From a commenter signing in as ‘Witt’ at Crooked Timber on a post about education and income inequality comes another take on what college education is good for. S/he is speaking to the distinction among different kinds of college degree: here, traditional four-year vs. distance ed. emporia like Phoenix or Strayer. No surprises here, just clearly stated and worth keeping in mind:
Again, without derailing the thread, I have participated in and conducted hiring processes at three organizations (all <50 employees) in the past 15 years, for a variety of postions. College info on a resume is usually only valuable to me in a very broad-brush way; the phone screen and interview tell me much more.
Traditional four-year degrees are a proxy for a kind of middle-class socialization. The candidate I see who have other types of bachelor’s degrees are typically a) hyper-focused on career advancement, with a perception that advancement + salary increases = number of years served + amount of credentials earned, or b) credentialed on paper but sufficiently inexperienced in middle-class norms that I spend gargantuan amounts of time training them. At present I’m in an organization with 14 full-time staff. If you’re not literate enough to learn to produce a very straightforward business letter after two or three go-rounds, you’re not a good match for the skills we need.
(And … in general I don’t hire people from Ivy League schools because their life experience and career expectations are a poor fit for the work I do. They very often self-select out during the interview process. I’ve hired two who were phenomenal exceptions, not least because they were world-class code-switchers.)
It’s nice to see code-switching appreciated.