College Is Important to Have a High Income: Essay

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It is hard to imagine an education system that tells students that they don’t need to go to college after graduating. It is emphasized from the start the importance of attending college after high school to receive higher education. Even so, both high school students and their parents are wondering if college is even worth the time, money, and effort of attending. Students are finding themselves in immense debt after finishing their years of education and ending up with almost nothing to show for it. Though today it may seem like a college degree is a requirement in order to be successful, more and more people are finding that the cost of college cannot compare to the possibilities that could be found by considering different paths for their future.

In 2011, Peter Thiel, one of the co-founders of PayPal, offered to pay each of the 24 winners for a new fellowship of $100,000 to not go to college in favor of developing business ideas instead (Wieder). Thiel believes that the traditional college environment does not involve ideas in students that could be thought of elsewhere, tackling the world. These ideas are the ones that could be used successfully to lead new excursions that would impact society and develop new companies and jobs for the future. The traditional college environment just does not provide opportunities to develop these ideas quickly. To add to this, college costs are rising, and “students today are taking on more debt and recently tightened bankruptcy laws make it more difficult to shake that debt” (Wieder) Factors like this complicate the decision to pursue a college degree even further. According to a 2011 report on the national survey of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older, 57% of Americans agree that colleges fail to give students good value for the money they have spent to attend and 75% of Americans say college is too expensive to afford (Pew).

When more than half of the adult population thinks attending college or a university is too expensive and not worth the investment, then there is a problem. There should be other options presented to students in high school that will encourage them to discover a future that does not require going to college. Supporting this claim is data from a think tank that addressed the issue of new entry-level wages for men and women leaving college. Surprisingly, though there is an emphasis on going to college in our society, college graduates now are earning less than they did ten years ago (Shierholz). Even now, “with unemployment expected to remain above 8% well into 2015, it will likely be many years before young college graduates- or any workers - see substantial wage growth” (Shierholz).

People don’t necessarily need to attend an institution of higher learning to learn how to accurately judge situations and act accordingly. Anyone can become an agent of change, change that is capable of producing meaningful advances in the world. A perfect example of this is the great minds of Silicon Valley who have made such major advances in the world of technology beyond a college education, this proves that a piece of paper with an official stamp can be seen as useless. People should not feel as if they need a degree to justify and demonstrate that they know how to think and act critically, this is an invaluable skill that can be learned outside of higher academia.

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An argument can be made against the increasing cost of tuition by pointing out that people can get financial aid to alleviate the burden of paying for school out of pocket or taking out student loans. The reality is that not everyone qualifies for financial aid and it is something that students need to apply for every semester with no real guarantee that tuition will be covered entirely. “..Congress may soon cut federal financial aid” (Leonhardt) is a warning stated from an article in The New York Times by author David Leonhardt, an M.I.T economist. This statement can be discouraging for students who depend on this kind of help to fund their years of education.

Michael Roth, The president of a liberal arts university suggests, “Post-secondary education should help students discover what they love to do..” This means someone will have to be in school for six or more years until they finally go into the workforce and start at an entry-level position. That means time and money are spent on finishing college to then only hope to find a job in the chosen career field.

Whether it’s from parents, teachers, or friends the constant pressure of going to college after high school is there, “Some people are hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclinations and natural bents, when they would rather be learning to build things or fix things.” (Crawford) College graduates are finding that their degree is landing them down a career path with mundane and meaningless work. Working in a cubicle for 30 or more years and then retiring does not sound very appealing to most, yet that’s the route that is guaranteed with a college degree. Careers with a clear purpose like plumbers, police officers, mechanics, etc. have clear representations of how they are contributing directly to society as opposed to someone who might be sitting in front of a computer monitor inputting mind-numbing information for a huge corporation. The opportunity to live a more enriched life through a more rewarding career path could very well be outside of college, Choosing college straight out of high school leaves many not only questioning their day-to-day job but with immense student debt.

With all this evidence supporting the lack of need for college learning, it is important to refer back to our society’s education system and focus on developing our young adults’ characters. “For a young person to succeed in the world, 61% say a good work ethic is extremely important and 51% say the same about knowing how to get along with people” (Pew). These traits and others can be developed outside of higher education and better prepare young adults for life in the real world. The cost of college cannot be compared to the opportunities that could be found elsewhere.

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College Is Important to Have a High Income: Essay. (2023, December 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from
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