College Isn't for Everyone: Critical Essay

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In the article ‘College Isn’t for Everybody, and It’s a Scandal that We Think It Is’, the author, Thomas Reeves, argues about the issues regarding under-preparedness and the consequences of it when going to college. Reeves talks about the declining ACT scores nationwide over the years, as well as the millions of dollars that are being spent on remedial education. He addresses the fact that in a few places such as Michigan, Colorado, Texas, and New York academic tests have been modified or tossed out because of low scores. He has taken data from a tenth-grade math test in Wisconsin and it showed that whites had a proficiency of 76 percent, while every other race was relatively very low compared to whites. He emphasizes that the educational process, students, and professors are all also being hurt by under-preparedness. He ends his article by asking why not put a billboard of the nineteen people doing skilled labor instead of in college studying something.

I agree with Thomas Reeves as he makes a few valid points about going to college, but I disagree with him because he doesn’t believe that everyone should go and try it out. An underprepared student can cause problems as they don't have the necessary skill level that's required in a class that they're taking. Not having a sufficient skill level in a subject will only drag the student down and cause them to fall behind in their classes. It can make them drop their class and go into another, less rigorous one, also known as a remedial class, where they have to learn the necessary skills needed for a regular class that they could've originally taken. However, it is not always the student's fault that they are underprepared as their high school could've helped to aid in that by not helping them prepare for the expectations about college. Another reason why a student could be underprepared is because of their financial issues or the fact that they aren’t challenging themselves to learn more. Even if underprepared, a student should still have the opportunity to go to college as they can always find a way to get help in their classes from tutors or a learning assistance center. Not only are students able to get help in their classes, but it also gives them a way to expand their knowledge and grow independently. Likewise, everyone deserves a chance to go to college as they are capable and because they don't know what would happen if they didn't go. In the article ‘Multiplying the Benefits of College for Everybody’, Jay Mattews talks about how the City University of New York (CUNY) experiment made a few overwhelming results after letting everyone who graduated from a New York High School, guaranteed admission to CUNY. A few of those results were unexpected, for example, as at least 50% of disadvantaged women received a bachelor's degree that helped them to get a good-paying job. The women who went to college had a high average bonus which not only benefited them but the local economies where they spent their money. Not only did women have high bonuses, but they were also influential to their kids, as they also went to college to pursue higher education.

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On the other hand, Reeves’ suggestion that everyone shouldn’t go to college is understandable to me. Being able to take a remedial class doesn't mean you're not ready for college, it just helps prepare you. I had a friend in high school that came to the U.S. from China and he was someone who didn't know much English. He was placed in an English class that was meant for those who weren't sufficient at the language. In the first few weeks, he was not interested in the class, so he put little to no effort into learning and found no use in learning English proficiently. He found it useless to learn because he wasn't thinking about going to college, but going back home to China after graduating from high school. However, in the long run, by graduation, he ended up being placed in a regular English class and was able to get a good grade because he tried his hardest. He was both inspired and prepared that he decided to go to college for a medical degree before going back home. Thus, it is important to factor in remedial classes as it could help someone decide whether college is necessary or beneficial to them.

Concluding, there are some points that I agree with Reeves, but there are also some that I disagree with. Having someone else decide whether you go to college or not is stripping you of your right on the decisions about your life and it’s unfair. It's normal if someone doesn't want to go to college as they don't think it will benefit or suit them. However, in the end, it is everyone’s own decision as to whether or not they want to go to college or find an alternative that suits them.

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College Isn’t for Everyone: Critical Essay. (2023, September 19). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
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