Started with a "Welcome and Introduction" brief by OSAP's President Dr. Robert Schuettinger was surprisingly both substantive and funny! He did a great job keeping everyone's attention throughout his briefing.
Dr. Schuettinger delved into a great amount of detail concerning the devaluation of degrees from institutions of higher learning.
- In 1960, 45.1 percent of high school grads entered college.
- In October of 1997, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported a record high of 67 percent!
- As of October 2012, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that 66.2 percent of the graduating high school class of 2012 were in college.
The more people who go to college, the more degrees are issued to people in their early twenties as they enter the job market. The rest is simple economics: flood the market with product (or in this case graduates), prices (salaries) go down as the demand decreases. More people = more competition for lower paying jobs.
So then what's so special about going to college? What makes you stand out to your employers? Dr. Schuettingertold an interesting story about an anniversary party of all the female Rhodes scholars. Each of these wealthy and now significantly influential people were given a survey to complete in their rooms while unbiased by peer pressure. When answering the question, "Do you think your employers value the institution at which you received your degree?", they unanimously answered "No". They realized that the skills they attained at school were much more important than the actual degree they achieved. Herein lies what should be the new focus of higher education: learning applicable real-world skills which can be marketable in a scarce job market.
The good Dr. Schuettinger also made a few memorable comments, including:
"Speech was given to man to conceal his thoughts." - Talleyrand
"You have to do a little walking in Oxford. I personally hate walking, but do as I say, not as I do."
"You have to go out there and meet people. Some of them can be annoying, others may deserve to be slaughtered, but still it's important."
He also explained the difference between normally colleges and Oxford, including important things to keep in mind about Tutors and the Tutorial system.
Overall, it was a great way to start our first day!
More to come about the first day later,
The Oxford Observer
Sierra Company, Class of 2016