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Thread: Why writing degrees could be worthless

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by WisemanSays View Post
    Then again, this is coming from a Journalism Major dropout who chose an opportunity to get loads of experience rather than sit in a classroom.
    I think our personal preferences and experiences have a lot to do with how we perceive education. Your point about the value of a degree changing over the past decade or so is probably pretty accurate in a lot of ways, but I think it's just as much the students as the education. Those who attended school a couple decades ago or more are likely to have a totally different perspective than those who have attended more recently.

    The problem with students not taking college as seriously as they should when starting immediately after high school is nothing new, but it does appear to me to be significantly worse. Considering the statistics regarding the quality of a high school education in recent years, I guess the low quality of college students now shouldn't be too surprising. My daughters have had their share of frustration because some of the college classes have to teach the things high school students should already know, so the classes are "dumbed down" to accommodate students who are preprogrammed to slack off like it's high school.

    My experience was night classes with mostly older students, so I didn't have to endure that type of setting. Most of my instructors were people who did what they taught in the real world during the day. This certainly had a positive effect on the quality of education I received. It was also within the past decade (my final classes were ending about this time 6 years ago), so my perspective is still from the recent state of the education system.

    Every once in a while, I did get some inside info from students who took most of their classes during the day, and it was enlightening. It was for them too when they experienced the difference. Some of my instructors did teach during the day, and though they didn't reveal too much because it would be inappropriate, I do know they enjoyed their daytime teaching much less. I recall one event where the instructor had to flunk the entire class on a particular test, and it was the same one our night class took and most of us aced it. She was visibly annoyed by the day class over that assignment.

    I'm with you on preferring the real life experience, but it's important to note that I also have enough life experience to know what I'm willing to pay to learn and what I would rather not be forced into just because the degree requires it.
    Steve Chittenden

    Web design, graphic design, professional writing, and marketing.

    "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

  2. #32


    This is true in most business positions, not just writing degrees. One could say that you don't really need to go to school in order to learn how to manage a business. Let's be honest, most people who have degrees still have to look up stuff about their profession constantly. Academia simply highlights what the industry is looking for and ways to meet those demands.

    Writing is especially bad because many companies aren't really concerned with high quality writing, but writing that is passable and highlights anchor text appropriately. One may think that a lot of these writers with college degrees are no better than their uneducated competition, and that the fact that they have a fancy piece of paper that somehow entitles them to more money. It's debatable whether or not a writer with a degree should be paid more just because of the fact, but the conflict lies in what is considered a good copywriter.

    Unfortunately as a writer (with a degree) I may have to agree that a degree in writing is simply a piece of paper that states 'pay me more'. Quality writing is quality writing, period. Whether one needs a degree or not in order to accomplish this is irrelevant. I don't think anybody here is devaluing education, but having studied an area thoroughly does not always translate into success in the business world.

    Writing can be learned, as can the rules of business; either through education or on the job training. Formal education in writing, just like any art form is usually pursued because the person enjoys writing, not because they think they will burst into the business world as the next big copywriter.

  3. #33
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    Sep 2012
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    I actually agree - to a point. I'm a website copy writer, and also produce articles for offline content. I don't have a degree in writing or English, but I cut my teeth in industry and the sales world. I also read a lot, not high brow material, but well written novels and science magazines. Nowadays I spend a lot of time reworking material produced by people with degrees because they have learned a particular style of writing, and it really doesn't work for short pieces of sales copy which is in fact what most business writing is. This includes commercial websites. That said, an good understanding of language, grammar and syntax is essential to all good writing and an writing degree would provide a great foundation, but it's just that, a start. I would be more impressed with someone who produced a 200 word flyer and was able to say "This piece of copy increased sales by 50%". At the end of the day, in business that's what really counts.
    Jerry Saddington - love to know what's happening out there in the Copy Writing world SEO and Copy Writing

  4. #34
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    I have to confess, I got my degrees because I figured it would make me more employable and get me to a higher pay level. Most of what I do, I either knew how to do before I got the degrees or a learned after I had my job and the marketing landscape changed. Getting my degrees and attending classes did help me learn discipline and did encourage critical thinking and some of my classes were very interesting, but I'm not sure I'm a better employee or better at my job because of what I learned in college.

    On the other hand, I love learning stuff just for the sake of it. There's a Masters Degree in Humanities that one of the local colleges offers and I so want to enter the program just because the subject matter sounds cool. The problem is that the practical side of me says that spending that much money and time to get a degree that essentially is about film and books and history probably isn't a good decision economically. It's too bad that education often becomes mixed up with money and not with the idea that becoming educated and being exposed to new ideas is a good thing.


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