The Importance of College Degrees

The Importance of College Degrees

The Importance of College Degrees

Quick! Off the top of your head, where did Albert Einstein go to college? Was it Yale? Harvard? If you said anything other than ETH Zurich or the University of Zurich then, sorry, you’re starting off this blog 0 for 1. But that’s alright! Babe Ruth struck out in his first at-bat, and he turned out okay.

Why does anybody go to college? If you’re a student, you may tell your parents that it’s “to learn and become an educated member of society” while thinking “well, it looks like fun on TV, and I need to show my mom how unimportant it is to have my bed made when company comes over.”  For parents, you may be thinking, “my child is going to college so they can get a good job.” So, how come you didn’t know where Albert Einstein – the most common answer for a smartest person ever – went to college? If you did know, this isn’t the time to show off. Good job, but you’re hurting my narrative. College is meant to be an institution of education, yet we can’t commonly come up with where the most intelligent physicist went to school? If you think Stephen Hawking, da Vinci, or Leibniz were smarter, where did they go to college? Oxford, the studio of Andrea del Verrochio, and Leipzig University, respectively. 1 for 4 is above the Mendoza line if you were able to guess Hawking’s alma mater, so you’ve got that going for you.

So, what is this to say? That a college degree doesn’t matter? That the college a student goes to doesn’t matter? That nothing matters because the sun is going to explode and erase any remnants of memory that humans as a civilization could ever create so all of our work will eventually be for naught and the only contribution we could ever have meaning towards is the relationships we can formulate and foster over our miniscule lifetimes? I don’t want to paint with a broad brush, Andrea del Verrochio says that that is a lazy tactic and detracts from an artist’s potential to add detail and individuality to a work*, so I don’t want to write and tell you how to lead your life. But, that won’t stop Twitch streamer Destiny and Jedediah Bila, former host of The View, from arguing about it in this YouTube clip. Instead of writing a manual on how every teenager in the world NEEDS to live as 18-22 year olds, I will instead address their argumentative points. But, if this article does not convince you of what is best for you or properly answer the questions that you and your family have for the future, sign up for a FREE consultation with Zinker College Counseling. Our expert coordinators and advisors will be able to take you through an individualized step-by-step process to find your best success in the college application and orientation process.

*Andrea del Verrochio may or may not have said this. Technically, I made it up, but it could have been a lesson.

Addressing Bila’s Concerns:

Chivalry is not dead, so ladies first. Also, Bila speaks first in the clip, so it’s easier to write about the video in this order. For background, Jedediah Bila was a host on The View – an American daytime talk show featuring a panel of women from different generations as they discuss the hot topics of the day, emphasizing diversity in opinion and hosting guests of all backgrounds – from 2016 to 2017. Afterwards, she hosted the weekend morning news for Fox & Friends from 2019 to 2021. Prior to joining The View, Bila attended both Wagner College and Columbia University where she obtained bachelor’s of arts and master of arts degrees, respectively. Today, the forty-three year old’s main focus is hosting her own podcast: Jedediah Bila LIVE – presented by Valuetainment.

Looking at her career, we can see that her work has been in the entertainment industry. So, when her first point is that she almost exclusively hires candidates who “did not go to college.”  This sounds similar to a quote that is often, falsely, purported to have been said by Bill Gates that lazy people should be hired to do difficult jobs because “they will find an easy way to do it.” (This quote seems to misidentify the characteristic of making a difficult job look easy as laziness instead of ingenuity or creativity, but that’s besides this point). “The people who go to college go through four years and every single one of them talks and thinks and acts like a robot” is Bila’s reasoning for hiring employees without collegiate degrees. 

The word in her statement that piques curiosity is “robot.” Bila’s delivery connotes “robot” to be an undesirable word in the working industry. Now, as we saw from her biography, her industry is all about creativity. So, her best employees will be the most creative candidates, the opposite of a robot. Being robotic as an actor is a great way to prematurely end one’s career. It makes sense for her philosophy towards hiring to be to seek creativity over the memorization of war durations.

However, this detestment for robotic thinking may actually be detrimental to her potential as a boss. When it comes to becoming a doctor, it’s important for a student to be able to memorize where the gallbladder is in the human body or that giving a patient 30 Tylenol per day is a lethal dosage of acetaminophen. But that’s not all that college is. If it was, then college would be an email with a list of dates, diagrams, and facts with a closing that reads, “you have four years to memorize all of these ideas. If done perfectly, you will get your degree and get to shake my hand. Sincerely, School President.” Instead, college is about learning how people, events, and theories are connected; the student is taught how to think about their field so that they can create more or new knowledge about the subject. Creativity is universally important and a requisite characteristic for entertainment as an industry, and it’s not something that students can typically major in. But, creativity is tangentially what a student learns by studying how Khrushchev’s implementation of Lysenko’s evolutionary ideas led to a downfall in the Soviet Virgin Lands campaign. 

