The College Debate

9 Cons:
1. False sense of security (socially and academically)
2. There really is no guarantee, of anything once you graduate
3. Elitism
4. Can be a crap shoot if you lack in resources, or you don’t know what to do once you get there
5. Expensive
6. Depending on the institution…rigid
8. Education is worth it….but the typical animal house stuff…maybe not
9. May be wasting you’re time if not focused…

Let’s Elaborate on the Cons…shall we?


As a product of the cursed class of 2009, I understand that I am biased. And confused. But despite these flaws, I am still entitled to an opinion, and having a romantic and deluded understanding of college can be both deadly and expensive. But I should be clear on one point though: I AM NOT SAYING PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GO TO COLLEGE. That would be quite unfair of me to spit in the face of an institution that has given me more opportunities now than ever before, recession issues aside. But I am saying that college is not the end all and be all, the golden ticket to getting a job or having a career. And the stats and facts that they don’t want you to see, illuminates my argument and frustration with the whole issue.

It is a commonly cited fact that the average student debt out of college is $21,000. Whether in the context of the present, gloomy recession or the golden age of the mid and early 90’s… that is a large amount of money…and if you speak with many individuals you will find that they have much more than $21,000 dollars in debt. As a recent college graduate and added statistic to the millions of people who owe someone money since funding their college education…I truly don’t think that the hype around college is worth it, and only ends up bruising your ego and your wallet. In relation to job worthiness, whether you have a college degree or not, should not be the absolute factor in determining if you are capable of performing well on a job. It should help…but it should not be the only factor.
Trust me, I have met many an incompetent person at college. They being able to obtain a degree…to some degree…does not mean much. Some people use their college education as a crutch…to make up for the fact that they have no personality, no job experience, and no motivation to grind and work themselves up from the bottom like many people who were not fortunate enough to attend college.

Oh yes, I can be harsh, bitter and dramatic. But going to college is a lot more complicated then people make it seem. Its not just simply getting an education, you must also be educated on how to use it to better your life…because at the end of the day if you do not know what to do with your degree once you have earned it…you might as well throw it in the trash! LITERALLY THROW IT IN THE TRASH!

This topic is too big to solve with one article…in this series I am going to explore the reasons why college is overrated…and the rat race to get into college has in some ways devalued other forms of education…which is turn is very, very, problematic.

Next: “College, the Pipe Dream”


5 Reasons why College is Important

1) Many jobs require applicants to have at least a B.A. or B.S. It’s well worth schooling to apply for a decent job.

A Bachelor’s degree is equivalent to a high school degree and in this competitive economy, the degree matters. I went to Academic Advising after a particularly rough time and asked if she could give me a good reason why I was in college besides to learn to read and write. She told me: to get the paper. That unsatisfactory answer left me even more flustered – to get a diploma as a validation of whether I could think was expensive. So far, I did not think that learning about whether Freudian theory could explain Wuthering Heights was worth the paper. She told me that college was to learn how to write and write well, to formulate opinions and ask relevant questions. But four years in college definitely seems long to learn how to write and ask questions. Now, that I’ve graduated, and applying for jobs many require a minimum of a B.A. or B.S. Regardless of whether Freud could be applied to 19th century literature, boy am I glad to have gone to college!

2) College can broaden your horizons

College is a centralized location in which one is exposed to international community, global issues, informative seminars, and organizations that you’ve probably never heard of or thought you would join. Issues that you didn’t think were relevant before are suddenly important. In Hawaii, neither my family nor my friends talked about politics. When I went to college, suddenly everyone was talking about red states and blue states, left wing and right wing. If I didn’t go to college, I probably would not have been exposed to people that challenged me to stay informed.

3) College gives you a social network

Teachers are there to give you support and advice. Regardless of whether they have professional advice in an area, they may have contacts. A friend of mine was a philosophy major and became a quantitative analyst at a financial firm because of a connection form his philosophy professor. If they don’t’ have contacts, they can serve as recommenders. Furthermore, the friends that you make can become friends for life. Of course you can make friends after college, but during that crucial phase of adolescence, being surrounded by people who are in the same situation as you, relatively around the same age, can truly effect your viewpoints. As an impressionable young woman, I learned the most from my close friends, both American and International alike. Regardless of whether they were describing the three different stereotypes of black people to the religious influence of Zimbabwe’s constitution, they were able to offer different ideas and alternatives to issues at hand. Furthermore, you can make contacts with alumni. There are many alumni who are willing to talk to you if not outright give you a job (which would be a dream).

4) College gives you skills

Again, it is relative but depending on your interests and amount of work you put into it you are guaranteed to learn the basics of how to write, read, research, make a hypothesis and test it, make and present a study, negotiate, and learn social skills. Many argue that no one in the “real world” writes academically, however, having the basic skills to write logically and coherently, and eloquently will go a long way. College gave me the skills to utilize words effectively, how to fit theories into models, and how to argue my point. Furthermore, although some may argue that you don’t learn practical lessons in college, college was a big training camp on social lessons. If the class isn’t that difficult, should you still go to office hours to appear interested to say the least? If the class is difficult, should your risk the teacher thinking that you are incapable of completing the work if you go in for help too many times. Despite the saying that you can never ask too many questions or go in the office, I have learned that is not the case. There is still politics in navigating through the academic world. In addition, you learn how to manage your time and make decisions. At home, you have your parents to lord over you. But in college, you can choose to go to a party, study, sleep, or do something else. It is up to you to decide if you are only sleeping 3-4 hours a night and getting stomach pains, whether you should just sleep even if you can’t afford to.

5) College has resources

Many colleges have help centers, such as Math lab, Reading lab, Writing lab, and Library research. Universities also have a Career Development Office that may offer grants and scholarships. Scholarships through the school allowed me to travel to Seattle and Wisconsin for Alternative Break trips, to New York and Los Angeles for internships, and to London and a theater conservatory for my off campus study. With school funding, I was able to start a magazine on campus and create work on campus for writers and photographers. I know many friends who were able to secure funding and fulfill projects, research abroad, and do internships. Sooooooo…… Am I glad I went? It took me off the island and has given me a satisfaction when filling out employment that says yes I graduated from college. For those in the academic world who know Grinnell and don’t mistake it for Cornell, I’m happy.

– Tiffany A.

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