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Purpose of College Education

Education & Training

The modern civilized world is characterized by a high percentage of educated people in society. Comprehensive education has been set as one of the primary needs of humanity to deal with contemporary problems in different spheres of life. One of the stages of obtaining a prestigious profession is a college education.

The aim of getting a college degree has been set as a primary mission of a person if he or she is willing to get a well-paid job. However, there are people who argue with the necessity of this stage. Their doubts are based on different factors starting from financial risks and up to the decay in the US college education system. The following article argues with the necessity of getting a college degree in modern society by discussing various reasons given by the researchers in this sphere. Not getting a college degree will not negatively affect either intellectual development of a person or his social position, and it is optional.

The Critics of College Education in the USA

Despite numerous advertisements of various colleges, there are people who doubt the need for getting a college degree. Scholars argue that the statistic in the sphere of a college education is drastic. Among high-school students who graduated in the bottom 40 percent of their classes, and whose first institutions were four-year colleges, two-thirds had not earned diplomas eight and half years later. However, each of these students brings money to educational institutions. Regarding this fact, a college education can be viewed as an advertisement campaign with the aim of getting extra money from non-skilled students. One of the possible reasons for the statistics of academic success is expressed by scholars. If you don’t like what you do, you won’t do it well. Indeed, the number of students without any particular aim for having a degree or without a sound life strategy does not motivate for studies.

Furthermore, the job market is changing quickly. This means that attending college for a couple of years with the aim of getting a degree in economics might turn out non-prospective because of unemployment in this sphere. That means college graduates are to take nonprofessional jobs rather than work according to their specialty.

Moreover, more employers tend to search for skillful workers rather than their education. In her article "Do You Really Need To Go To College?”, Erica Andersen gives an example of her being an HR member in Taco Bell. Taco Bell HR Director faced the choice when two people aimed for one position in the company. One of them had experience and good references when the other one had just a college degree. In the end, the second person turned out to be non-competitive and was not been admitted to work in the company.

College authorities argue that college education is more about enlightenment than employment, which can be treated as one of the biggest deceptions of all. If one analyzes college as a business establishment, the situation could change dramatically. In case students are regarded as a commodity, it becomes clear why colleges are to stimulate enrollment. High expulsion rates are not a problem then because each year there is a line of college graduates willing to become more prospective and enlightened.

It is claimed that prestigious educational institutions tend to shift towards the research work rather than teaching. The latter is also associated with raising profits. Such a situation raises dissatisfaction with a college education. Surveys that dated 2006 show that 50 percent of college seniors scored below “proficient” levels on a test that required them to do such basic tasks as understand the arguments of newspaper editorials or compare credit card offers. The following studies are supported by numerous reports about declining literacy among college graduates. Having such arguments, it is not easy to make a decision of applying to college.

Is There any Sense in College Education?

On that basis of the presented information, one can regard obtaining a college degree optional. The word, optional, is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as "not necessary or demanded but possible or available; depending on what you decide or do". This means if a person has a need for getting a degree because of their future career, they have to go to college. Attending college in any other case has no reason. The premises of these views are quite pragmatic and utilitarian.

The first argument is that not every person has a “hungry heart” for education. The latter means there are two categories of students. The first category is students who gain a positive experience from obtaining a college degree. They understand its necessity and they are motivated by personal goals to achieve. The second category of students is on the opposite, that they are non-motivated, and see no personal sense in attending college. Edmundson proposes treating college education as a kind of investment. Money spent on education should result in cash advantage. Otherwise, a person invests in non-profit businesses. For instance, a car mechanic does not need to spend from $20.000 to $30.000 in college for a couple of years. Obtaining a degree would not make his business profitable in any case. Thus, it is extremely unprofitable to get a degree when a person knows it would not boost sales or lead to profits.

One has to agree that not all people are gifted for getting a degree. Some of them may think slowly or lack the ability to analyze, which is why they may not fit in the education system for college and can result in their expulsion. The most important thing to agree with is that one can teach them most of the things in college, but one cannot teach them enjoy the learning process. Furthermore, there are people curious about the world, about how everything works, and about the principles of life. However, they might not be interested in getting a degree. The education process is viewed by them as boring and unproductive, teaching too many subjects that are not required to have a good life.

Democratic and Individual Needs for College Education

Despite the discussed view, there is an opinion that college education should be obligatory. The supporters of this view claim that modern students tend to attend college pursuing their aim of individual development. They argue that the opponents do not try to analyze the position of an educated person in society. It is generally said that college education guarantees more opportunities. One can often see or hear that a college graduate will always be marketable and have a wide range of opportunities. Job openings and career promotion are believed to be open for a college graduate, unlike a person without a college education.

The image of a successful college graduate earning from thousands to millions of dollars has become a widespread advertisement of applying to a wide range of colleges. Thus, having a college degree has been proclaimed prestigious and profitable disregarding any knowledge and aesthetics behind it. However, while an individual may assess the need for college education as getting a high-paid job, there appears to be more sense involved.

The first explanation may be called education for democracy and it lies outside the sphere of individual development. Scholars claim that one of the benefits of obtaining a college degree is incalculable. As merely a political one, this benefit ensures democracy in its mutual sense. If the new republic was to flourish and endure, it required, above all, an educated citizenry. The reason for it is that an educated person has developed skills in analyzing the received information.

In daily life, one often deals with aggressive advertisements, political slogans, and other persuasive things. Being aimed at changing people’s decisions, taking their money or votes, they bear great pragmatic power. Thus, in order to get a critical approach and filter all incoming information, one needs to possess knowledge and skills in it. The latter would allow distinguishing demagogy from prospective political and economic solutions. The latter is the result of knowledge in politics, various set of historical cases and their aftermath, obtained in the process of learning in college. Possessing required theoretical knowledge, an educated person makes rational decisions based on analysis and synthesis. Therefore, one cannot object to the fact that any country would have a prospective future with skilled specialists and politicians supported by educated citizens.

The second reason for getting a college education strongly opposes utilitarian and materialistic approaches. In order to explain it, Delbanco uses an example from his teaching career. One of his students was grateful to college because education had taught him how to enjoy life. This aspect lies in deepening the students’ alertness in color and form, melody, and harmony rather than obtaining any theoretical knowledge or grasping fundamental politic ideas. The discussed aspect of education lies in broadening the range of senses and raising the feeling to be curious about the world. Thus, the supporters of an obligatory college education are sure that such education brings more sense in life teaching how to enjoy life experiences and developing specific philosophical approaches.

Summarizing presented information one comes to the conclusion that there is a great controversy regarding the need for getting a college degree. The supporters of college education argue that college graduates are more competitive in the job market, enlightened about the world, and are the ideal educated citizens. At the same time, there are people who claim college education to be non-productive and optional. The latter support their arguments with statistics of high expel rates, low literacy rates among college graduates. Moreover, the opponents of college education state there are people who are curious enlightened and curious about the world without a college education. Furthermore, there are many colleges aimed at getting profits from researches and giving bad instructions to students. Thus, one can conclude college education is required only for getting a specialized degree. In other cases, it is viewed as a non-profitable investment, which may prevent getting a well-paid job and being promoted on that position instead of attending classes.

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