Posted: March 18th, 2023
It’s become a widely recognized fact. College is expensive, and saddles students with lifelong debts. Moreover, observation shows that people learn very little in college and that knowledge and talent in a field may be unrelated to the degrees that one has. There’s a simple solution to this problem: the youth of this nation should refuse to go to colleges where they will be saddled with debt and useless information. Of course, many people would complain that without going to college, one is not qualified for jobs in the real world. It is true that many jobs will not hire people who go to school, but this does not make the unschooled less qualified. If everyone refused to go to school, then corporations would simply have to accept new standards for hiring, such as talent. It is my argument that college is not worth the price and people should not pursue a college education unless they have plenty of money to spare, don’t care about overthrowing the unjust system, and don’t actually have the talent to compete in an open (not degree-based) market.
The problem here is that college is exceedingly expensive, so that a good private university can cost more per year than the average American family earns annually. Even public universities may be prohibitively costly. Because the system costs so much, many people cannot afford to go to school. “A new report on the nation’s universities warns that the pressures of growing enrollment, rising tuition, and declining funding have put campuses on a dangerous financial course and threaten to exclude many students from higher education.” (“Colleges’ failure…”) This means that having a college degree is not a sign of academic ability, but merely evidence of economic ability to afford the school. Additionally, those who do go will usually be saddled with inordinate debt. Student loan repayment alone can cost as much as many lower-income individuals make monthly. “Monthly payments amounted to nearly $1,000” (“Rising tuition…”) in many cases. Even the government and scholarship organizations can’t help the fact that college is so expensive that it either excludes worthy individuals or places lifetime burdens on the very young. “the more we pump out there, they’ll raise the price to whatever they think the market will bear,” said Rep. William F. Goodling (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.” (“Rising tuition…”)
It is my opinion that the only answer to this problem is for the youth of the nation to all draw together and refuse to attend college on the basis that it is socially oppressive to the poor and useless to all. Last week I sat down with all of my friends in school, and asked them why they attended school. None of them were there because they liked the classes or learning. All of them were there so they could get a degree that would let them do what they wanted in life. For example, Matt cannot be a lawyer without first getting a prelaw degree, even though he says he is learning nothing. Courtney, who is a computer science major, says she knows everything she needs to know about computers (or can learn it online), but she wants to get her degree so she can get a good job. Jojo, in computer engineering, agrees. Even Roxie, who is a psychology major, says she doesn’t really feel like school prepares her at all for her future work, and wishes she could skip ahead to studying the actual work of child therapy. If we were not going to school, we could have apprenticeship programs that taught us what we really want to know about our professions instead of learning pointless “liberal education” material. No computer science major needs to understand British Literature, just like an art major doesn’t really need to understand calculus or advanced biology. While I am sure there are some students here who need everything they are learning, or enjoy learning it, most of us got our general education out of the way years ago with high school and television.
So… If none of us are learning anything, why are we going? I say that college is a waste of time and money, but Matt says it’s absolutely necessary. Why? Because without going to college you can’t get a good job in this society. Even the newspapers recognize it and speak of the “increasing necessity of a college degree in the nation’s labor market.” (“College’s failure…”) College is very important in this society, because without a college degree you can’t get a “real” job. The best argument against the idea of everybody just walking away from the schools is that then those people who walk away won’t be able to find good paying jobs. It may be worth while to waste four years of one’s life and tens of thousands of dollars, and to be saddled with lifelong debt, if it means you have a scrap of paper that allows you to get a better job. I have one acquaintance from an online chat room (bookofcxs) who works for a “writing and research” company that writes sample term papers for college students. She says college is absolutely necessary, because without a degree talent and knowledge mean nothing. She has written doctoral dissertations for psychologists, educators, and even preachers — all without ever getting even an associates degree. She says that every day she tries to figure out how to get enough money to go back to school and get a degree, because without it she cannot get any (legitimate) job better than telemarketing or working at Walmart… or, in her case, writing other people’s term papers. Even if college is such a classicist arrangement that rich, untalented people can buy their way through all their years and all their classes while poor, talented people can’t even afford to take classes — even if that is true, that doesn’t mean that if you have the opportunity to be the rich, stupid, and lucky person that you shouldn’t take it.
So the opposition would say that college was worthwhile, because it is the only way to get ahead in life. However, I would argue that if even the majority of youth were to agree to boycott the college system and put knowledge and talent and ability ahead of the “official sanction” of a college degree, then corporations would have to follow suit. If all of the smart and talented youth didn’t have college degrees, they might be able to change the expectations which society places on youth. If higher education stopped being used as a way to pass on economic privilege or to screen candidates for jobs that didn’t really require it, and started being used to educate just those who really needed higher education (like future teachers), then both youth in general and the schools themselves would be better off. Everyone should choose to go only to the sort of schooling necessary for the jobs they want, and professions should start offering ways to learn the job without going through general education in the higher education system.
I have drafted this essay according to a problem-solution-complication-resolution organization. This is different than some of my other essays because it is more organized. First I discussed the problem of rising college costs, and then I came up with the solution to avoid going to college. After the solution, I brought up complications, which were that if people don’t go to college they can’t get work. The resolution was that college should be both avoided and socially discredited. This organization gave me four very specific points to make, plus an introduction and conclusion. This draft was very organized, and also somewhat satirical. Both traits are different than my previous work.
Colleges’ Failure to Resolve Funding May Bar Millions From Attending, Study Finds…” The Washington Post Company Jun 18, 1997.
Rising Tuitions Fill Loan Firm Coffers; Constellation of Businesses Grows Around Education Financing Series: DOLLARS AND DIPLOMAS; MAKING MONEY ON THE HIGH COST OF COLLEGE Series Number: 1/3″ The Washington Post Company Oct 27, 1997.
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