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The Pros and Cons of Getting a College Education

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The Pros and Cons of Getting a College Education

There have been many different ideas, thoughts, and opinions about whether or not a college education is worth getting. Many argue that, as talked about in Freeman Hrabowski’s essay “College Prepares People for Life”, people need a college degree to succeed in life and obtain a job. “College graduates are much more likely to be employed than those with only a high school diploma and earn substantially higher salaries.” (260) Many careers and jobs seem to require some kind of degree these days, so you might as well get it out of the way. While everybody has their own opinions, Hrabowski probably knows what he is talking about, considering he has been the president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County since 1992 (259).

Another option for college is attending community college. This is often much cheaper and can tailor to your needs. In Charles Murray’s essay “Are Too Many People Going to College?”, he talks about the idea of community colleges. It often seems like people who do not go to college have the excuse of not being able to afford it or find the right college that would meet their needs. In some cases, this may be true, but there are many different forms of colleges out there to tailor to each person’s personal needs. “The two-year community college and online courses offer more flexible options for tailoring course work to the real needs of the job.” (242)

Silvia Husain, the vice president for student services and enrollment management at Gaston College, has her own take on community college. Since community colleges are tailored to fit custom needs, there are many students that attend just because they want to get a degree but are struggling to attend a traditional four year college. Husain recalls some of the students that she has seen come through the college:

“Those of us who work in community colleges have met those students who make huge sacrifices to obtain an education. I will not forget the student who walked for miles to make it to class. There was the pregnant student who had not food to eat, but made every effort to make it through her program with the future of her unborn child as a guide.”

Community colleges, in my opinion, are excellent college choices for those that cannot afford an expensive education or have other needs they need to financially meet, like having a family or preparing for a child.

Many different kinds of people attend community colleges: teenagers, middle aged adults, and even retired adults. One very positive thing about these people attending a community college is the help they can get from the workers at the college, and the community around them. Husain continues to share,

“One of the things we have been able to do at our college is a to develop a persistence and retention department. Gaston College has a strong history of using strategic planning to set goals, to provide framework for excellence, and to respond to community needs as well as future opportunities. (Diverse: Issues in Higher Education)”

Husain and her team make it a key point to take care of their students and adjust to fit their needs. This is something that some colleges lack. Most colleges, in my opinion, meet most needs of a majority of their students, however, there are always a few colleges that fall short. At Gaston College, they make it very important to assist their students in the ways they need, like the following:

“We have had many challenges, but our efforts have paid off. For example, the goal for the first year we had the Title III grant, providing initial resources for the ambitious plans of the persistence and retention team, was to increase the retention rate for at-risk students from forty-eight percent to fifty-two percent, and we surpassed that goal by increasing it to sixty-seven percent. Another example, our college’s foundation raises funds to support our Academic Assistance Fund. Students can apply for a maximum of $250 per academic year and do not have to pay it back. The fund allows the college to meet students’ immediate financial needs that are affecting their academic success. (Diverse: Issues in Higher Education)”

A huge, and main, reason people do not attend college is because of the cost and toll it takes on them financially. Some families or individuals simply cannot afford a single class or course. A way to overcome this is to save up, first, and to also do plenty of research. There has been so much research done on colleges and it is pretty easy to find just about any fact you need about that college. Stephanie Owen and Isabel Sawhill talk about different things that are difficult for college prospects in their essay “Should Everyone Go to College?”.

“If they choose wisely and attend a school with generous financial aid and high expected earnings, and if they don’t just enroll but graduate, they can greatly improve their lifetime prospects. The information needed to make a wise decision, however, can be difficult to find and hard to interpret. (220)”

In this essay, I think that Owen and Sawhill are trying to get their point about financial aid across. The fact that schools need to provide more and include more information for students, including ensuring them that they will graduation. The price for higher education has skyrocketed, and it is causing people to question whether it is really worth it or not. “Americans think a college education has become too expensive for most people. Families and schools have formed their own opinions on who should pay for it, yet most college graduates say college was a good investment for them. (Pew Research Center)” While college is very expensive at many places, TIME magazine did a poll showing the result that 86 percent of graduates say that college was a good investment for them.

A hot topic about college is the liberal education part of it. Do liberal education classes matter, and why? In “They Say, I Say”, there has been much talk about college, what is important, what is not, and the necessary requirements. There are some essays that state the opinion, or sometimes give facts, that too many people are attending college. In my opinion, that is very incorrect. College is a necessary part life for many reasons. Charles Murray



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