Bila’s second point is, maybe deceptively, made for her by Destiny. She tries to predict the future, telling Destiny to watch what happens to college degrees in the next ten years, to which Destiny finishes the thought by interjecting that fellow “conservative-esque” speakers like Jordan Peterson posing the predicament of how a society functions when “the IQ requirement for performing well is becoming higher and higher and higher and higher.” Instead, let’s go ten years backwards: all the way back to 2012 and its fear of the world ending with Vine being a strong enough reason for complying with a dare. If you think that going back ten years isn’t fair because the world advances exponentially, so 2032 will be more advanced compared to 2022 than 2022 is to 2012, then let’s even go back twenty years to 2002. This question is for the parents out there: what is the difference between the educational landscape today and in 2002? Do you think the credentials of a Princeton entrant in 2002 would lead them to be accepted to the same school in 2022? Do you think that a 2002 degree in economics from Boston University holds the same weight as a 2022 version? As a writer, I am unable to answer this with certainty as I was four years old in 2002 and still in diapers. (Do four year olds still wear diapers? I’m probably going to call my mom to confirm this, but it’s fine, you can believe I wore diapers as a four year old).

I have seen Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Catch Me If You Can though, so I think I get 2002 enough to think this idea through. Speaking Latin can make things levitate and Tom Hanks has a horrific Boston accent – that’s all 2002 was about, right? In 2002, we had cell phones and email, but these processes have become more efficient in the last twenty years. The Yankees stink now and are fraudulent, and the job market continues to be highly competitive. If we think of it from an athletic point of view, we can continue talking about baseball. Ken Griffey Jr. was the best outfielder in baseball in the 2002 season. You could argue Barry Bonds was better, but that’s only as a power hitter. Today, these traits are mimicked by Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. The names are different, but the ideas are the same: Trout and Griffey are players who can hit well, run fast, and track down fly balls, while Judge and Bonds can change the game with their ability to hit home runs. A 2002 Griffey would perform in 2022, much like Trout is already performing. With this analogy, I mean that, in the job market, a Wharton degree makes a candidate versatile and attractive in both 2022 and 2022 – the only difference seems to be the name on the degree. So, a college degree in 2032 will, predictably, carry the same prestige and attract similar recruiters to a student’s LinkedIn or whatever the new fangled social media will be.

Destiny’s Educational Facts

Destiny, whose real name is Steven Bonnell, is a thirty-three year old YouTuber, with 561,000 subscribers, and was formerly popular on Twitch before he was indefinitely suspended from the platform after he invited a white nationalist onto his stream for a debate. On YouTube, his main form of content is to engage in political debates with conservative leaning personalities as he identifies as a liberal advocate in politics. Regarding his own education, Destiny enrolled in the University of Nebraska in 2007, to study music, and ended his cornhusker tenure in 2010 when he dropped out after struggling to juggle his education with a full-time job that he held as a restaurant manager. Looking at his website, it appears that he is the one doing most of the work for his brand, but he may have previously hired employees in the past to help him establish facets of his business.

Destiny, in the video, shows immediate disagreement with Bila’s point that she prefers hiring those without degrees as employees, interjecting with an emphatic “no shot!” He goes on to make up much of the time in this clip explaining the benefits that a college degree presents with a job candidate. For starters, Destiny explains that a degree shows that a graduate can “show up on time, [they] can do what is assigned to [them], and have the ability to finish something.” Showing up on time is a major requirement in college. Whether the class is at 8am or 3pm, most professors integrate attendance requirements into their grading systems. So, never going to class, but managing to scrape a C by guessing can drop that grade down to a D. Not only that, but passing grades require a student to pay attention to their material, thus creating an exemplary handling of the knowledge and information in a way that can be creatively spun to influence new strategic forms of research or solution seeking. This also connects to his statement that a graduate is able to complete what is assigned to them. As a high school student or as a parent, you obviously know that completing homework and putting in effort to a project is what produces improved report cards. While a higher GPA better demonstrates this idea, the passing of classes and acquisition of credits is demonstrative of a graduate’s ability to do what they are asked to do with competence and proficiency. Someone with a computer science degree can write the line of code they are asked for on a website and a biology graduate can tell you whether or not the berry you found while camping is poisonous or not. Finally, I will go back to athletics to highlight the final point in this statement. In this article from Bleacher Report, Michael Fitzpatrick exemplifies golfers losing leads, such as Dustin Johnson who went from 1st place after 54 holes to shooting a Sunday 82 at the US Open to finish T8 after 72 holes. Within the professional world of golf, it’s relatively easy for these players to gain or be near a lead from Thursday through Saturday. They’re the best players in the world, so any of them can commonly be found in contention. But, the thing that set Tiger Woods apart from the rest is his record while holding a 54 hole lead. If Woods was in the lead after three rounds from 1996-2013, he went on to win 53 of those tournaments while losing 4. The current world number one ranked player, Rory McIlroy, has already collected 6 losses to only 8 wins after leading by 54 hole leads (as of 2020). Golf is not entirely indicative of the global employment landscape, but the ability to finish off a job and stay committed to a mission is a highly sought after characteristic and, doing it well, can garner widespread recognition – and can be shown with the completion of a degree.

