College tunnel-vision shrinks student opportunities

March 17, 2015

As college tuition continues to climb, many have begun to question the importance of a college education. These critics often blanket college as a whole as ‘just a degree’. However, students should remember that college is a broad term that includes numerous opportunities for academic and personal growth.

Colleges have long been known as the forefront of new and creative ideas, of progressivism and of broadening horizons. Colleges have subjects that students largely find inaccessible without attending, such as gender studies, art history, and the classics. Without a basic knowledge of true economics, political science, and English, any entrepreneurial skills already possessed will be inevitably weakened by a lack of familiarity with communicating on the college level. Successful employees and more importantly successful citizens should learn the basics of human thought and history before attempting to carve the next chapter of it.

Unfailingly, critics argue many influential people achieved success without attending college. Many cite Steve Jobs as a prime example of an accomplished executive without a college degree. While Jobs’s rare innate skills allowed him to succeed without completing college, Jobs credited many of his successes at Apple to lessons he learned at Reed College, and only stopped attending because of the costs of the college. In much the same way that not everyone gets scouted as model before college, not everyone instantly attains entrepreneurial success without college.

Students should also realize not every college experience is the same. Private or public? Liberal arts or career-focused? Technical school or a four-year university? Maybe even a military academy? “College” contains more possibilities than just ‘four year public in-state schools’; students should expand their horizons beyond just A&M and UT and should focus on the college type that fits their specific educational interests.

While not everyone must attend college, everyone should at least consider its unique place as the center of modern academic growth before dismissing it entirely as a ‘waste of time’.

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