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Are academic qualifications important?

by VerityG (follow)
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By Mike Knell (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons.

All the way through school, children are urged to work hard and do well in their exams, so that they can go to a prestigious university and get a good degree. But is this really important? Do other factors count for as much, maybe more? Do you think you or children could be a great success without academic qualifications?

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I think it depends on what career path you want to go down. I certainly think you can be successful without a degree! A have known many people who have attended uni to get the qualifications, worked in that field and then realized it was not the job for them. What a waste of time and money! I have a friend who's son left school at Yr 10, he is now in his 20's and owns a successful business.
My husband was just remarking yesterday that one of the most successful people he knows at work left school at 16 with practically no qualifications, which is what prompted my question! We were just never given that perspective when I was at school, just told that without qualifications we would be failures.
Although the qualifications can come in handy for work (if a prestigious job is someone's goal in life), I really think it's crucial to be conscious that academic success is not success in life. A 'successful' life is so much more than a bit of paper declaring that a person has achieved a certain level of knowledge in a particular field and therefore a specific social status. I'm sure there'd be a lot more happy and balanced people in the world if this was clear.
This is what I'm gradually realising as I get older and further away from the rat race :)
I used to think they were very important. I have multiple letters after my name and had a high status job..... but I wasn't happy!
Now I am aware that people who left school at 16, with very few qualifications but who have found the right job for them are as successful in their career as those who stayed in education until their late 20s. A prestigious job doesn't actually require a piece of paper or a qualification, it requires someone who is good at their job and enjoys doing it.
If my son wants to go to university then I shall support him but I certainly shan't place him on the conveyor belt of education that I was on.
It depends. For some jobs you need a specific qualification. However, I think a bit too much emphasis gets placed on university degrees when they're just not useful for everyone, and not everybody has the aptitude or desire to study at uni. It's not the be all and end all, and it does leave most students with a gigantic debt to pay off.
The money required these days is very scary! We've started saving now in case Savile wants to go to university, then if he doesn't he can use the money as a house deposit or to start a business or whatever he needs it for. We're lucky in that we can afford to put money aside for this, I can't imagine how other families manage. I would have hated starting out in life with £70k of debt!
I agree with Jennifer, it really depends on what you want to do in the future! Some jobs require a degree, some don't! Some employers think qualifications are important, some think experience is more important. It all depends on the type of work and what the employer requirements are. Also, there may be the idea that people with qualifications find better and higher paying jobs than people without degrees.
They are important for theory and ticking a box to get a job. Many degrees aren't overly useful though.
Today one needs some pce of paper.
It is important to show that you have some education.Uni and the like, are for people who want to maybe go into a certain profession.
I never pushed my older two sons, but my third son was born 16 years after my first so it is a different world.I could see, he needed that pce of paper.
So I told him, I didn't care if his marks were high or low....just make sure you get it.
He did, and is now still studying, because I had to take away the pressure.
I can't stand pressure on young people, and unless 'they' want high marks I
think it is up to them.
You can not get more than what they want to give, and what profession they want is up to them.
I have told all my boys do what you love and are good at.
That's one bit of advice they all took....Parents who push and push their children and are over the top, in my opinion need a good smack.
What ever happened to letting our youth make their own choices at what they feel, they would love to do.
Your reply reminds me of the Jim Carey speech that's popular at the moment - have you seen it? His father gave him the same advice you gave your sons and look what happened :)
No I haven't seen it!
But men have to work a tad longer in the workforce, and they can have some awful bosses.
Depression is on the rise, and also we have a lot of people doing jobs, that they really do not like or not really suited.
It is their lives, and I also told my last son ''even if you wanted to be a street sweeper'', and loved it (it's a honest profession).Do what you want.
by jonaja
Once I thought it was important but at the moment getting a job when you're young isn't easy, even if you have a degree. Watching my kids go through schooling and reaching uni age I soon realised that there's more than one way to skin the cat! I think it really depends on there's on and their choice of career path.
I think they are important, they can give a person a sense of achievement and confidence of being competitive, but I don't think they are absolutely necessary.
Yes you can. What we do need to provide is choice, some will find their way through a non-academic pathway and others will through the academic. It is important to acknowledge diversity in the learner demographic and not apply a one sized fits all approach. Success is measured in many different ways, the importance is not to limit accessiblity to success whatever the path is.
There are a lot of jobs requiring a degree, that shouldn't. One that comes to mind is a Nursing Degree. Because they have a degree, nurses feel that carrying out the routine chores involved in nursing, is below them. Now PCAs carry out the nurses duties in public hospitals, whilst nurses seem to be sitting at computers in offices.
Oh! fran, your second sentence is just SO true! Nurses aren't trained in Hospitals now, more's the pity!
by donjo
Yes it is, but I don't think it is as important as it once was. In my country education is tailored to preparing you to get a job. And jobs are scarce. However, If you don't have an education, you don't have a chance. Unless you have a marketable skill. Entrepreneurs stand a better chance. However education does tend to make an individual more refined. Even if he or she never works for anyone.
People can still be a success without any qualification however they are important in some instances.
I think education is important, formal or informal. The quest for knowledge is life long. The piece of paper may just be a formality for a particular employer.
Yes very
They come in handy in some circumstances.

For 45 years', I attended the 'University of Life', during my Career. The work Courses were enough to keep me well & truly on 'top of my game'. Thoroughly enjoyed them, & always topped them, min was 85%, so at times quite 'brain numbing'. I obtained just SO many Work Course Certificates, I had a thick two-ring binder, with them doubled inside PSP's, in chronological order. It became my 'Qualifications Folder'.

My husband has 3 Degree's, & wanted to do PhD, during which time I would've had to support him financially. I asked him one question: 'will it get you a higher work position than you've already got, therefore higher pay?'. Answer: No!
So he gave it a miss. He lost nothing, work wise, by not doing it. He actually realised that 'a piece of paper' isn't all it's cracked up to be!
by fran.
Oh! fran, thank you. I really do enjoy your always sensible inputs. Cheers!
by donjo
Yes they are important they open doors and are required to succeed.
I'm not sure to tell you the truth, my husband spent quite a bit of time and a lot of money studying at the Flinders, in the end the course wasn't recognised, what a shame for the money! and the time.
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