Black Women's Improvement Project (BWIP)

You Want to Get with Me? Show Me Your College Degree!

I don’t graduate until May and, if you ask some people, I’m already thinking in a bourgeois fashion: I would hesitate to date a man without a college degree. If I met a man without a college degree he would need to be self-employed, working in the family business, or have some extremely good explanation as to why he did not think it worth his time to finish at least an associate’s degree.

The way I see it, I’m almost 30 and I’m just finishing my BS. So if I meet a man my age who lacks a degree and isn’t even close to completing one, I would have to question what he has been doing for the last 10 to 12 years that made attending college not worth his time. Did he get a great job that he loved, with a company where he had room to grow, and thus a degree was made superfluous in this particular circumstances? Or, did he got an “OK” job, became satisfied, and somehow failed to realize that his position–without any additional training–may become obsolete in a few years?

Possessing a degree tells me that a man can think and plan for the long-term, that he has middle-class values and probably wants to pass those values on to his children. Wanting to date a man with a college degree has little to do with being stuck up, and everything to do with making sure that I share the same principles and ambitions as my future mate. A house divided against itself cannot stand; and, two people in a relationship with different values and attitudes concerning education and the importance of upward mobility, not just in their own careers but in terms of what is expected of their children, will eventually reach an impasse in their relationship. And I would much rather reach an impasse and have time to get out of a relationship while still in the dating stage, rather than to see the light after we’ve paid for an expensive wedding, had two kids, and are scraping cash together every month to pay for a mortgage underwater.

I’ll never say never to dating a man without at least an associates degree, but until I can discern why he doesn’t have that piece of paper–and it must be for a reason that I consider satisfactory if we are to continue dating each other–he will have a question mark over his head.

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