Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Value of a College Degree

Dean of Admissions at M.I.T. Resigns - New York Times:

Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became famous for urging stressed-out students competing for elite colleges to calm down and stop trying to be perfect. But today she admitted that she had fabricated her own academic educational credentials, and resigned after nearly three decades at the university.

Ms. Jones on various occasions had represented herself as having degrees from Albany Medical College, Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but she had no degrees from any of those places, said Phillip L. Clay, the chancellor of M.I.T.
If this was a movie, the whole theme would be how a hardworking woman without a degree managed to rise through the ranks. At the end of the movie, she would make a impassioned speech, everyone would forgive her, and she would keep her job... but this is real life. Despite doing an apparently excellent job, she was forced to resign.

The whole story raises a pretty good question: What is the value of a college degree if someone without it was able to rise so high in a competitive school like MIT?

The story certainly lends credence to the theory that college doesn't actually add much academic value (for a lot of careers, not all) and is nothing more than a way to vet for intelligence and perseverance.

Of course many people will argue that its not an issue of whether she had a degree or not, but an issue of integrity. Do you really believe that she would of even got her foot in the door if she had been honest about having a degree?

If she is smart, she will launch her own consulting company that helps students get into the colleges of her choice. She has already written one book, perhaps now she will write another exposing the dirty little secrets of college admissions.