Is College worth it?

Scott Mullins
English 2010
Maryanne H Burgoyne
February 21, 2012
Is College Worth It?
Does it really pay off when it’s all said and done?
Is College Worth It?
Does it really pay off when it’s all said and done?
Why go to College? I mean is it really worth it? Students spend days and nights studying and
worrying about grades, life, debt, and everything after they’re done with college. So the question
remains! what’s the point, what do we really learn in the end? Students all believe in the life or the hope
in the life that you achieve after college. The point of going to school is the better job, the better career,
and the possibility of that all so promising better salary. I don’t know what everyone else thinks, but
everything about going to school creates the opportunity we all want. Well, maybe not all of us want
college, but me for sure college was the only path that would give me the opportunity that I need to
achieve what I want in life. The price you pay and the degree you earn doesn’t always get you what you
want. I believe you will never find out unless you try. I have read a few different articles that will try to
sway you one way or the other, but when it comes down to it I am certain more often than not college
opens the doorway to the future.
“Two Years Are Better Than Four”- Liz Addison
When you have no idea where or how to even start
How is it now days for a kid or even a middle-aged adult to try to figure out college? I mean with
the demands in careers changing. The requirement for a College degree is becoming more and more of a
must, rather than an option. Liz Addison writes an essay for the New York Times that was published in
September of 2007. It was in response to an opinion piece written by Rick Perlstein’s What’s the Matter
with College? In her essay Ms. Addison argues the fact that Mr. Perlstein has never set foot in an
American Community College. That if he had, he would realize the philosophy for the community college
is the place to begin, just begin. All too often are students unaware of where to go, how to afford, and is
it even possible. Community colleges give a people, young, and old, the ability to believe it is possible
that achieving a degree can and will happen with the right start. It opens the door to reality of
possibilities in what may happen or may come for a student. With so many employers requiring at least
a two-year degree now days, why not start at the beginning? College in itself is very overwhelming, the
cost, the studying, the classes, and even the unknown possibility of failure can all be so discouraging.
The thing about a community college today is, as Ms. Addison states you go in with the understanding
that you are a rookie and that you will grow up a little bit after each class. For someone to say that
college no longer holds importance is crazy, flat out crazy. If there were ever a time to go to college it is
now. College is the key to a doorway that you may never be able to open. A Community College is the
best place to start and find out where that key may take you when it’s all said and done. If it’s continuing
that education then great; if it’s just enough to start slow and finish with the 2 years and decide from
there. Then well, at least you earned something and proved something. There’s not a person that can
take that away from you either.
Figure 1 above shows the magnitude of students debt today
“Are Colleges worth the Price of Admission”- Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus
Can you really afford it, or is the student loan worth it
Today’s higher education is a $420 billion dollar industry, who can afford it? Where is all this
money really going? Why does it cost so much money to pay for my degree, which I will never pay off
anyway? I think we ask ourselves all of these types of questions. When it comes to deciding on if we are
going to go to College or not. Students should be going to school to learn to become better citizens in
the world today. This is not what college should be about. We should all want to achieve a higher
education and continue to learn as much as possible for as long as possible. College is becoming an
expense that some just don’t want to take on. The world is not getting any cheaper. It’s certainly not
slowing down any, that’s for sure. So why should our education? Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus
the authors of Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids- and What
We Can Do About It, they say tuition charges at both public and private colleges have more than
doubled- (in real dollars)- compared with a generation ago. Why? Why it is a student must take out a
tremendous amount of student loans just to get a degree. With so many businesses requiring them now
days, is that even fair? Is it fair to say you can’t work here or have this type of position until you have a 4
year degree, and have spent thousands of dollars getting it. Even after the money is spent will you ever
make that up? I personally know of 4 different people in my life with $50,000 in student loans that will
be there for 30 years. So when they are grandparents or when they finally win the lottery the loans will
be paid in full. This can’t be right and this is part of the reason so many students today fail to even start
school. Who can afford it? Hacker and Dreifus must have done a ton of research leading up to their
book being published looking into why college is so expensive and is there a way around it. Should a
president of a college really receive a $1 million salary? Is that position really worth all that money? So
many other options become available for students to research when thinking about college. The two
Authors Hacker and Dreifus bring up many different options for students to research. College should be
a cultural journey, an intellectual expedition, a voyage confronting new ideas and information. This is
something students want: The desire to achieve education, not the hindering thought of the expense. In
the end we have to make higher education available to all, and not just the wealthy. This is not what our
country needs. We need educated bright adults leading us all into our future.
