What we call the American Dream, the founding fathers called the pursuit of happiness. The American Dream is built on the promise that individuals from all walks of life can find success and prosperity here. It shapes from our opinions, desires, interests, cultures, geographical locations, and religions. Some presume the dream of becoming an engineer, a medical doctor, an athlete, a politician, or even maybe following their father’s footsteps and carrying on the family tradition of owning a restaurant. Sometimes, achieving this success is associated with the conception of receiving an education, especially a college education. The common debate of today’s society has always been whether college education will bring you success in life (or be the stepping stones of success in life?). Of the forty three men who have been the President of the United States, twenty four of them graduated from a private college, nine graduated from a public college, and ten did not graduate from a college. Since 1869 every president of the United States has had a college degree except President Grover Cleveland from his poor eye sight and President Garry S. Truman from his family hardship.
These men knew that the power of education would direct them on the path to excellence and to become the leader of a great nation like the United States. Thus, in the quality conscious twenty first century, having a college degree is mandatory to lead a successful life in this country. The very purpose of education is to empower the students with life skills that enable them to contribute positively to society. We need college to learn the necessary skills and knowledge to satisfy life’s demands. The effects of college education are clear in student’s success. Judith A. Gouwens, in her book Education in Crisis explains “Many educators believe that the purpose of getting a college education is to develop productive citizens who are prepared to participate actively in the democratic process in the United States” (Gouwens 2). College education is imparted as a prelude to research and the final choice of a vocation. Colleges give students the opportunity to research and study their preferred subjects in depth. In college, the majority of students are required to take a number of courses, which are known as general education.
They expose students to the fundamental ideas of life and intellectual activities. These courses provide diverse perspectives on how human beings think and feel, solve problems, express ideas, create, and discover new knowledge. They also help students achieve the skills essential to deliver reasoned and persuasive arguments both orally and in writing, and identify, acquire and use the knowledge to solve problems. Whether you want to pursue a career in the medical field, engineering, humanities, art, or sociology you need to take these courses to earn a college degree, because they intend to deliver the basic life coaching skills to students that is necessary in life. Education provides students with the understanding of the ideas, cultural movements and informed decision making, which enables them to live a successful life. On the contrary, people without a college education are unlikely to earn the life’s coaching skills and necessary knowledge to live a successful life. Mary E. William in her book Education: Opposing View Points argues, “What is a society like without civility, honesty, considerateness, and self-discipline?
Without a population educated to civility, educated to be considerate and respectful of one another, what will we end up with? Not much” (141). Those individuals, who do not attend college, will not receive a liberal education. They will not learn the critical thinking skills because they are not getting a college education. In fact, colleges train individuals to be critical thinkers and to help them acquire specialized skills to make informed decisions to improve the society’s state of living. According to the U.S Census Bureau, Current Population survey, more than seventy percent of people with a college degree voted in November 2008 presidential election versus fifty seven percent of the uneducated population. (“Voting and Registration”). Both educated individuals and uneducated individuals have the right to vote for their presidential candidate. However, the educated individuals will have a much higher standard to choose their president to fulfill today’s society necessities. In addition, attaining a college degree helps you propel your career in the right direction.
The great majority of people in our society see the purpose of a college education as a preparation for a career. Employment opportunities are far better for someone with a college degree, as employers are assured that this person has working knowledge of their business and can cooperate with a competitive work environment as well. The skill set owned by the individual will also be higher than someone who does not have a college education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is an incredible employment gap between the civilian populations who obtained a college degree versus the uneducated. The statistics show the unemployment rate among college graduates is only 4.2%. On the other hand, unemployment rate for those with less than a high –school diploma is 14.2%. Inability to obtain necessary work skills, intelligence and among the uneducated plays an important role in their unemployment rate. The root of this issue is lack of an academic degree.
In “The Conspiracy of Ignorance, the Failure of American Public Schools,” Martin L. Gross explains the importance of having a college degree: After former president George Bush had served in the U.S. Navy and had settled in Texas, he had thought: Why not teach high school? That sounded like socially useful activity and he was apparently well prepared academically. He approached the school board of his Texas town and applied for the job, convinced that he’d be accepted by acclamation. ‘Sorry Mr. Bush, You don’t have a degree in education so we can’t hire you,’ he was told. (175) An academic degree is defined as an award conferred by a college that the recipient has satisfactorily complete a course of study. Currently many employers focus on college degree as a main requirement for their applicants and most importantly their employees. Business efficiently is also an important fact of attaining a college degree. Our college graduates will analyze the inefficiency in society to help corporation and government lower cost of consumption.
In Ohio, more than $900 million has been saved by public colleges and universities over the last few years by implementing the joint purchasing of products and services. These innovative ideas, and more like them, can deliver the saving that will allow our nation to lower education cost. Our college graduates work together to achieve something bigger than their own success. In contrast, uneducated population is unclear about minimizing today’s cost of living through a greener and efficient layout and technology. In absence of college education, the necessary skills for training and achieving will not be available to the community. The uneducated population does not have the required education and critical thinking to perform analysis of such a high volume of information. Furthermore, students become more spiritual in college.
If teenagers have grown up with limited mentality, then the college is the place they will really open up their mind. College’s environment offers an opportunity to be a part of a huge group to discuss, share, develop new ideas, and create friendship. For example, a study at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that college student’s overall level of spirituality, as defined by the researchers, increases during their undergraduate years. Students discuss hot button social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage in a more liberal aspect. In other words, this generation of college educated students are much more tolerant and accepting than earlier generations. Education is what gives individual options, the knowledge to act and choose independently. True freedom means the presence of real options, the ability or decides one’s own path in life, and the personal power to put that choice into execution.
If the people in our society are unable of expressing their ideas and practicing their beliefs, today’s society will be in great danger. Everyone has to contribute to lead the society and the community to achieve higher standards in life and education. The opposite view is not exposed to the vast subject material in a normal community. College students are constantly evaluating and discussing today’s problems at their universities or colleges in their groups with each other. The quality of conversation, new opinions, conclusions, arguments that takes place in these peers, constructs the foundation of innovation. Unfortunately, uneducated population does not get the opportunities to discuss ideas and opinions equally to the college graduates. There are many student’s groups, clubs and associations which has been shaped by undergraduate students in universities and colleges.