It has become a way with all that after finishing high school a student must opt to go to college, get a degree, and build a career. Parents feel it is very important for their children to get a college degree to obtain stable jobs in the future because it is generally accepted that a college degree can bring well-paid jobs. Keeping this in mind, parents are willing to spend their earnings to get expensive college degrees for their teenagers and youngsters. Parents are not wrong in their beliefs, as Abel and Deitz (2014) found that “A key reason why a degree remains a relatively valuable asset despite rising tuition is that the wages of those Americans without a degree have been falling, keeping the college wage premium near an all-time high, according to the report.” Citizens tend to favour the options that could build opportunities for their kids and secure their future, and college is often the favoured choice because “Higher education is recognized both as an engine of economic growth and as a gatekeeper to individual positions of high remuneration and status” (Johnstone 2009).However, in many cases, graduates fail to secure their dream jobs after graduation. This could have to do with availability of opportunities, field, market, etc. but the point is that the widely believed notion that degrees bring jobs is not necessarily true. Imbalance in college degree costs and benefits has been observed. The unemployment rate of adults with degrees continues to stay below average, and it grows ever more evident that college graduates are not being employed (Abel and Deitz, 2014). Therefore, if college education might not guarantee a good paying job then there are other reasons that add value to college degree. Although college degrees do not guarantee employment, college education provides better opportunity for finding jobs, promotes mental health and well-being, and imparts crucial skills to use throughout the rest of one’s life.
The alternative option to going to college, while is not widely chosen, usually starts with odd jobs such as restaurant jobs or working as a salesperson at a store. These small jobs do not often open career initiatives. People in low level jobs will have no options than to continue in low paid jobs unless a better opportunity is offered, because “most jobs of high remuneration and status will require an advanced degree, probably beyond the baccalaureate, and it further follows that the lack of postsecondary education creates a likelihood of marginal income and status” (Johnstone 2009). Executive-level jobs tend to require higher education. Therefore, although Caroline Bird criticizes college education for being over-priced due to the increasing commercialism in the field, college education is worth the cost because it provides an individual with better odds at career success than a person without a degree.
College graduates are psychologically stronger and healthier than other citizens. Higher education significantly stimulates the mind and “College-educated adults fare better than those with lower levels of education on a broad range of outcomes: These include mental health, sense of personal control, self-rated health, disability, chronic conditions and mortality” (Schafer, Wilkinson & Ferraro, 2013). College education boosts peoples’ self-esteem and personal control for a life time. Bird believes that today’s students “protest individually rather than in concert” and “turn inward and withdraw from active participation” (Bird). She ignores the psychological strength that is attained during college. It imparts confidence and faith in one’s own abilities and teaches young minds how to be healthy and creative, and how to think productively. If college education is providing opportunities to the young people to have healthy mind and become psychologically strong then it is worth the price.
The work students do in college helps them to grow and change. College education makes us better learners as it helps in improving our critical thinking abilities. It enables us to become better problem solvers and it encourages us to use our intellect more and acquire further knowledge. College is not really to learn a particular set of skills for a career; it is to “become a learner” (Sanders 2012). If college makes us better learners, does it make us better professionals? In many cases, no, but although a lot of theories we study in college could be outdated when we step into the professional world, the knowledge of those theories helps us in solving present time professional issues in a smarter way. College is a place where the young learners prepare their minds for high order skills such as problem solving and critical thinking. They develop intellectually and build their character, and these qualities are not restricted to any major subject or any profession. The years spent in college add to the knowledge in the selected major a student is studying, but in addition to increasing knowledge, the experiences in college build character and intellect. Therefore, college education is not all about tuition fee stress, educational loans and getting degree for highly paid jobs. It is a place where one’s character building takes place.
It must be stated that college education has its benefits that makes it a good option for all high school graduates: college education provides opportunity, wellness, and important life skills to its students. It equips young adults for professional competition where they need to get themselves a good job and build a career. To make the best of college education it is important to have a system that guides students into selecting their majors so that they are prepared to combat job challenges and instable economies. Maybe we should evaluate people not on “who is first to get a job out of college…or who earns the highest wage,” but on who gets “back on their feet” after career misfortune (Tepper and Lindemann, 2014). It is important to realize that college education builds skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making which are essential for a successful career. A college degree is not just the ticket to getting a high wage; it is a means of getting mental and intellectual stability that can help graduates in becoming successful professionals.
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