extra curricular activities. Answer: Most students studying
math, science and mathematically oriented business areas
where economic return
is highest, do not have as much free time for extra curricular activities. Others, studying
general business and the social sciences (psychology, sociology,
history) may look back
and find the extra curricular activities the most important part of their college experience.
5) I'm confused! Do I, or do I not, study like crazy! Answer: Assuming your goal is to
maximize the economic
return from your investment in college, the one word answer
is skills! You must develop skills someone is willing to pay for. For some majors,
skills (speaking, organizing, leading), are as important as academic skills
(math, science, writing).
6) So developing critical thinking skills is important. Answer: In most cases, you
must have a useful knowledge
base upon which to think critically. Not always!
Thirty-five years ago my
sister, a math major, got her first programming job.
Sitting next to her was an English major. Turns
out the skills developed by these
majors are very similar.