Skip to comments.College does not prepare for real life
Posted on 05/04/2005 8:15:16 AM PDT by qam1
As I watch my classmates graduate it seems many of them are less sure of their purpose then when they began college. College used to be where young adults went to find themselves and then pursue their passion. It was a luxury for the crem de la crem of society. It wasn't long ago that most children knew their place in society by adolescence and were resigned to that fate.
Now with the plethora of choice, instead of college opening amazing new opportunities and fulfilling our wildest dreams, it has left us unprepared for the real world and paralyzed by the paradox of too much choice. Four years of college and are we really any better off for it?
There is no denying it; the pressure looms from all corners. At most suburban high schools the guidance counselors aren't asking if you are going to college, they are asking where. Parents aren't wondering if they are going to help pay your ever-increasing college tuition, they are wondering how.
So, teenagers are shuffled off to college by overbearing pressures and then languish in an academic environment that they don't really desire or feel passionate about. Sometimes they make it through the four years, sometime they don't. Many of those who do, find themselves degree in hand with no more of an idea of what to do with their life then four years earlier.
Perhaps we should stop and consider that a four-year college right out of high school isn't the right choice for everyone. Perhaps college isn't the place to "find yourself", especially to the tune of over 15 grand a year.
A third of college students do not qualify for a degree in six years and just because you don't graduate, doesn't mean you don't have to pay back student loans.
Since when is a college degree all that counts in the job market? The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics' estimates of the fastest-growing occupations between 2002 and 2012 show that six of the top 10 don't require bachelor's degrees.
On the job training, vocational and technical degrees can lead to successful careers. Let's face it, for many occupations, a year of on the job training would prepare you much better then wading through philosophy, ethnic studies, astronomy and all those other gen eds that bog down students and stretch out our education to four years and beyond.
Admittedly, much of the college education process is a product of our societal conceptions of what determines success and job preparedness. It is also a great ploy by the universities to reel in those middle class baby boomer dollars by convincing mom and dad that a pricey degree is the only thing separating their baby from comfy suburban bliss and destitution.
True, some jobs require a four year degree before they will even look at your application, regardless of your other skills, talents and life experiences. However, often hard work, ingenuity, charisma, tenacity and a lot of character qualities that aren't exclusive to a degree are what really translate to a good employee.
As college tuition skyrockets, perhaps this college model needs reevaluated and transformed into a more efficient and effective system that actually teaches people usable skills. There are signs that this shift may already be under way. Community and technical college enrollments are rising. States, like Ohio, are recognizing this and shifting funding in that direction.
Sure college can be a great community and social environment, but if you spend more hours at the bars then in class you probably aren't going to come out of here with much more then a beer belly. Paying this kind of tuition money to have friends and a social life is like joining an expensive country club without the free golf.
Even if you do make it to and possibly enjoy class remember; a lecture and a textbook isn't the only way to learn by the way. You would be amazed what a library card and a passport can offer.
Let's face it, the college environment is a sandbox compared to the beach we face when we get out of here. The vast shores are intimidating and unexplored, but the possibilities really are endless. I'm just not so sure playing for four years in the sandbox gets us ready for the adventure.
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Four years in the military after high school will not only help pay for college, it will grow a kid up enough to be serious about it when he/she gets there.
So much depends on where you send them to college, what they study (and if they study), and other non-school-related factors. I think I was well-prepared for work when I graduated, but I didn't spend all of my time at frat parties like many people do. I had fun, but I did the work, too. My parents and I didn't spend upwards of $100,000 for me to go to a big-name school, yet I am now working with (and earning the same amount as) many people with huge student debt. And I had a strong background from my parents that prepared me to think logically and work hard, no matter what else I learned at college. College is important and necessary for certain careers, and plenty of people in my generation have come out of college with legitimate knowledge and skills.
(wadever happened to: Half the peole you meet today are BELOW average?)
And we wonder why even college grads can't write a paragraph??????
Depends on what you do with the year. Spending another year living off mom and pop isn't going to make a kid more mature.
If I had teen-age kids I'd seriously push them towards trade school if they had no career plans that required a college degree. I graduated from college in '98 (I was an older returning student) and I can honestly say that at least 50% (probably more) of the students at my alma mater had no business being in there.
I went on to college but neither of my children did. I find that they are very late to the organization/discipline/structure part of "life". Just my personal observation.
There's nothing wrong with a surplus of English majors if they are taught something worth learning in their major. A good background in English Lit is a great way to learn how to think. Exposure to the liberal arts is what education was supposed to be about at one time. I'm sorry we've gotten away from it. The problem is what is now being taught. Too often, it's not really worth anything. A real national, cultural and societal tragedy. I have a daughter in college and I'm glad she's there. But she's living at home and that gives us a chance to deal with the junk she occasionally has to put up with. And we're not paying tuition. If we were, I might think differently. I would send her to community college. I've taken classes there and some are excellent.
Not true in our family. We don't pop for College
Tuition unless the kiddoe knows of two possible
vocations he/she's interested in. And they sign
up for those courses after basics are finished.
Have a grandson now finishing his Junior year at
ASU Flagstaff. He played football through high
school and his Freshman year at college. Then
he decided to go into Sports Physical Therapy.
A great choice. He's already completed all his
Science requirements and several therapy courses.
He'll stay one extra year picking up a double
Masters in that field along with History. And
do his student teaching. He expects to start
out teaching High School with Social Studies/Sports
Coach Asst/Therapist. His goal is to get into the
Collegiate Sports Arena. Sounds like a Plan to me!
It's true re your statement about many kids not
having a clue as to what they want to do. But
that in part is the parents fault. Too often
they send their child off to college on the premise
"he will find himself." That happened years ago
in Kindergarten! At today's tuition prices, he'd
better damn well show more enthusiasm about his
potential slots in life.
I agree with that.
That's why I are becoming an enginerd. I'm good with math, like science, and have an oh-so-sparkling personality. :-) That, and a semi-twisted mind helps, too.
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