Can College Actually Ruin Your Career?

Can going to college actually hurt your career? It can if you (and your registrar) aren't careful. | Source: ShutterStock

Can going to college actually hurt your career? It can if you (and your registrar) aren’t careful. | Source: ShutterStock

Most employers look for college degrees in their job candidates, but lately reports suggest that sometimes your college education can be the one thing blocking you from getting a job. WTF?

Last week, Wal-Mart Stores Vice President David Tovar stepped down after it was revealed he was a few courses shy of the college degree he boasted on his resume when he got hired, and the non-profit Institute for Higher Education Policy says that’s more common than we all realized—and that lots of college graduates are in the same boat without even realizing it.

NBC News reports that clerical errors or little things like forgetting to return a library book or pay a measly $20 campus parking ticket can cancel out your degree, even if you were given a diploma. And sadly, lots of college graduates (or, rather, seeming college graduates) won’t find out until they’re rejected for or ejected from a job.

Further, college clerical eff-ups can also cause Hell:

One man in Atlanta has taken his college to court, accusing it of costing him a job. Terry Boyd thought he was about to get a $150,000 job offer when he got a call from his potential employer. ” ‘We checked with your school. They said you didn’t graduate,’ ” he was told, according to his attorney Marsha Mignott.

That was news to Boyd, who actually had the Morehouse College degree hanging on his wall for three decades.

The college said its records indicate the degree was awarded in error because he received a D, not a C in an organic chemistry class—a claim Boyd disputes, and noted he never could have advanced to Chemistry 2 if he had indeed gotten the D.

Another issue that can rise is colleges requiring students to apply and send a check for their diplomas, which many students (rightfully so, given college tuition prices) believe this is an automatic step when they graduate.

How is all of this coming to light now? Now that employers are using outside sources for background checks on resumes, lots of innocent applicants are being thrown for lots of loops.

Scared? Don’t be. Just contact your university registrar or alumni office and make sure all your paperwork is in order before your potential new boss finds out for you.

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