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October 23, 2019, 03:04:19 am

Author Topic: Is a Bachelor of Arts really that useless?  (Read 1630 times)  Share 

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Potatohater

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Is a Bachelor of Arts really that useless?
« on: November 23, 2017, 10:52:44 pm »
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Hey, so I'm really struggling to pick a course (and consequently a university since each course is at a different Uni) and there is a really high chance I'll get offers for both options as I already have one for Western Sydney via SRS.

Basically what I'm wondering is, does a Bachelor of Arts truly get you nowhere, as so many people have been telling me?
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EEEEEEP

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Re: Is a Bachelor of Arts really that useless?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 11:13:04 pm »
+9
Hey, so I'm really struggling to pick a course (and consequently a university since each course is at a different Uni) and there is a really high chance I'll get offers for both options as I already have one for Western Sydney via SRS.

Basically what I'm wondering is, does a Bachelor of Arts truly get you nowhere, as so many people have been telling me?
Here's the lowdown.  It doesn't get you nowhere but it is harder to get somewhere.There's a distinction.

The full time employment rate for people doing a Bachelor of Arts (single) is lower than the employment rate than people doing other degrees like commerce, IT or engineering.

IIRC the difference in full time employment for arts was like 66% and 75-80+ for other degrees. There's a gap but it's not as big as you think.

This is because arts degrees don't have "specific" career outcomes and can be quite broad. Additionally, things such as literature, history, fine art, philosophy are not as "desired" in the workplace.

The thing with an arts degree is that you have a lions choice as to what you want to do.. but you need to have expertise and develop a niche set of skills (whether it be writing, communication, politics or w/e).

People in arts, work in counselling, media, govt organisations and many areas... but the thing is.... Of course, that there's an obvious place for people in most other degrees than someone who has an arts degree.

You have an engineering degree? Engineering
You have a law degree? Laywer
You have a science degree? Scientist
You have a commerce degree? Finance, Marketing, HR, w/e
You have an arts degree? Well... Good for you, kiddo.

Lastly.. people think that arts is most just gender studies, literature analysis or gender studies where people do a very very niche thing.
..

TLDR, it isn't useless but it is more abstract and it is harder for some organisations to see the value out of an arts student (you do really need to sell yourself really well).
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 12:47:44 am by EEEEEEP »

zofromuxo

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Re: Is a Bachelor of Arts really that useless?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2017, 07:16:48 am »
+7
Yes, it can get you no where just like any other degree. Only if you aren't differentiating yourself.
The people telling you that it won't get anywhere are people who in some sense still have the notion a degree gives you a job. We don't live in that era anymore.
Is it harder to find a job with an Arts degree? Yes, if your like a lot of other people and rely on it.

I wouldn't let job/career outcomes affect your choice heavily as long as your aware of the facts about it (E6P's post pretty much is the distilled answer on Art's career outlooks).

What I would instead think about is: What can I do to standout against every other Art degree student? Is it through having more work experience like tutoring (as you have listed in your signature), Is it specialising in a field offered in Arts that I can excel at like music, writing, politics, etc? or is it through my extracurricular activities like volunteering, leadership positions in clubs/unions/professional associations, etc

A degree is an investment in the future, its expensive and can be time consuming as well. But as a result of completing it, you are expected to see a return from it that is higher then the cost of the overall degree.

I'll leave you with a quote one of my teachers told me: "It isn't about what degree you do, but what you do with the degree." This is one of the more glaring facts about degrees in this generation and most likely beyond for many degrees like Arts.
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Joseph41

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Re: Is a Bachelor of Arts really that useless?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2017, 09:23:10 am »
+13
Doing an Arts degree is one of the best choices I've ever made.

I majored in Linguistics and International Studies, but also studied Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Bioethics, Human Rights, Gender Studies, Media Studies and Politics as part of that same degree. One of the things I liked most about the Bachelor of Arts was the freedom. I went to Monash, but I'm sure this is similar across the board: the possibilities are many. I have a few friends who also did a Bachelor of Arts at Monash, and our university experiences were entirely different - we studied entirely different things.

Is that inherently a good thing? Nah. If you know you want to study Science and nothing but Science, then sweet - do a Science degree. But for me, I didn't have that sort of certainty exiting Year 12. I was interested in a lot of things, and thought that humanities of some sort probably suited me best, but didn't have a passion as such. So I tested the waters - and I practically stumbled upon what became a passion in Linguistics.

I'm thankful for having done an Arts degree - not necessarily for the content, but a) for broadening my perspective; b) exposing me to issues and topics I'd literally never thought about before; and c) allowing me to develop (predominantly written) communication skills in a way I honestly don't think I would have in other degrees. As with numerous but not all degrees, it also gave me the opportunity to travel, which was a genuine highlight of my four years at uni.

To answer your question regarding whether or not a Bachelor of Arts gets you nowhere:

I don't think you can make such a generalisation. I know people who studied Medicine, finished Medicine, and then floundered because they realised Medicine wasn't actually for them. Same with Law. Same with Science. Same with Arts. Same with Commerce.

Equally, I know people who have excelled with each of those degrees - including Arts.

A Bachelor of Arts gives you the opportunity to develop some extremely useful skills, which are often highly sought after. It's simply not the case that a degree will get you a job these days; more people in Australia are educated at a tertiary level than ever before. As such, one might argue the worth of the degree itself is diminishing, and potentially will continue to do so. What this means is that potential employers will very unlikely hire you because of your degree in isolation. If you have a Bachelor of Arts but aren't suited for the job, you won't be hired. If you have a Bachelor of Arts and are suited for the job, you will be.

If an employer looks down on a Bachelor of Arts as useless or inferior, trust me: you don't want to work there anyway.

If (and this is a big if) you think you'd be interested in studying a Bachelor of Arts, I encourage you to do so. FWIW, you can read more about my thoughts on Arts here (parts are Monash-specific, but it's broadly applicable).
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