Why Do You Think They’re Called For-Profit Colleges?- Kevin Carey
Huge student loans and a meaningless degree
I am a Phoenix! We’ve all heard it, or seen it on TV. This is the topic of many discussions today.
At the University of Phoenix you can earn a Master’s degree and become a Phoenix. A Master’s degree
is great no matter where it’s from, no matter how it’s achieved. Is this really true of the University of
Phoenix or any other of the new for-profit colleges? I think its sad to see so many people spend so much
money and time just to hear “Yes, but your degree is from the University of Phoenix.” This happens all
too often, especially at the companies that demand a degree. Why does it make a difference? Kevin
Carey writes an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. He talks a lot about the schools giving up
education at an affordable price that can be achieved more conveniently for the average person today.
Carey says; “but what’s the point?” If your employer doesn’t recognize this as a valid degree then is it
really a degree? There are so many questions about these for-profit schools being left unanswered. Even
with the schools like University of Phoenix, where is the money all going? I can’t be sure it’s really going
back into the students having a credible and valuable degree. This is for sure the only University that a
professional NFL sports stadium is named by. Meaning they are now the corporate sponsor, it is
rumored this sponsorship cost over $150 million for 20 years. How is it, a school promising these
students a fair degree, could be able spend that type of money, and not place those funds back into the
education for the students. I believe this has to be one of the more frustrating things with school today.
I believe all of us want a degree that we are all going to school for a reason, but to find out that your
degree is not as good enough because you went to this school or that school. Well, it’s just wrong. It
shouldn’t matter where I went to school. It should only matter that the students going put in the time,
the effort, and the dedication to achieve higher learning. The degree a student receives should be
valued the same no matter where you get it from. So if you’re a Phoenix you should be proud to say it,
and not discredited due to the degree not being for the university we all think it supposed to be from.
The University of Phoenix needs to focus on the students’ education, and not the name of the school. I
just don’t see how spend millions to have your name on a stadium is helping the students or their
Blue-Collar Brilliance- Mike Rose
Who needs school anyway
Mike Rose a professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies is well
known for his writing on issues of literacy. Rose wrote an article that appeared in 2009 in the American
Scholar, a magazine published by the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The article was about a study that he had
been doing for an 8 year period about the blue collar worker. In this article Rose states his position that
the worker has not really learned anything, they have only developed a mindless process through
cognition that is learned daily overtime and becomes repetitive. I do not, however, believe this. Any
employee that starts at a company has to learn a skill, “learn the job” so to speak. The person must
retain that knowledge and adapt to the newer changing times of innovation. I believe with any job you
do, that things change over time. With new technologies that are being developed they must be learned
or you will fail to adapt and lose your position within that job. If you are able to adapt and even think of
new ideas and new ways to make things better you are valued as an employee. These are the employees
that are looked at for promotions. It used to be if you were great at your job and you performed well
you would be the one with the promotion. This is not the case anymore, not lately anyway. The times
have changed where you must have a degree to seek that advancement as it should be in most
companies anyway. You still must be able to perform in your role as an employee, then with that and
your degree there should be no problem achieving the results you are looking for.
