Saturday, July 14, 2012

Is College Worth It?


Today I was watching the John Stossel show on Fox News and became a bit perturbed at their discussion of whether or not a four year college degree was worth it.

John Stossel himself is fairly reasonable in his analysis and uses compelling (though often biased or one sided) evidence to prove his point. In regard to the issue of whether college is worth it, he took the stance that often times it is not and that many students are wasting their time and money trying to get a liberal arts degree of some sort.

I agree and disagree. Sure, if the student is not dedicated and is picking a liberal arts degree because they think it will be the easy way out, they probably shouldn't even go to school in the first place and should try and find a job that requires a trade skill of some sort instead.

However, if a student happens to be highly interested in the the liberal arts (or any of the majors deemed to be unworthy by right wing pundits) and excels in their work, I'd think that it would be a detriment if they did not attend a college to expand their knowledge and analytical abilities.

It's ironic to me, especially since the pundits ragging on the liberal arts on Stossel's show all have jobs in which said degree would be highly effective.

Take John Stossel's job for instance. He specializes in investigative reporting and heavy analysis/ research in order to prove some sort of thesis or make some political point. To me, that sounds exactly like the job description a political science or history major would be best suited for.

In other words, while I agree that college loans are a detriment and should be heavily considered before going to a four year school, it should not be a tool with which you can use to prove that all liberal arts degrees are worthless to society and the world as a whole.

Often times pundits will, as they did on Stossel's show today, attempt to prove that college degrees are worthless (unless you're pre-med or an engineer of course) by providing anecdotal evidence about some CEO that made his way to the top with a high school education.

My question is this: if some CEO's are so confidant in their stance that college degrees are worthless, why do they continue to make their crappy entry level jobs require an expensive four year degree?

If you are going to talk the talk, walk the dang walk. It's sickening to see jobs which pay a measly $10 an hour and yet require the worker to spend a fortune on college loans.

If they truly want people to take their point of "all you need is hard work and a bit of gumption to succeed" seriously, then remove all the prerequisites to entry level jobs. If someone has a high school diploma and seems to be fit for work, hire them on the spot.

Until they start doing that, CEOs who say that it's possible to just walk up the corporate ladder without a degree can eat their own words and stick a bumper sticker on their backs that reads "hypocrite" in giant block letters.

Back to Stossel's show and the subject of if college is necessary or worth it, I feel that this argument is often too skewed to be taken seriously.

In my mind, if you are intelligent, resourceful, and ready for a challenge, you should take the college plunge regardless of the cost in the future. Otherwise, in my opinion, you're wasting your potential, unless you happen to be one of those special people who can rise up in the world through your own willpower and determination.

Again, in my opinion, these types of folks are few and far between.

Don't get me wrong though, I feel the point discussed on Stossel's show has some merit. If you don't like school and want to work right out of high school, then college loans aren't worth it. Especially if you can just go to a trade or vocational school and get a head start in the workforce at an early age.

However, for those of us who enjoy the academic experience, I feel that the college loans are worth it in the end if you apply yourself and put as much hard work into your studies as you possibly can.

It's true that some people just aren't meant to go to college, whether for academic or other reasons. However, that should not stop those of us whose joy lies in academic study and intellectual thought from achieving our goals, no matter how much it costs when all is said and done.

If you truly try to get the most academically out of your college experience, it will be worth every penny.

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