50-60 years ago, nobody went to college. Why is it so necessary now?

Update:

In 1960, less than 10% of people had 4 or more years of college:

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93442.pdf

Today, it's around 35%.

42 Answers

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  • Kelli
    Lv 6
    4 years ago

    In the US 50-60 years ago people (men, anyway) could get a job with as little as an 8th grade education and support a family (logging, manufacturing, owning a small business). Today many of those fields have shrunk, gone corporate, or have been off-shored. Today, jobs that require little education also offer little pay. Most families need to have two working adults to stay afloat.

    Of course back then, families had one car, one TV, and did not pay hundreds of dollars a month for cell phone plans and cable TV. Students could work their way through college and not have a lifetime of debt. Coffee cost a nickel, not $5.

  • Zelia
    Lv 6
    4 years ago

    There is a significant gap between the lifetime earnings of a college graduate and a high school graduate. The following is from http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/11/stu...

    "Among millennials ages 25 to 32, median annual earnings for full-time working college-degree holders are $17,500 greater than for those with high school diplomas only. That gap steadily widened for each successive generation in the latter half of the 20th century. As of 1986, the gap for late baby boomers ages 25 to 32 was just more than $14,200, and for early boomers in 1979, it was far smaller at $9,690. The gap for millennials is also more than twice as large as it was for the silent generation in 1965, when the gap for that cohort was just under $7,500 (all figures are in 2012 dollars).

    The high-paying jobs that one could get with a high school education, or less, have largely disappeared. If you want to make a good living, you need advanced training of some sort. It does not necessarily need to be a four-year degree, but you need training that will get you into a skilled trade or a job that currently is seeking new applicants. The world is changing. You need to know more to have a successful life and achieve economically. The people who don't want to extend themselves by getting more training are the people who are pissed off about this change.

  • David
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    It's not necessary, that's just a myth. Going to college, especially for 4 or more years is very expensive and puts you in debt that will take years to climb out of. And on top of that you may not make much more than you would've without a degree.

  • 4 years ago

    Our economy changed. Out of my grandparents, only my maternal grandmother had a college education and she had a masters in an era when it was really rare for women.

    Both my parents have masters as do I. It was presumed that I --even with several disabilities was going to attend college automatically. This was a given. My younger brother and step siblings (from step mother's prior marriage) only have an undergrad.

    College is the new normal.

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  • 4 years ago

    Back in my grandmother's day, most people didn't even make it to 8th grade. Things change. More people now are able to finish high school (lots of factors for that, including economic/financial.)

    So at first, jobs that used to require less than high school began requiring high school. Today, more jobs require college - and some that didn't used to require college now want it. There are a ton of articles out there about how all this has changed and why, if you're interested.

  • 4 years ago

    Some people went to university centuries ago. E.g. Harvard University was founded in the 1600's. Some universities in Europe date back to the 1300's, 1400's. But the information explosion & severely increased population, therefore job competition, has made more extensive education essential, especially since the end of World War 2.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    It isn't necessary. People have just been conditioned to believe it's necessary by all the propaganda out there. The only things necessary are hard work and determination. You don't need a college degree but you do need to have the drive to succeed at something. Going to college will absolutely kill that drive and ruin your life.

  • james
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Looking back on it. 1957 was the year 1/2 of American farms were mechanical. You did not need education to walk behind a mule. You did need to be able to walk. With tractors came large farms. You needed to read & write to figure out how to repair them what part to order & such. 1969 was the year the world changed.Before that if you had a strong back & weak mind you could make a living with a shovel. But then came heavy equipment. Electric augers a person that could set in a room & run 12 at a time. He needed to know what & how electric worked. When I started to work farmers got 80 bushle corn. I remember the brags on breaking 100. Then 120, today 180 is average. But you need know how to mix the chemicals, repair the sprayer, run the computer drive the tractor with gps. While watching T.V. in a aircon cab. That takes education to do. Watch T.V. while working. So unless you want to walk behind the mule. You need one.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    In the UK loads of new universities were built in the 1960s to accommodate the numbers wanting to go to University - in those days most people got grant aid. So some people did - this was the era of student riots - but nothing like as many as there are now. As my Mother found there was a limit to your promotion prospects if you didn't have a degree (although she was paid as if she had one).

    Nowadays many professions demand that their intake are graduates, when they never used to in the past - so anyone wanting to pursue careers in these, have to get degrees, or take many more years to go by some alternative route. The government likes it because it removes a whole load of people from the employment market who otherwise might end up on the dole.

  • Neil
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Both my parents went to college more than 80 years ago. My brother went to college 60 years ago.

    You are simply ill-informed.

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