Is it better to go to a trade school or a college? Is it better to major in English or major in engineering? How can I choose best to ensure I get a job after graduation? How can I choose to ensure that I can be employed 5 years from now, or 10?
There is, of course, a national debate about the employability of college graduates. Sometimes hte tone has to do with the lack of preparedness of many graduates for the workforce. Other times, the debate has to do with particular aspects of higher education.
When it comes to liberal education, the question is often: Can one, many ask, get a job with one of those?
The implication is often that the answer is no, or at minimum, that the issue is more fraught for liberal education that something mreo obviously and immediately related to the workforce. (Here, the notions of obvious or immediate are in the eye of the beholder.) When it comes to great books colleges, the issue is, perhaps, even more fraught. How can such ivory towers show evidence that what they do is consequential in the particular way of ensuring employment after graduation? Whether one argues with this measure of success or not, this is important in an era of student debt -- and in today's economic situation.
As one thinks through colleges, asking these questions is important.
On April 6, USA Today did a story on a related matter -- highlighting an alumnus of a local college -- a Shimer alumnus. Here's what was said about our alumnus:
"Jonathan Timm considers himself lucky. A 2011 college graduate, he landed a job not long ago that both pays the bills and makes use of his education.
"Basically, I got hired for my abilities to think and write analytically, cut through complex issues and communicate effectively — exactly the skills liberal arts education should teach,"says Timm, 24, of Oakland. An investigator for a state agency, Habeas Corpus Resource Center, he gathers evidence to help indigent inmates on death row get a new trial, off of death row or both.
The job search took about a year, during which he also waited tables, took an unpaid internship and had periods of "doubt and regret." But if he had to do it over again, Timm says, he would again go to Shimer College, a liberal arts school in Chicago whose coursework is based on the Great Books."