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The secret way to make college affordable

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That college is unaffordable is no longer a secret.

My CPA tells me that the #1 worry for parents is how to pay for skyrocketing tuition costs. That matches up with the constantly spewing firehose of headlines all saying the same thing: higher education costs have been on a runaway train for decades. 

As leading thinker Ryan Jenkins points out, since 1978, the cost of four-year public education has increased 151.1 percent, while the median family income in that time only increased 20.2 percent. Not surprisingly, since 2004, there has been a 74 percent increase in average student debt.

Employers care most about skills, not degrees
The previous idea was a college degree made you more marketable, but now a college degree is viewed as hollow because of the lack of focus on developing contemporary industry skills. This reality sneaks up on college graduates as they go for their first full-time job interview.  Meanwhile, leading companies like Google, Intel, and Microsoft have dropped the requirement of a college degree, and this trend is only picking up speed. In fact, this is not just a trend, it represents a permanent change.

Given ridiculous tuition costs, there is an ever-growing tsunami of students opting to, out of high school, get credentials or certificates which make them immediately employable. See the Grow with Google credential based program as only one example of a blossoming trend that will rewrite how people train before entering the workforce, or retrain so they can pivot to other work options..

Parents are falling off the financial ladder they climbed
My generation of parents who grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s have children who are now going to college. As we parents view the dark and immense mountain of costs on the horizon, we wonder, “How do we cling to our place on the financial ladder we climbed up?”. The idea that parents are now trying to cling to their ladder rung was deeply detailed in the insightful book entitled After the Ivory Tower Falls.

Secret Solution: Sustainably adaptive career guidance
There are 4 permanent shifts drastically re-defining the world of work, each of which are diluting the value of the college degree. Each of these shifts has raised the bar on the type of college and/or career guidance you need. Below I name each shift and then clarify what corresponding feature you need to find in your career guidance. I end by discussing a fresh approach to career guidance (Precisely Engineered Career Guidance [PECG])™ process that integrates all four of these features into a 10 step process which culminates into a precise, cost efficient college and career pathway.

Shift #1: Skills based, not degree based focus
Because companies are now creating their own credentials that future employees can complete to be immediately marketable, college degrees are beginning to look like unnecessary add-ons. The exception is in fields such as medicine or law. You need career guidance (CG) revealing credentials you can obtain to minimize how much you pay into the bloated college tuition system. Cutting edge discussions are nor distinguishing between the Ivory Tower (i.e, college) and the Lego Tower. The Lego Tower is composed of skills based legos you can earn through much cheaper credentials.

Shift #2: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making content expertise obsolete

Because AI is becoming the new knowledge expert, able to access billions of bytes of information with lightning speed, the winners in this new labor market are the masterful integrators. No longer are experts the “know it alls”, they are now the “Integrate it alls”. And where in college do you learn to integrate it all? Colleges have been slow to develop majors that are focused on developing majors that are cross-disciplinary. Academic departments have an incentive to create majors that are composed of their departments courses, meanwhile, industry is going in the oppositive direction, toward hiring wide-ranging thinkers.

You need CG that positions you to enter the labor market not as a narrow specialist, but a wide ranging integrator of information. You have to outsmart AI, which is already the content expert. You must exhibit strong integration skills, because those who enter the labor market as fresh cross-disciplinary integrators will win out over the narrow hyper-specialists. This is the fresh idea the catapulted the book Range: Why Generalists’ Triumph in a Specialized world to the best selling list.

Shift #3: Changing jobs and/or fields now is common and expected
It is now commonplace to hear people talk about the end of the Golden Era of Capitalism, when people worked for companies for decades. Yes, that past reality has become obsolete. We are now in what I call the Gritty Era of Nomadic Capitalism (GENC). Generally speaking, consistent statistics show you will change jobs 12-15 times in your lifetime.

Because fewer companies are offering meaty benefit packages, people no longer feel as much loyalty to their employer. And employers see people as more expendable because of the trend toward hiring temporary project focused external contractors to avoid paying benefits. Given this new reality, the best way to survive in this more mercenary workplace chess game is to gain a set of skills that teach you how to integrate information, so you are not tied to one job or field. Now the goal is workplace dexterity. You need a CG process that ensures you choose a base camp of training giving you enough breadth to move around the world of work over four to five decades.

Shift #4: Working into your 70s is now common

The work span of the typical human has been vastly extended. Medical advances are increasing the typical lifespan, and if you want to pay for this extended life, you need to work longer. But if the labor market is more tumultuous than it has ever been, how can you have the optics to plan that far ahead by choosing the best training many decades earlier? You need a CG process that ensures you identify truly sustainable interests.

The powerful myth that you should just follow your passion is ridiculous. Why? Because passion is like Cupid’s Choke Hold, leading you to go head over hells for an interest that may not be truly sustainable. As a personality and career scientist studying the interplay of passion and work, I have discovered that the number one reason people have career regret is they do not look around widely enough before marrying one career choice. This had led to career divorce statistics as bad as marital divorce statistics.  Contact me to find a way to avoid this choke hold.

The secret solution: Sustainably adaptive, precisely engineered career guidance
The new workplace chess game has never been more challenging to win. But you can still win this game. However, you need to use more advanced tactics that what taking a shallow personality test can offer. Traditional CG, which over relies on shallow personality tests, is now obsolete. And it should be relegated to the trash heap, because the statistics revealing the epidemic of career unhappiness have not appreciably changed over the last 30 years.

Over the last 20 years, using my skills as a personality expert, I designed and continually tested a 10-step process using the most piercing psychological assessment tactics. This process, PECG, has a system of checks and balances to ensure lasting accuracy. Built as a recursively self-checking guidance system, PECG leverages the power of interconnected intelligence. Specifically, PECG is built to address each of the four permanent changes redefining the world of work.

Generation X parents are ignoring the brokenness of the college major system

For Generation X parents, who are born anywhere from 1964 to 1980, the average full cost of a 4-year college is now approximately $142,000.00. Meanwhile, students typically change their majors 5-6 times. Each time a student changes their major, it costs an average of $20,000.00 extra dollars. And the bottom is dropping out on the value of the bachelor’s degree, so costs for graduate school must be added on top of this already staggering amount.

Part of the secret solution is, before you walk into the college bus station, to have already done enough pre-college planning that you know exactly what combination of credentials can replace unnecessary college courses, so you can be immediately employable. Another part of the solution is to train in a field that decades later will still feel like a great investment. To do that you need someone who can help you neutralize your biases so you identify what areas have the highest match quality to not only who you are, but who you will become.

PECG was designed to do all of these things, as it weaves together the deepest intelligence about your most enduring values, your most sustainable passions, and your towering talents.  Setup a consut with me to find out more.  

See my related college and career blogs:

The meaning behind the Great Resignation is meaning
5 critical questions your career guidance must answer 
10 Critical College Readiness Questions for Parents and Students
Brighter Career Guidance for Darker Days Ahead
The new benchmark to earn high dollar educational scholarship money
Winning a college scholarship begins in 8th grade
The Increasingly Hollow College Degree & the career guidance Scam
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has radically changed the Employment Success Formula


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Meet Doctor Brunner

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Brunner is a Tucson based psychologist and published expert who has a 20 year track record of clinical excellence, scientific research, teaching, publications, awards and podcast interviews.  He is the senior author of a psychological measure adapted into 14 languages worldwide, and has written over 250 blogs, many of them have gone viral.  He is revolutionizing the field of career guidance with his fresh and trademarked approach that is spreading like wildfire. Sign up here to be notified of soon to be published book, Find Your Real Me: Career Guidance Making You Truly Free.