The negatives and positives of college have been debated for a while now. While some say higher education is important, their detractors say it is a waste of time and money. Their arguments are something along these lines:
I don’t need to know about the Peloponnesian War, study Beowulf or Chaucer, engage Descartes or Plato.
I just need a technical college that will teach me about computers or mechanics.
College is too much money. I don’t want to graduate owing a bunch of money in student loans.
We have the internet now so I can find anything on Bing or Google.
While these are valid arguments, they all have one major thing in error. They establish higher education as an information system that is focused on making more money. What I mean by this is that using their arguments you can see that they think a college education is all about gaining information (that they will never use) and the ability to end their life making the most money as possible. They consider the fact that college costs a lot of money as a negative to their overall earning potential. So let me now refute their arguments and show the value of higher education and the dangers of not having one.
- College is more than an information factory. Those who earn their bachelor’s degree and beyond should not only be informed but trained to think properly. They should use critical thinking and avoid logical fallacies in their thought process. This purpose is the thrust behind writing papers in college. It is more than reading books and memorizing facts. It is learning about life and the reality of the world around us. It makes us better at our jobs when we understand how the world works, but it also allows us to have a proper understanding in regards to our everyday lives.
- College is too expensive and should only be utilized if it makes me more money. The problem with this line of thought is that it shows the reductionist thinking of Americans today. Everything has become about money even though we live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. It also displays the erroneous thinking and lack of education in the American public which exhibits why we have so many political problems. Humans are emotional and irrational by nature. It is through the higher education process that we learn to think in a logical and informed manner. However, many of the political issues that we see tearing our county apart today are from those on both sides of the political aisle that are not informed or are thinking irrationally.
- Philosophy, Religion, and History are useless. It was the philosophers of Ancient Greece and Rome who started schools into thinking about the nature of the world and ethics. It was the study of ancient Greek Philosophers which led the Arab Muslims to engage in mathematics. It was Medieval Christianity which was responsible for creating the University to study ethics, the nature of reality and God, and justice. It was John Calvin (a reformed theologian) who originated the public school system. While some deem religion and philosophy an unnecessary thing, they have created the education system and continue to further the advances of humanity into uncharted frontiers.
However, if you want to focus on financials, then note that most college graduates make far more than non-college graduates meaning that the expense of a student loan is far less than the cost of making less than $40,000.00 a year. Thus, having a higher education not only helps humanity advance technologically and economically, but also socially, politically, and even spiritually.