By Sara Schwartz, Monday, August 27, 2012, at 9:00 am.
[Originally posted on Euro RSCG’s Social Life and Social Media blog.]
It’s the end of the summer, and well-rested students are loading up their trunks and heading back to school. In the upcoming weeks, campuses will be abuzz again—the summer silence replaced with the energy of a new school year.
Amid the summer stories recounted on the lawn, the hustle and bustle of dorm life, the peacefulness of tree-lined walkways and fresh pages of unused notebooks, anxiety lurks. Students today acknowledge, sometimes subconsciously, that as the price of education continues to rise, the value of a college diploma has begun to diminish.
Entrepreneurialism in the Internet age has contributed to the devaluing of the college diploma. What it takes to get ahead is no longer so predominantly defined by a traditional four-year degree but often, instead, by the levels of innovation and business expertise one possesses.
The biggest names in the tech industry are not college grads. Such tech wunderkinds as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Apple’s Steve Jobs have proven that you do not need a degree to succeed (i.e., the ability to make millions isn’t dependent on a diploma).
As America grapples with an evolving perception of education and its importance, some have begun to embrace a new way of thinking.
Take, for example, Peter Thiel. A co-founder and former CEO of PayPal and one of the first outside investors in Facebook, Thiel is the epitome of a 21st-century venture capitalist—and he’s putting his money where his mouth is. A pioneer in this world of new education, he has started the two-year Thiel Fellowship, which provides a grant of $100,000 to skip college and focus on innovating in technology—work that many would consider to be the future of our country. Rather than burden themselves with college loans and studying alongside professors within the confines of university requirements, Thiel fellows are mentored by the world’s top thinkers and successful entrepreneurs.
Out of 1,000 applicants for 2012, only 20 made the cut—but some may argue that the Thiel Fellowship is laying the groundwork for the future of the American education system.
Some instances of this change in education are not so extreme. Even students who aren’t qualified for programs such as the Thiel Fellowship are taking education into their own hands, melding it to fit their lifestyles and goals. Over the past few years, registration in online programs has increased dramatically. Such programs allow students to affordably study at their own pace off campus while simultaneously enabling them to hold a job (getting back to that whole saving money and gaining work experience bit).
According to a Babson Survey Research Group study, “The number of college students enrolled in at least one online course increased for the ninth straight year” in 2011. And a recent Bloomberg.com article, “College Crackup and the Online Future,” states: “In 2009, about 29 percent of college students took at least one course online; by 2014, that number is projected to increase to 50 percent.” Adds writer Mark C. Taylor: “However effective face-to-face classes might be, the reality is that this traditional model is simply unaffordable for most students.”
With this is mind, it is difficult to say what future “back to schools” will look like.
Pink Floyd might not have been 100 percent right—we do indeed need education—but what form it takes in the future is anyone’s guess.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 27th, 2012 at 9:00 am. It is filed under Features, Social Media, Technology, Trends, Youth and tagged with Apple, Babson Survey Research Group, back to school, Bill Gates, Bloomberg.com, college, college debt, diploma, education, entrepreneurialism, Facebook, Internet, Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft, PayPal, Peter Thiel, Pink Floyd, Steve Jobs, students loans, Thiel Fellowship. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
How is modern life affecting our families and communities? Click here to read Havas Worldwide’s latest Prosumer Report, which analyzes our new mobility, individualized media diets, globalization, and modes of communication and transport in order to find out.
We’re the North American earned-media and buzz boutique (#bethenews) within French holding company Havas. Headquartered in New York City, with Pittsburgh and Chicago offices, we’ve seen rapid growth in the last two years and become one of the most-awarded PR agencies of our size. We’re grounded in media, strategy, client service and community to ensure we message in straight talk and real time. [ read more about us ]
All content © 2013 by Havas PR - All Rights Reserved
Design by JoMarie Fecci