Poor People Need College More
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Here's a fascinating article at the Washington Post that reiterates something I heard a lot when I was going to college: It doesn't matter so much where you go (for undergrad, at least) or what you major in -- what matters is that you graduate. Building the relationship with mentors and peers, learning how to work hard and network, and getting that slip of paper with funny Latin writing on it are the real important parts. What that paper actually says doesn't matter, because, again, it's written in Latin.
"This is just a transcript of that scene from Tombstone."
And that's true! Provided you're white and middle class.
If you're a minority, or poor, or (heaven help you) both, the rules of the game are totally different. In those cases, where you go to school and what you study absolutely make a difference in how much money you make, primarily (the article assumes) because people in those groups don't have the same connections and advantages. So, basically, the poor kids are getting shoved out of college campuses to make room for people who don't even need to be there.
And you'll see this reflected in major choices: Kids from poorer backgrounds are far more likely to choose a practical major like Education, Computer Science, or Law Enforcement, while kids from wealthier backgrounds get silly degrees like English, Communications, or History. Now, before you Communications majors get all defensive (I know how you are), just keep in mind the point this makes about how college works: How seriously you take it means a hell of a lot less than how seriously people take you. And you have precisely no control of that.
JF Sargent is an editor and columnist for Cracked. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow Natalie Vail on Facebook.
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For more from Sarge, check out 5 Reasons Everyone Getting Married Can Suck It and 5 Lifehacks For Living With A Terrible Attention Span.