Essay Sample: The College Education Debate

3 pages
668 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
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A lot has been said regarding college education. Two authors, Devorah Lieberman in "Stop Scaring Students," and Caroline Bird in "College is a Waste of Time and Money," have presented conflicting ideas regarding the aspect of college education in their articles. While Lieberman feels that a college education is an investment that pays off in the long run, Bird argues that going to college is akin to wasting time and money. Nevertheless, the aspect of a college education is a very serious topic that every college-level student needs to consider. Each of them must critically evaluate the pros and cons of a college diploma. Although a college education is vital in the development of human capital in any economy, there is need to examine its actual impact.

Inaccurate reporting in some media platforms has led to the misrepresentation of facts thus promoting a negative impression of a college education. In her article, Lieberman mentions media platforms such as World Report, U.S. News and Forbes as rather notorious for promoting a negative image of a college education. She argues that the columnists who question the value of college education in these platforms fail to acknowledge that college education is "the best insurance against unemployment." This would be construed to mean that although it takes time, college education finally pays off. Lieberman seems to suggest that college students should not be scared off but be given an opportunity to pursue their careers and passions so as to build a solid foundation for their future.

On the contrary, Bird views a college education as a wastage of money and time, not a viable investment. In her article, this author argues that one can make more rewarding investments that are more rewarding than a college education. She points out that a big percentage of those pursuing a college education is not in it out of passion but as the only way they can get parents or taxpayers to support them without getting a job they don't like." This is rather disconcerting considering the fact that a lot of resources are channeled towards a college education. In a deliberate effort to disregard the value of college education, the author quotes educationists, administrators and opinion shapers who seem to agree that the worth of a college education is null and void. In particular, she gives a hypothetical example of a college-bound high school graduate whose income, by the age of 64, would be $528, 200 more than that of a college graduate of the same age, if he invested, in a savings bank, all that college education would have cost him. This implies that a college education is not an astute investment since the returns are shrouded in uncertainty.

Although both Lieberman and Bird agree at some point, they also disagree. First, both agree that a college education is necessary for the survival of individuals. Lieberman notes that it is the best hope of developing and pursuing their passions with careers, each in a civically responsible way while Bird resonates that it is the best place especially for young people who are really drawn to academic work." It is an interesting meeting point for both authors who seem to appreciate the worth of a college education. However, the two go separate ways concerning returns on investment. While Lieberman emphasizes that a college education ultimately pays off since it insulates one against unemployment, Bird views the returns as too slow and expensive.

People will hold varied opinions concerning college education. In my view, it is important for each college-bound student to critically examine the value of what they are going for. Although Lieberman seriously defends college education while Bird is against it, I feel that too much talk is unnecessary. I believe that college education should neither be glorified nor be demonized. I have realized that individuals are different. Therefore, each student should be given a chance to choose what they want to do after high school so that nobody is forced into something they never wanted.

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