“In the United States today, there is no more certain investment than a college education”(Carnevale and Melton). Education has always been a major component of American society. One can only go so far without an education, and the more education and knowledge someone has, the better their chances of being successful. Some people believe a high school education is enough, and it is, enough to land a job at a fast food restaurant.
I speculate they feel this way because they feel school is not for them, or maybe they just do not want to go far in life. To get far in life people must go above and beyond, and learn things that others do not know to make them stand out in job interviews. College helps develop skills that are necessary for life, and gives them an education that will enhance their future; and despite its few drawbacks, college is worth it.
Americans today tend to believe that college is four years of partying and fun while earning a degree, and there is validity in that belief, but one must also include the four years of learning and hard work. One benefit of college is all of the fun activities that there are to take part in. These activities that college students take part in give the students two important things in life: stress management abilities and connections. Students work hard all week and then finally get the chance to relax and do something they enjoy on the weekends.
That “down time” is spent relaxing, and trying to figure out a non-stressful way to complete all homework and projects and still go out for fun. The stress management relates to time management, as students want to do work in a logical time frame that keeps life easy. These two skills relate to life after college because once someone has a job they have to manage the stress of the job and complete tasks in a timely manner.
On May 16, 2011, Paul Taylor and his research team from Pew Social & Demographic Trends in Washington DC conducted surveys and asked people if college was worth “it”. In reference to jobs “55% [said] it was very useful in helping them prepare for a job or career”. The data from the study supports my assertions of what college provides students with, which is a strong foundation for joining the work force.
College also gives students connections. While taking part in activities students make friends and meet people with all kinds of goals for the future. These connections make life easier after college. Students meet friends that have connections to internships, jobs, summer programs and with the help of their friends, students can find themselves in one of these if not more resume building opportunities. Meeting new people and participating in activities make students appear very diverse in turn, more appealing to employers.
Another benefit of college is the education that one receives. Not only does one learn about a specific field that other people only have general to no knowledge about, but they essentially become a specialist in a few areas. College forces people to pick their main interests and focus on them. The further they take their education, the more knowledgeable they become in particular fields. Picking a major and minor (sometimes double major and double minor) narrows choices when employers are seeking workers because they want people with a specific skill set, and specific knowledge. Most degrees can give students the opportunity to obtain high paying jobs.
Now, while it is true that right out of college students obtain low paying jobs, it also has to be taken into consideration what field the former student is seeking a job in, and the level of their education. For example, if a student obtains a B.A. in management he/she will likely make less money because management is a large field with many people in it.
The more people a certain field or job has, the less they will get paid because in the employer’s eyes they are not special, and more people with the exact same degree and qualifications can be found. Now, rewind, and say that same student has a B.A. in biology with a concentration in microbiology. With microbiology being a smaller and more competitive field, a student has the chance to make more money. The amount of jobs available for people with that special knowledge is limited. Employers would pay more because they do not want to lose someone with those rare skills and knowledge to another company.
In addition, low paying jobs are not guaranteed to new college graduates, but are still a possibility. However, Anthony Carnevale and Michelle Melton claim that “rising demand, coupled with the persistent undersupply of college-educated workers over the last 30 years, has driven up relative wages for these workers”. Carnevale and Melton assert that there is a high demand of college-educated workers and that due to the lack of workers, wages are actually increasing.
Though I concede that low wages are a possibility for college graduates, I still insist that the wages are higher than what they used to be, and the students could most likely earn more money by continuing there education on through graduate school. In addition, it is believed by the NPR staff writers that most of the low wages and the lack of jobs is due to the current recession.
When the benefits and costs and drawbacks of college are compared, it is obvious that the benefits outweigh the problems. According to NPR, “..every college won’t always be worth it but, he says “the long-term trends about the average value of a college degree are very strong.” And he says a college degree is still in demand.” The biggest mistake someone can make is not going to college, and that is a decision that they will always regret.
Carnevale, Anthony P, and Michelle Melton. “Major Differences: Why Undergraduate Majors Matter.” Presidency Fall 2011: 30-33. Academic Search Premier. Web. 31 Jan. 2012. The authors, Director of Georgetown University Center, Education and the Workforce and a research assistant, use information from their own school and statistics of wages of college graduates. They are credible because they add depth to the argument of what major a person decides on and how that decision effects their salary in the future. They discuss how not all degrees hold the same economic value and encourage students to not only think if college is for them, but what major is best for their future. Cohn, D’Vera. “Is College Worth it?” Pew Research Center. N.p., 16 May 2011. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. <http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/05/15/is-college-worth-it/>. This source is from the Pew Research Center, in other words a place
dedicated to finding facts. This source is credible because it is not opinionated and it is a broad survey of over 2000 people. This source also covers both sides of the argument. There are statistics that add to my argument and help to provide a counter argument for what is cited by Carnevale and Melton state in a separate source. The counter argument provided by this allows me to make my argument stronger and more concrete. Making Headlines Since The ‘70s: Is College Worth It?. National Public Radio. 18 June 2011. http://www.npr.org/2011/06/18/137257390/making-headlines-since-the-70s-is-college-worth-it. Web. Transcript. 23 Jan. 2012. This broadcast/article is a credible source because it is an unbiased source. NPR (National Public Radio) broadcasts to all demographics and is unbiased in its broadcasts. The staff writers point out how most people take the worst cases of college graduates and use them to stereotype all of them, when that is not the case. They take a logical viewpoint on the issue and show that when the recession ends things will go back to normal. This source is in agreement with the Pew source because both state that college is rather expensive and may not be for everyone.