My son is a sophomore at a local college, and he wants to transfer to a very prestigious university. If he did this he would incur more than $100,000 in student loan debt, and that's with us picking up half of the cost. What do you think I should tell him?
I'd have a hard time telling anybody that one school is $100,000 more valuable than another one. The fact is that unless he has $100,000 lying around somewhere, he shouldn't go to that other school for one very simple reason - he can't afford it!
We hire people every week at my company, and where they attended college is a very minor blip on the radar screen. There will always be a few corporate types out there who play games and try to turn the office into some kind of snooty country club, but the fact is most employers don't care where you went to college.
Here's the deal, Will. It's what you learn and being able to use that knowledge in the marketplace that's really valuable. Knowledge is king, and we live in a knowledge-based economy. If you can't retain and apply what they're teaching, then the only thing more worthless than a college degree is a college pedigree.
This is a kid who needs guidance from his dad. Step up and explain it to him. Letting him walk out of school with a six-figure debt around his neck would be a huge mistake!
This Dave Says is a reprint of a previous column that originally ran on April 15, 2008.