The real question that we are trying to find out is: is college worth it? I can only say it’s
expensive, a lot of money is being wasted and not being put back into the education for the students by
the schools and the government. So is college worth it? Yes! You may not get the job or career you
want. It may lead you on an entirely different path all together. A path that you would never realize
unless you actually went to college. You may be paying off student loans for what feels like your entire
life, but yes, college is worth it. I believe learning is worth it, we should never stop educating ourselves. I
have always been told learning is the key. It’s true; it’s the key to the opportunity or door you want. You
will never open that door without the key. I do believe our government is failing our students and not
making schooling more affordable or more attainable for all of society. It’s scary not knowing what to do
or where to go. It’s a commitment to finding out what you can become, and that is also scary.
Something has to change we have to make higher education a possibility for all and not for the wealthy.
A student shouldn’t be faced with the piles of debt because they wanted to better themselves and
achieve an education. We need less grants, or easier access to know what they are and how they help.
As of today, finding or being accepted for a grant to help pay for school is like finding a needle in the
haystack. Help us, government, and we will help you right back. We all want the degree-meaningless or
not-we all want it. So make it affordable, make it mean the same no matter what degree or where it’s
from, but most of all make college worth it.
Annotated Bibliography
Scott Mullins
Liz Addison. New York Times Magazine college essay contest runner up Sep 26, 2007 Two Years are
Better Than Four
Addison argues the fact in her essay that Community College is a place to begin, just begin. This
is an argument against what Rick Perlstein’s opinion piece “What’ the matter with College?” in
which he argues that universities no longer matter as much as they once did. Addison states in
her essay that she began in a community and it has helped her branch out, becoming a far
better student then she could have ever been. Liz believes community college to be the
affordable place of accessible hope for the future.
I do believe this will aid in my proposal paper. She brings up a very good point across the need
to attend a 4 year school right away. I see her point of view on college being important and
students need to start in one of the thousands of community colleges across the country.
Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus. Are Colleges worth the Price of Admission Jul, 2010 Higher
education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids.
Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus write about the cost of higher education being a $420 billion
industry immune from scrutiny and in need of reform. Why is it we need over paid school
presidents and faculty, can’t they do the job without the million dollar contract or multimillion
dollar facilities for the sports teams. How is this money not being reinvested back into education
for the students? Hacker and Dreifus bring up many great points exploiting colleges for their lack
of educating our children today.
This article will help with my proposal paper. They bring up many different points along the way,
with the troubles or issues with College in America. I believe with the factual information they
provide will help with my opinion in writing this proposal.
Kevin Carey. Chronicle of Higher Education July 25, 2010. Why Do You Think They’re Called For-Profit
Carey brings up in this article many great points surrounding the for-profit colleges such as the
University of Phoenix. This school alone gives students the ability to earn what are said to be
meaningless degrees at a cost of huge student loans. I think Carey brings up many great points
of how for-profit schools make the thought of the degree appealing at a price.
I believe yes a degree is a degree, but if you r employer doesn’t look at it like that and believe
that it is in fact a valid degree; because of the for-profit schools status as an actual University.
Then what good is it other than a huge pile of loans
Mike Rose. Blue-Collar Brilliance 2009 American Scholar
Rose began a study 8 years before on the thought processes involved in the Blue Collar worker.
He states this is mindless thought process learned over time. This is everyday cognition, that
blue collar workers master their positions thru repetition not thru knowledge. Rose talks about
the years his mother spent as a waitress, working and maneuvering thru daily life and the tables
she waited on. The 33 years his uncle put in at General Motors, working the line to supervising
the paint and body department. They didn’t use school to get where they were in life. They
achieved their positions in life with diligent hard every day work. They learned the skills through
daily repetition.
Although this education he sates is mindless and cognitive this may be hard to relate it to my
process report and correlating them together. I see his point of view that even without the
correct education from college, a blue collar line employee with nothing more than an 8th grade
education can work his way up to the department supervisor. Let’s then ask how often does this
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