Education has generally been a route to social mobility in the world, and a college education is increasingly becoming essential in achieving economic security (Brodhead 145). The usual wisdom is to attend college; however, college education is by no means a guarantee to success in life. With that highlighted, college education has been considered as a great asset and many open opportunities otherwise closed to those who do not possess it. A college is an educational institution designed to transmit knowledge and skills from the past to potential undergraduate students so that they may be equipped with survival resources for the future (Delbanco 125). As economies tend to embrace globalization, the conventional wisdom of joining college as a means of success in life is being questioned. This paper discusses the pros and cons of joining college. It is advisable for individuals to critically determine the best course for their lives. That is to say, individuals need to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a college education based on their own finances and goals instead of blindly paying attention to traditional wisdom or its opponents.
Pros and Cons of Joining College
College education is a prerequisite for many careers (McMahon 89). Therefore, it is imperative that people join college to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills relevant to a particular field. For instance, to land a job in the telecommunications industry, industry related knowledge is compulsory. According to Delbanco (102), “sensitive industries such as medicine, education, energy and finance need a college education.” Professional certification courses and on job training programs can actually vault one ahead of those who spend many years in college. The advantage that a college graduate has over a non-college attendant is the swiftness in changing careers. In such scenarios, a college degree gives one an upper hand. Receiving a college degree usually costs time and money (Archibald and Feldman 89). Various researches have repeatedly indicated that college education is one of major ways to minimize the welfare dependency ratio and guarantee increased job earnings (McMahon 145).
An average college degree requires four-years of study (McMahon 45). This time might be costly for those interested in careers that do not require a college education. For example, singing or acting does not really need a college degree for one to succeed. For a singer, the college time might be used to gain valuable work experience in the studio or vocal classes. Some successful entrepreneurs such as Paul Allen, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell choose to launch their businesses at the expense of completing college. In reference to a common saying that time is money, whichever path is taken, decisions should be critically assessed based on the personal goals and financial capability. Money plays a key role in making education a success at college. With the current economic hardships, college education is increasingly becoming expensive. A research by indicates that an average student leaves college with approximately $25,000 in debt (McMahon 102).
If one aspires to rise in the corporate ladder, college education is part of the equation. It is evident that on average, college graduates earn more than high school graduates do. Some non-college attendants find better paying jobs, but the statistics indicate that there is a strong correlation between education and salary (McMahon 120). In current corporate world, besides the remarkable success one might have within a specific field, employers also consider the level of education attained. College degree is a benchmark of determining the ability of a person to adapt to a new position. In addition, a college degree can demonstrate dedication and perseverance, which might give a person an edge over other job applicants or, on the lower side, sustain your competitive advantage over them. During harsh economic conditions, college graduates may be unable to land on jobs relevant to their field of study. This implies that they will opt for low paying jobs to ensure continuity. Some employers are also reluctant to employ college graduates in the fear that they will leave when the economic status improves.
McMahon (125) highlighted that the college environment provides students the avenue to explore new concepts and fields. Some students never settle on a career path until they join college. For example, a student with interest in electrical and electronics engineering might end up focusing in digital systems by the virtue that college education systems open up new ideas and career paths. If people continue to leave their dreams for college, then many other things or talents would be sacrificed. Some college graduates realize end up in fields that are not linked to what they pursed in college. In fact, most colleges teach students to center on creativity, innovation and individuality. To some extent, this approach kills the automatic reflex towards valuable ideas and concepts that can solve global challenges.
Brodhead (147) points out that socio-cultural diversification in colleges opens up networking opportunities. Students meet people from different places, cultures and religions. All these contacts can transform college attendants to embrace the notion of mutuality in political and socioeconomic aspects of life. Professors or lectures can recommend their best student for employment. Through various interactions, students may end up meeting their future employees, bosses or partners. For instance, the co-founders of Facebook, Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg were college mates in Harvard (Delbanco 102). These interactions might unfortunately lead to behavioral change and cultural erosion. Freedom is good and as poisonous as any other thing if checks and balances are not in place. College life comes with a lot of freedom, and this tends to result in the development of some negative attributes among students. For example, many people points out that Greek life, excessive partying, drug abuse and alcoholism begin in college (Brodhead 156). Some of these social problems are because of direct interaction with victims or peer pressure. College education exposes people a variety of backgrounds and information (McMahon 147). This dimension broadens individual critical thinking skills and maturity. Exposure cultivates some significant levels of curiosity and discipline to students with the right attitudes about education. College students normally learn to be responsible for their actions or choices and develop time management and other essential life skills that will serve them the rest of their lives.
The current market trends require a college education, for almost every corporate job. This is unfortunate because some jobs do not require a college degree as dictated by the job description. Some employers have made the value of college education ridiculous by routinely hiring fresh unqualified college graduates instead of qualified and experienced professionals. In some scenarios, graduate trainee programs end up hiring students that did not major in the field that the job requires. As economies tend to move to a global village, education systems have pushed the notion that everyone needs at least a college degree to prove they are qualified in the stated field. Unless you are receiving a lot of financial support, the merits of attending college are debatable. College debts and unemployment instances within relevant fields after college tend to worsen peoples quality of life. The quality of education in some colleges is also not up to date thus making college education be questionable. In the United States, it was reported that college debt surpasses other forms of debt. The underlying observation is to have an open mind and filter the information about college education being a conduit to success. Therefore, the decision to attend college should be made after a critical evaluation of one’s life goals and financial ability.
Archibald, Robert B. and David H. Feldman. Why Does College Cost So Much. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Brodhead, Richard. The good of this place : values and challenges in college education. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.
Delbanco, Andrew. College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2012.
McMahon, Walter W. Higher learning, greater good : the private and social benefits of higher education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.