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Bachelor's degree: Has it lost its edge and its value?

Undervalued and overpriced, the beleaguered bachelor's degree is losing its edge as the hallmark of an educated, readily employable American.

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Doubts about the value of a bachelor's degree creates new routes to careers. This is part of the cover story project in the June 18, 2012 issue of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly magazine.

AP/File/Illustration by John Kehe/Staff

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The children of white middle-class, college-educated parents, Hugh Green and Turner Jenkins are just the kind of kids everyone would expect to be stepping out into the world one sunny June day, bachelor's degrees in hand. But they both veered from the traditional American educational route.

One decided that a bachelor's was never going to be enough, while the other concluded it was unnecessary.

Mr. Green enrolled in an accelerated program that will keep him at Emory University in Atlanta for a fifth year and earn him a master's degree. Mr. Jenkins is immersed in a culinary training program in Gaithersburg, Md., that he hopes will launch his career as a chef.

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Once the hallmark of an educated and readily employable adult, the bachelor's degree is losing its edge. Quicker, cheaper programs offer attractive career route alternatives while the more prestigious master's is trumping it, making it a mere steppingstone.

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