Via Catherine Rampell, two more charts on whether college is worth it and, more proactively, how to make it worth it. First: unemployment rates by level of education.


You want to be a bit skeptical about that data: Some of that is the value of a diploma, but some of it is the difference between the types of kids who go to college and the types of kids who don’t. The bottom line, however, is that fewer than 5 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher are unemployed, while more than 14 percent of those who haven’t finished high school are unemployed. You really want to bet that there’s nothing causal going on there?

But let’s say you’ve already made your bet, and you or your son are enrolled in college. Rampell reproduces this graph tallying up survey results from college students who were asked what they would’ve done differently. Very few said they wouldn’t have gone to college. Quite a few said they would’ve changed their major or taken more internships and job interviews.


This seems like evidence that students are being ill-served by the cultural stereotype of college as a period of enjoyment and exploration that precedes entry into the “real world.” College, rather, is a period of preparation for the real world, and if you don’t take it as such, the real world can make you pay and pay big.