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The Value of a Well-Rounded Education

Critical thinking is a valuable life skill that we often develop during our school years. Many of the most successful among us earned well-rounded, higher educations and the ability to think critically.

(Photo Credit: j.o.h.n. walker/Flickr)

Preparation for a Job

Many people choose their major by picking their favorite subject. When they graduate, they have the skills necessary to perform that job right now. Unfortunately, the pace of change is fast. It may seem counterintuitive, but focusing on just one set of job skills while in school may be detrimental in the long run.

Today's Jobs Are Not Tomorrow's Jobs

One problem with specialization is the fact that the world is changing at an incredibly fast pace, and your skill set may not be valuable in another three years. The job market changes frequently and sometimes for unforseen reasons.

It is not just technology that keeps things changing. The Wall Street Journal points out that changing government regulations may make some of today's jobs obsolete. New regulations can also create jobs, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which increased the need for accountants. This was not an easy thing to predict, and neither is future job loss as a result of new regulations and technology.

Information

Even if your guidance counselor at school could predict which jobs would be popular when you graduated and which skill sets you'd need for your entire career, she wouldn't keep it a secret between the two of you. When information is available -- for example, study math to get a job -- everybody hears the news.

You don't have an edge when you've taken the same, narrow set of vocational courses as all of your classmates, many of whom are vying for the same jobs as you at graduation.

Critical Thinking Skills

A well-rounded education gives you critical thinking skills and a more diverse skill set. Take the recommended math courses, but take the philosophy and the language and history courses, as well.

If the math job is obsolete in a few years, you will have the critical thinking skills and the diverse background necessary to figure out what to do next, rather than trying to sell your out-of-date skill set.

Tell Us What You Think

What was the focus of your education, and would you do it again? Why or why not? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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