Is a college education important, if so to what level? Should students be obligated to enroll in classes that have no direct link to their choice in a particular field of study and career path? Should having a bachelor’s degree in a particular field of study make one more qualified for a job not relating to that field? In this critical thinking assignment these are the most important and intriguing questions I was faced with. In being asked the question “Is a College Education Important” I examined three articles that dealt directly with this subject.
The first article I read was written by Patrick Allitt, “Should Undergraduates Specialize”? Allitt, a professor of American History at Emory University; also author of I’m a Teacher, You’re a Student: A Semester in the University Classroom (2005). The second article I examined was written by Marty Nemko, “Americas Most Overrated Product: The Bachelor’s Degree”. Nemko a career counselor, columnist, and radio host based in Oakland, California, has been an education consultant to numerous college presidents. He is the author of four books, including The All-in-One College Guide: A Consumer Activist Guide to Choosing a College (2004).
Lastly my third article that was examined was written by Charles Murray “Should the Obama Generation Drop Out? ” Born in 1943, Murray is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author, most recently of Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing American Schools Back to Reality (2008). Upon reading these three articles it is evident that the main area of focus is trying to understand what is the purpose of a college education and how useful it can or cannot be to an individual. My personal opinion to this matter is that a college education is a valuable resource to possess.
I am of the belief that knowledge is power, and broadening your intellectual insight to new ideas and facts; can only be beneficial to one self and make them a better-rounded individual in all aspects of life. While reading “Should Undergraduates Specialize” it was evident that the main argument he was faced was the current mandatory Liberal Arts program in American colleges; and why should students have to waste their time and money completing classes that do not associate with what they want to do in life.
Allitt says “I think more American colleges should offer the chance to specialize right from the outset to those students who want it”. After reading Allitt's article I do personally understand and sympathize to his concern, as I myself am currently a Liberal Arts major, however I do not agree with his opinions in his writing. The reasoning I have behind disagreeing with Allitt is that although in his eyes these courses are unnecessary, the idea of college is to make one a well-rounded student, in all aspects of the academic world.
I personally believe there is no harm to be done to expand one’s mind equally; this can only benefit an individual during the course of their life. The next article I chose to read was “Americas Most Overrated Product: The Bachelor’s Degree”. This article spoke of the concern that colleges are more concerned about money than the overall good of the student. Posing the belief that the current college institution is so flawed that in Nemko's words “college is a wise choice for far fewer people than are currently encouraged to consider it”.
During this piece Nemko brings to light many interesting statistics. The most intriguing, “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 a half years later”. That figure is from a study cited by Clifford Adelman a former research analyst at the U. S. Department of Education.
He goes on to state that today a majority of students whom colleges admit are completely unprepared, and only 23 percent of the 1. million high school graduates of 2007 that partook in the ACT examination were even ready for college level work. Mainly in the core subjects English, Math, Reading and Science. During this reading one of Namco’s opinions that really stuck with me was “colleges should be held at least accountable as tire companies are”, stating “when some Firestone tires were believed to be defective, government investigation combined with news-media scrutiny, led to higher tire safety standards.
Yet year after year, colleges and universities turn out millions of defective products; Students who drop out, or graduate with far too little benefit for their time and money spent”. Although I personally do not care for Nemko’s statistics as I believe all statistics are a total product of their environment. I do whole heartedly agree that these college institutions should be held accountable for the product they put out, just like any other business in this country or the world.
I believe that colleges and universities should be held to the highest standards as they are the institutions that are emplaced to teach our students, the future of this country. Lastly the third article I read was “Should the Obama Generation Drop Out? ” This article in my opinion was the most intriguing and the one that I agreed with the most. Murray’s of the belief how why should having a bachelor’s degree make any one person a better choice for a job position? Murray goes on to say, which I believe completely “It’s what you do that should count when you apply for a job, not where you learned it”.
Although I have previously stated I do believe in the idea of furthering your education, in my eyes this is a brilliant comment. I truly believe if the majority of business owners and corporate America took this stance during their hiring process. A prime example of this theory can be exemplified perfectly when referring to a Web Designer, just because one of these designers holds a Batchers degree, does this mean he or she is any more skilled than the other who spent their whole adult life honing their skills?
A simple solution to remedy this issue could be to administer a certification test, if employers implemented this process to their decision making process, I believe their business would be run efficient and beneficial overall to their whole operation. In conclusion to this article that I have written, I feel as though I am now capable of giving an educated answer to the original question asked “Is a College Education Important” and after my research and readings I can say my answer is, yes.