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5 Signs of Useless Education Programs

Typically, useless education programs offers no clear career perspectives, no valuable skills, too broad or too narrow and doesn’t align with your personal inclinations

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5 Signs of Useless Education Programs


Education comes at a hefty price nowadays. So, prospective students want to calculate the risks in advance before taking a particular course or education program. They also try to avoid taking the so-called useless programs. But what does “useless” mean in this context?

What Is a Useless Education Program, Anyway?

There are plenty of “useless degrees” lists out there. You needn’t go far to find them. From these lists, you’ll learn that useless degrees include music, performing arts, fashion design, culinary art, biology, and more.

The problem with those lists is that their authors have presumably never studied these subjects. Take writing, for instance: if a student is a customer of an essay service and a “write my essay” request is their favorite one, does it mean that writing degrees are useless in general? Not at all! Though they might as well seem to that student.

However, there is some truth in those lists, too. It’s bitter, and it fits in three letters: ROI. Given the costs, certain programs and degrees are simply impractical. That’s why they end up being dismissed as “useless”.

This approach is questionable. Still, it’s, by all means, important to know your perspectives before you invest time and money in your education. So, how can you tell if a program is useless or not, apart from counting its ROI?

Typically, useless education programs are the one that:

  • Offers no clear career perspectives.
  • Doesn’t provide valuable knowledge or skills.
  • Is too broad or too narrow.
  • Doesn’t align with your personal inclinations.

Now, let’s take a closer look.

No Career Perspectives

In the aforementioned lists, creative professions occupy the most (dis)honorable first places. The reason why it is so is that the authors assume that in such professions, you either have the talent or you don’t – training doesn’t matter much.

That assumption is not true. However, what is true is that a program offering no clear career perspectives in your particular case can be useless indeed. So, if you can’t answer what exact career opportunities in the chosen field you may have, it may be better to think twice and choose something else.

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Provides No Valuable Knowledge or Skills

No education programs can be dismissed as useless if it contributes something valuable to what you already know. Putting ROI aside, we learn in order to attain the knowledge and skills that we assume we need. If at the end of the program we achieve this goal, then it’s useful, after all.

It’s also worth remembering that you can attain certain skills on your own, by reading books and articles. For example, there’s no particular need to take a writing course when there are essay writing guides available for free on the Internet. The same goes for other skills – you just need to be eager to learn!

However, there are some programs and degrees that seem worthy at first, but turn out to be absolute rubbish because of the way they are put together. The only way to avoid the mistake of taking such a program is to gather as much information as you can before applying.

Too Broad or Too Narrow

There’s nothing wrong with general education and being well-rounded. Still, when we take a specific course or earn a degree (and pay a considerable sum for it), we expect something more than broadening the horizons. What we aim at is usually getting a profession that offers some career perspectives.

A program with too many “fillers” in the curriculum or the one that doesn’t focus enough on specific subjects may be good for self-education, but not as a degree. In the latter case, you may end up getting no particular profession at all.

As for the programs that are way too specific, there’s another problem with them. They, too, can be great as supplementary, but hardly anything can be worse than graduating with a too narrow qualification. What if you won’t find a job in that field? You just won’t have a choice other than to get more education and learn something else!

Doesn’t Suit You Personally

Any program or degree can prove useless depending on the student’s personal circumstances. Because even in today’s world, most people tend to study something they’re interested in and then work in a corresponding field.

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If you choose a course solely for some pragmatic reasons and don’t consider your personal aspirations and talents, things may come out wrong after all. It’s extremely hard to perform well at a job you don’t like on a daily basis, and it almost inevitably leads to negative consequences like stress, burnout, apathy, or even depression.

So, if your parents or teachers at school recommend that you choose some “useful” degree that will ensure a stable career, ask yourself first: “Is it what I really want? Will it be useful for me personally?”. Then, make your choice responsibly.

Has Poor ROI

Now, here’s a bit of a contradiction. But let’s make it clear: ROI matters, too. It’s just that it’s not the primary factor one has to consider when choosing a degree. However, it’s essential that you understand what you’re paying for and if you’ll manage to get your money back anytime soon.

But what of those programs that cost a lot and don’t guarantee a smooth career path? Well, that depends. If you can afford them, you can risk it, and if you can’t – there are always other options like:

  • online degrees;
  • community colleges;
  • MOOCs;
  • private tutors, and more.

In short, there are more ways than one to get the kind of education programs you want – if you really want it.

Final Thoughts

There’s no denying that some programs and degrees are more useful than others. But before defining which is which, you have to determine your goals first.

What do you need from your degree? Do you regard it as an investment, or as a means to attain the skills and knowledge you want? Do you know how to apply that knowledge?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll know if a particular course is useful for you or not.


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