Although deciding whether to attend college is beyond doubt not an easy choice, it should not escape mention that today, more than ever before, college education is no longer viewed as option or privilege, but rather a necessity (Baum & Kathleen, 2004). Not only are people in contemporary society raised and conditioned to believe that one needs college education to succeed in life, but the stiff competition for the few job openings available continue to inform the importance for individuals to seriously consider investing in college education. Through comparing and contrasting various dimensions and dynamics related to college education and its potential benefits, this paper purposes to demonstrate evidence that attending college is worth the investments made.
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First, it is known that investing in a good education surpasses any other investment that money can possibly buy due to the permanency of the investment. Money comes and goes, but education is for long-term once an individual makes the conscious decision to invest in knowledge, not mentioning that education pays the best interest (Baum & Kathleen, 2004). Consequently, it is advantageous to always invest in something that not only guarantees permanency over the long-term, but occasions premium results by virtue of the opportunities which it is capable of generating (Baum & Kathleen, 2004). This investment can only be achieved through getting good college education.
Second, research demonstrates that attending college not only make individuals more insightful, aware and enlightened, but provides them with coping strategies to enable them negotiate life’s challenges once they graduate from college (Baum & Kathleen, 2004). These insights, enlightenment, critical thinking skills, and coping strategies molded through an effective and efficient college education enables individuals to be economically productive and prosperous later in life. It is with this in mind that Zayed Alnayhan, a former president of the United Arab Emirates, once said that “…the real asset of any advanced nation is its people, especially the educated ones, and the prosperity and success of the people are measured by the standard of their education” (UAE Interact, n.d., para. 1).
Third, it is no longer a secret that individuals must have a good education base if they are to increase their chances of getting a descent job upon graduation. This assertion provided impetus for me to seriously consider getting a college education as I want to lead an independent and fulfilling life upon graduation. As observed by Baum & Kathleen (2004), “…higher levels of education are associated with higher earnings and…college is a prerequisite for a comfortable middle-class lifestyle” (p. 5). Consequently, not only is college education beneficial in terms of enhancing the probability to land a well-paying up-market job, but the exposure one gets in college enhances the development of various faculties of thought and emotion to enable the abstraction of ideas and anchoring them in real-life situations.
The potential benefits of investing in quality college education are unlimited. Research has demonstrated that college education curtails the probability for one to be dependent on society for support, implying that not only is college education beneficial for the individual concerned, but it acts as a triggering agent for society to be able to amass more resources for social and economic development. Indeed, President Obama is on record for urging high school students to expand their education by enrolling to pursue higher education for the reason that the future of this great nation depends on education (Jackson, 2011).
Lastly, on the benefits, it is a well known fact that college education enables individuals to develop values and behavioral orientations that are reflective of a sound and morally upright society. It has been noted by Baum & Kathleen that “…college graduates have lower smoking rates, more positive perceptions of personal health, and lower incarceration rates than individuals who have not graduated from college” (p. 7). In addition, college graduates are more likely than others to demonstrate higher levels of civic participation, volunteer work and other actions that are reflective of citizenship behavior. This therefore implies that college education also provide individuals and society with the correct trajectory towards achieving positive development.
The counter-arguments against college education are many and varied, but none, in my view, seems to hold enough ground to discourage people from making investments towards acquiring quality college education. For instance, there have been arguments that a strong academic background does not necessarily translate into overcoming financial barriers later in life, and that the tuition fees associated with college education are exorbitant (Baum & Kathleen, 2004; Cheever, 2005). But one can always argue that even though college education does not necessarily guarantee higher rewards later in life in terms of financial independence, it nevertheless significantly improves post-secondary opportunities of attaining financial independence and positive personal and career development. In the same vein, it can be argued that although tuition fees for attaining college education may be high in the short-term, the tangible and intangible benefits of the knowledge received from college education are unlimited.
Critics of college education have also argued that the engagement takes a lot of time to complete – time which could be used for other gainful purposes such as employment (Baum & Kathleen, 2004). However, this assertion cannot be further from the truth as the investments made in terms of time can always be recovered upon graduation by virtue of the fact that college graduates are more likely to get high-paying secure jobs than high school leavers. Lastly, there are those who argue that college life makes students to gravitate towards deviant life and character due to the level of independence granted to the students in college. This assertion, too, does not hold much water as independence comes with responsibility, and it should be the role of parents and teachers to steer these young minds into an independent life that puts a premium on responsibility. Overall, investing in quality college education seems the only way to go if the many challenges facing individuals and society in the 21st century are to be surmounted.
Baum, S., & Kathleen, P. (2004). The benefits of higher education for individuals and society. Web.
Jackson, D. (2011). Obama urges students to pursue higher education. Web.
UAE Interact. (n.d.). Web.