In her article “College Is a Waste of Time and Money”, Caroline Bird attempts to pursued her readers that colleges are overflowing with students who don”t belong there. Her article first appeared in Psychology Today (May 1975). Since this material is outdated, I find it hard to believe that most of the responses by students and parents quoted in the article still hold true. The author has set out to pursue the readers that college is a bad and unnecessary choice for today”s youth. Yet the author holds a bachelors and a masters degree from two different universities.
I would think that if she thought college was really a bad choice and a waste of time and money, she would not have gone back to get her masters degree. I am a college student myself and there were only two things in the whole article that I was in agreement with. One was that colleges try to market themselves. The other was her paragraph on how Americans are looking less and less for great paying jobs and are looking more for job that they like doing. This unfortunately is also a contradiction to her piece of writing, because college prepares, and helps you get a job that you will enjoy.
Furthermore, the author”s main ideas were not well thought out or well supported. An example of this might be her money investment idea. She implies that if an eighteen year old invested his/hers college tuition money in a bank, and kept it there till he/she was sixty-four, they would be twice as rich as those who go to school, graduate and work in their field of study. What she fails to mention is that while their money is gathering interest, it can not be touched till their sixty-four, and in the mean time they have to be making a living in another job which they probably hate doing.
Overall, Bird”s attempt to pursue her readers that college is a waste of time did not work on me. Students are in colleges because they are told to, or because they still want to be financially depend on their parents and not have to worry about growing up to face the real world. The author in her article writes such ideas. Furthermore, since colleges became a big industry in the 60″s, and now the number of people attending has fallen, colleges use marketing skills to bring more students in. They try to make college sound as easy as possible to make more people register.
Students, once in college are not happy and drop out, or just hang out and finish just because they think it is the right thing to do. The author feels that students are sad because they are unwanted young adults. Since the world is overpopulated, we stick the eighteen-year-olds in colleges to temporarily get rid of them. We also fool ourselves into believing that these actions are good for them. Most of these unwanted young adults eventually learn to like it, and those that don”t drop out. The conservative Carneigie Commission estimated that five to thirty percent of students are in
College reluctantly. Also buy giving figures of some surveys that students took, the author states that students think education is less and less important. Parents believe their kids are too young and immature to make a decision by them selves, therefore they pressure their kids into attending college believing it is the best thing for them. The author does not agree with these actions and thinks that students should decide for themselves whether or not they want to continue their education. If students feel that college is not for them, they should not stay there just because somebody expects them to.
Furthermore, she states that if everyone got a higher education everybody would be on the same intellectual level, and there would be no difference in people. Some say that college is the greatest investment one can make. The author argues this point by giving examples of investments that greatly outweigh the average income of a graduate. If for example a student were to take his money for a four-year college, and put it in a savings account, by the age of sixty-four he would have twice as much money then if he were to graduate and earn a living with the help of his degree.
Another example, which she gives, is based on a supposed Princeton student who liked fixing cars. The student could have put his college money in a bank, and go work for a mechanics shop. And as he was learning all the necessary skills, the money would be gathering interest. In ten years, he would have enough to buy out his boss, and start his own business. Afterwards she states that, although all these scenarios look good on paper, it is hard to put a dollar value on education. Next, the author talks about status, and that this is what attracts some to colleges.
Most students that graduate do not necessarily make more money than those without a degree. She states that most people do not go to college for the money but for a career and a job which they will like doing. She gives an example of a guy named Jerry Darring, who quit his well paying family operated job to go back to college and get a degree which will help to prepare him for a less paying job which he will like to do. Most college students, when talking about getting a good job after they graduate, mean a job that will be pleasant for them.
This sort of phenomenon is called “psychic income. ” Most jobs, which these graduates will want to be employed in, are scares though. The amount of students in law school studying to be layers is twice as much as is needed. On top of that, graduates might not even work in the same field as they were studying for. Teachers, Engineers, and others were interviewed by the author, and said that they rarely use the stuff that they learned in college. Some also reported that they perform jobs that bear very little to none resemblance of a job which they were preparing for in school.
The key that opens a door full of jobs is what a college diploma used to be. Now that attendance in colleges has doubled, a diploma can not even guarantee a job. The author then goes on to identify false statements about college effects on people. She states that colleges do not make people “intelligent, ambitious, happy, or liberal. It is the other way around. Intelligent, ambitious, happy, or liberal people are attracted to higher education in the first place (49). ” Next she talks about learning experience that change a student while he is in college.
That these experiences are not though by the college, but through jobs, friends, and time. While concluding her article, Caroline Bird says ” We ought to make it possible for these reluctant, unhappy students to find alternative ways of growing up, and more realistic preparation for the years ahead (49). ” In the whole article I have found only two specific points that I am able to agree with. One example is the author”s description of colleges trying to market their education. When I was a senior in my high school, a lot of colleges came to recruit us.
While talking to some selected recruiters, and asking them why I should pick their college to go to, they were giving me reasons which had nothing to do with getting a good education. A great football team, a huge recreation centers, and stores on campus, were some of the reason I had heard. The other point that I agree with is that Americans put more priority on jobs they like doing than the jobs income. Unfortunately there are far more things I do not agree with in Caroline Bird”s article. First of all, how can she write an article stating that college is a waste of time and money, if she herself is a graduate?
Not only that, she graduated with a masters degree. I would understand if she only had a bachelors, her argument could have been that as long as she started college, she should at least get her bachelors. But if college is such a waste of time and money why would she go on to get her masters degree. Furthermore, some points which she uses in her argument are not enough to pursued me. One example would be when she says “we fool ourselves into believing that we are sending them there for their own best interest. “(42) In my opinion this is true, true in the case that parents want a better and easier way of life for their kids.
My parents send me to college so that I could make more money doing an easier job than they have to do, because they lack a college diploma. She feels that eighteen-year-olds should make their own choice whether to go to college or not. I think that when a person is eighteen, they are too young to make their own decisions. I know this from my own experience. If I had a freedom of choice when I was eighteen, I would not be writing this critique, because I would not be in college. But now that I have grown up and did some thinking I want to stay and get my degree.
I feel that kids should at least try college, learn and see a couple of things and then decide whether they should stay or go. Generally, parents without a college education are the ones who put the most emphasis on their kids going to college and making something of themselves, in order to have a better life then they had. The author then goes on to challenge her own ideas by saying that college does prepare you for a job that you actually might like doing, and that is what most Americans want. So then would not college be a good choice for most Americans?
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