A College Education: What is its Purpose?



College education has been deemed as significant and necessary in the contemporary world that requires people that are skilled in specific areas for continuous developments and innovations. The American public and the world at large is split on the main point or purpose of a college education. The central question asked is whether people go to college mainly to develop and learn or to prepare them for future success. According to the Pew Research Center, an increased number of people believe that college is essential because it prepares people for future success in the current competitive advanced business world. Others think that college is expensive and does not achieve the primary purpose, which is to instill knowledge and prepare students for future success. Despite the differing views, the goal of a college education is to impart knowledge in specific areas, prepare people to work in the current world and provide an opportunity for people to be successful in life, financially and otherwise.


College education presents an opportunity to instill knowledge in specific areas that are required to develop the current advanced world. Most of the people that join college select a subject or course as their major, which they learn in preparation for their career. For instance, a person may decide to major in law to become a lawyer while another may focus on engineering to become an engineer. Apparently, college enables an individual to gain the needed knowledge and skills to operate in a selected working environment. According to Sylvan, Bedau, and O’Hara, acquiring college education or majoring in specific subjects provides an opportunity for an individual to learn about operations in that particular field such as the services that must be provided to the consumers to fulfill their needs. For instance, learning medicine will implement the needed knowledge to operate in the medical world that is associated with the treatment of patients. A college education helps instill expertise that allows people to understand a course intensely including the needed operations for success, which prepares a person’s career in the short and long-term. A fact is that there is an increased number of career paths that require specific degrees. Therefore, individuals might not be able to acquire a particular job that they are interested in if they graduate from a college with a degree that has limited applications. A college education must prepare students for their specific career paths in the current world that demands highly skilled people to work in the globalized work field with economic instability, increased competition, and information technology revolution.

The second purpose of college education is to prepare people to work in the current world by instilling general skills and knowledge. Apart from academic achievement, one other ideal reason to attend college among students is the benefit of expanding horizons and gaining a more mature and complete worldview. According to Kruss, McGrath, Petersen, and Gastrow, under this notion, the purpose of college education is associated with becoming more educated and an intellectually mature adult on a general level. Therefore, college allows teenagers to go through academic and social training that helps them become settled adults who are ready to join, live, work, and survive in the real world. It is rare to find someone that has undergone college and has gained no experience during their studies. Most people tend to have good and bad experiences that help in teaching valuable life lessons that could never be learned at home, in books, or classrooms. Having experienced college plays a role in the hiring of people within organizations. According to Rotella, employers within companies look for college graduates because it shows that they have worked hard, undergone different experiences, achieved set goals, and have spent four years developing a set of skills that will assist them in surviving in the postindustrial job market. It does not matter what one studied. Being a college graduate means that an individual can work in the real world because they have the skills to assimilate and organize large and complex data, as well as analyze and present the information in clear and purposeful language to create outcomes that have value to others. In this context, it does not matter what an individual studied. What matters is that they underwent college that helps in gaining the skills of mastering complexity in the real world, which can be applied in any field or job.

The third purpose of college education is that it provides an opportunity for people to be financially successful in life. A college education offers a chance for people to increase their knowledge in specific career fields that help them acquire well-paying jobs, which further assists in improving lives financially. For instance, majoring in IT provides a person the chance to work as an IT expert in a firm with a steady salary. According to Gershon, an increased number of people without a college education work in low paying jobs, which limit them to gain financial success needed to improve their lives, as well as that of their families. According to a team of experienced and professional academic writers from Smart Writing Service, an essay writing company, people that graduated from a four-year college education claim that they are earning $20,000 more annually because of having attended college and achieved a degree that has helped them gain better-paying jobs. Further, people that did not participate in college believe that they earn $20,000 less annually because they do not have a degree. Such situations subject people to work in less paying jobs since they do not have the skills needed to work in the high paying jobs. The estimates explain the differences or gap in the annual earnings between high school and college graduates in the United States and other parts of the world. It is clear that a college education plays an essential role in placing individuals in better-paying jobs that require gained skills in specific subjects. As reviewed above, to work as a doctor, one must have graduated and passed to become a certified doctor, which increases the chances of acquiring a better paying job based on the skills presented.

Opponents of the provided purposes for college education may argue that college is expensive and does not achieve the primary objective, which is to instill knowledge and prepare students for future success. An increased number of people claim that many students leave college with a substantial debt burden that they are forced to pay overtime despite not having gained the needed skills to work in the current business world. The Pew Research Center indicates that 57% of the Americans claim that the college or higher education system in the United States does not provide students with the value for the money that they spend to pay for college education. Further, 75% believe that college is highly expensive, which makes it impossible for most of the Americans to afford. These claims are unjustified because; the government provides loans for a college education while the skills and knowledge presented are highly required and in demand in workplaces, primarily those that need specific skills for particular jobs. Further, as viewed, most of the employers need college graduates who have experience of working and dealing with different situations in a real-world setting. Therefore, college education instills knowledge and prepares students for future success.

In conclusion, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the primary purpose of a college education. Some claim that the training is expensive and does not achieve its primary goal of instilling education while others argue it does provide the needed knowledge to work in the real world. College education instills skills in specific work areas that prepare students to work and succeed in the current world, which increases their chances of acquiring stable jobs and achieving financial success in life. It is crucial for the government to emphasize the need for a college education in the contemporary world that requires people skilled in specific areas to increase innovation and success of businesses or organizations. Further, the amount of money paid to attend a college should be affordable to all people to ensure that each has an opportunity to gain the needed skills to improve their lives. A college education is essential to the world because it provides skills and knowledge to establish individuals who can develop the world through innovation and developments in their respective jobs in different businesses.

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