Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Choices...College or University, Burberry or Louis Vuitton?

Just like the choice of what designer handbag to buy, there are choices in life that are hard to make. Like a tasteful accessory, your education is something that will never go out of style. Unlike a three thousand dollar bag, no matter how much it costs, an education is always worth it. Post-secondary education is always important when going out into the work world no matter what type of job you are applying for. Along with experience and who you know, education will help you to get that dream job.

They say education is the key to success, but what type of education are “they” talking about, a college diploma or a university degree? Rumors say that a university degree is always preferable to a college diploma but what fashion student pays attention to rumors or gossip anyway?

When fashion is the focus, it’s especially hard to choose between college and university when you are looking to further your education. How are you sure you are making the right choice? With fashion as a rising career choice among young students and the option of so many fashion programs and schools, how do you decide between university and college? Is one path “better” than the other? What are employers looking for; do they prefer one designation over another? These are all questions commonly asked by aspiring fashion students.

Finding universities that offer fashion programs is often difficult, especially in Canada. Many more universities in the United States offer fashion programs than in Canada. Universities offering fashion programs in Canada are scarce, but they are available. Ryerson University, in Toronto is recognized for its fashion programs in Design, Fashion Communications and Retail Management. Our very own George Brown College offers its own excellent fashion programs in Fashion Design, Fashion Business and
Fashion Management. There are many other colleges in Ontario and Canada that offer fashion programs as well such as Seneca and Fanshaw.

The differences between a university or college education are fairly straightforward. Most universities offer four year programs which earn the graduate a B.A. in their field of study. A degree on a resume often impresses employers and gives them a reason to offer an interview. According to a December 2006 article in the Toronto Star by author, Ellen Roseman, “Many high-level jobs require a master's degree, even a PhD, to get in the door”. This is one of the main reasons why one might say that a university degree is so important. Some sources state that a university degree will generate higher earnings than a college diploma. However, the cost of a university education vs. college is much higher. Is the extra expense worth it?

According to an online blog by author, Simon Ma “while a degree does not guarantee employability, it does improve the odds as well as the income potential that is associated with the field you are entering into. If you have a two-year degree, the decision to continue your educational pursuits can be a tough one but it is well worth the effort in the end.”

U. S. colleges offer an Associate Degree which is the equivalent to our college diploma. This degree also requires two years of study. Colleges usually offer smaller class sizes in an intimate environment. College is a hands-on learning experience; it’s usually a two to three year program that is geared to preparing the student to enter the workforce upon graduating. Often students are allowed to transfer their college credits towards a university program if they wish. Transferring credits means that students can use their two year college diploma towards a four year Bachelor’s degree. Sometimes the two or three years spent at college can give the student time to decide whether they really need or want to pursue a degree in their chosen field.

In an article written January 9, 2009, comparing the earning power of college grads to university grads, Grace Chen, from the Community College Review, states that individuals with higher degrees earn, on average, more than individuals with a high school diploma. As CNN reports, while high school graduates with no college education collect an average weekly salary of $585, according to Current Population Survey data, that figure jumps nearly 15 percent to $670 for associate degree holders. Grace Chen also points out later in her article that, yes, a bachelor degree holder does end up having a higher salary, but does the cost of a four year institution outweigh the intended salary benefit? This is something to think about as a young student. If you have prior student loans that you have to pay off out of your existing salary, is this going to affect your total net income?

In the end, sometimes it’s the simplest reason that defines why a student might choose one type of education over another. Often it boils down to personality and learning style. College definitely offers a hands-on learning experience, if you are a hands-on learner, you might want to consider attending college. University usually attracts student’s who enjoy listening to lectures and learn from taking notes, they might also enjoy being taught verbally as opposed to learning by doing. In today’s society, it’s almost understood that you must obtain some sort of post-secondary education to guarantee a good paying job. Your success in college or university all comes down to your personality and your attitude. School requires dedication and commitment; you need to take it seriously to generate success.

As far as fashion is concerned, employers in the fashion industry are definitely looking for post- secondary education. They aren’t necessarily looking for a university degree. Sometimes the work experience acquired in a college program is more desirable than the academic style of a university. A college diploma is certainly welcomed in the fashion industry. Creativity is one of the number one attributes that will help you succeed in this field of work. In my two years at college I have personally met a lot of George Brown College Students who have earned a position and created a name for themselves in the industry with their college education. Diploma or degree? Both are welcomed in the fashion industry so take your personality, pocketbook and your personal goals into consideration and good luck, the world is waiting for you!

1 comment:

nancy said...

lots of information in that article. ! good job.