Towards the end of the clip, Destiny makes the assertion that a college degree is the “number one grower of wealth inequality in the United States because people with college degrees outearn everyone else by so much.” Wealth inequality has to do with the percentage of people who hold the majority of the money in the country. As of the end of 2021, the top 1% of earners in the United States held 32.3% of the country’s wealth while the bottom 50% of earners held 2.6% of the wealth. What’s a job that doesn’t pay millions? Walmart associate? There are 1.6 million employees of Walmart in America (0.484% of the country’s population). Meanwhile, a stereotypical job that pays well immediately out of college over a broad industry is finance. So, we can look at Charles Schwab, Fidelity, JP Morgan, EY, PWC, KPMG, and Deloitte as well known industry leaders in finance and add their total employees** to see that these companies combined to employ 1,286,230 Americans. Now, these are simply examples of one large company that does not require a college degree to be employed with seven industry leaders that mostly require degrees to be employed. This is done to showcase what Destiny is talking about: the high paying jobs and the companies that provide wealthy salaries are exclusive to join, needing seven of their counterparts to combine, and exemplify where a college degree can provide entrance into. This is where the wealth inequality comes from: students who graduate with college degrees are able to have more opportunities to join a greater breadth of companies (a finance major has these seven options while someone who did not go to college in, say, Arkansas is limited to low-level entrance employment) where the companies are restricted to only hire the best employees as they attract candidacy through comfortable salaries and this could not be shared with 1.6 million co-workers. Companies like Deloitte, for example, attract graduates by promising hefty salaries and they find these graduates by interviewing students who have spent four years training to think in ways and perform tasks that will simplify the work of financing and advising across the economic sphere. This is not to say that Walmart does not employ college graduates, but the majority of their employees are either high schoolers who have not gone to college yet, adults who were unable to or did not desire to attend college/get a degree, and retirees who are motivated to work for the social interactions or even just out of habit. So, Destiny says that getting a college degree allows you to make more money because you can get a membership (work for) an industry leader that hires exclusive candidates to fulfill high-paying positions.

Finally, Destiny agrees with Bila. You don’t need a college degree to get a job. I would even extend his argument that you don’t need a certain major to get a job. This is more of an extreme example, as his hobby was computer science and he took several classes in the field at Harvard, but Mark Zuckerberg majored in psychology in college. He didn’t major in social media, business, engineering, or smoking meats. His major had to do with the ways that people think and his creativity, with his technological skills, combined to create an empire of creatively figuring out how to use computers to emphasize and work with the ways that people are thinking. A college degree is a simple signifier that a graduate is able to perform a job and has spent years training in order to perform what a job requires. This is why Destiny says that those without a college degree need a “damn good portfolio” to get the job they want. Using Bila as an example, a candidate will need a phenomenal portfolio of editing reels and presence on camera for them to join her company. But, that same person, with a degree in creative design or videography and editing, can demonstrate this proficiency in entertainment with a single paper in a college degree.

** Schwab-24,418, Fidelity-70,000, Morgan-271,025, EY-75,117, PWC-284,258, KPMG-226,882 Deloitte-334,800 (all figures based on either 2019 or 2020; most recent reports found on Google).


No, you don’t need to go to college. But, no surgeon has ever been hired simply because they’re interested in anatomy or because their parents own a butcher shop. If a student’s interest is in a certain field, then their employment, in such a competitive world, is going to be aided by their ability to produce a college degree or an extensive portfolio showing a level of independent expertise in their industry. A college degree is not a requirement, but it is invariably a helpful tool for a student’s entrance into the career that they desire. If you want to get started on this journey, even if you remain undecided on what you actually want to study, our counselors are more than prepared and happy to help you and your child navigate the collegiate world as they begin their journey into successful adulthood. Sign up for a FREE consultation with Zinker College Counseling!

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