Some Thoughts Concerning College

The pursuit of higher education has been questionable over the past few years. What once held as a sign of prestige is now just another piece of paper that might make a resume look better. Of course—and I’m generalizing when I say this—I’m talking about the degrees most people get coming out of college that have little or nothing to do with the job they’re applying for; but that doesn’t discredit the more valuable degrees such as a doctorate or masters though most drop out before they get the chance to aim for such degrees. According to collegeatlas.org, 30% of college freshmen drop out after their first year. Nearly ⅓ of a class has already given up—not to mention that they’re now at least $20,000 in debt. We’ve been told that going to college after high school was the best way to go in order to live a happy, successful life. However, no one told us that a massive disturbance would breach our lives causing us to reconsider our choices. The internet allows us to do things no other previous generation could have done. So much so that going to college would actually hinder some of our aspirations. With the help of the internet, more jobs are available and even more opportunities are behind closed doors, waiting for us to open them. And yet, more and more people are going to college. We’ve been given more paths to choose from and people still choose to follow the traditional route; and if my economics class taught me anything, it taught me that a low supply and a high demand would result in increased prices. The higher the demand, the lower its value becomes. But are we going to college to truly get a better education, or to enjoy the luxuries of being in one? 

The first college in the U.S. was Harvard University; it opened in 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At first, colleges were heavily influenced by religion thus focusing on training young men for ministry. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century more colleges started opening and had to expand their fields and subjects. The government began funding many of the colleges we now know as public colleges. But somewhere along the line, a noticeable change had occurred: Colleges across the country started implementing facilities and including activities that do not improve a college education. In other words, students don’t actually go into debt paying for education— they go into debt paying a school to have the privilege of having fancy buildings, lawns, gyms, sports fields, etc. Education in and of itself, however, is affordable, and many times even free. We can purchase books at our local bookstore that would give us the same education as that of a college at a far cheaper price but I suppose the experience wouldn’t be the same. Especially considering that most desire a paper and its credibility so that their resume looks a little more impressive to future employers.

I can’t say that I’ve come up with a solution that would fix this yet. What I can say is we have to keep in mind that, although college students are only a portion of our population in America now, they will become 100% of our future, and who wants to look up to leaders who can’t even file for bankruptcy on their debt?