Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Problem

One of the problems I see, and its probably a contentious issue, is that too many people go to college who shouldn't go to college.

I feel that many people go to college for what the "wrong" reasons such as:
1. because their friends are doing it
2. because they want to party
3. because they have feel pressured to (by society, family, etc.)
4. because the system is set up to direct students from high school to college
5. because they have no idea what they want to do

There are also (obviously) some "right" reasons to go to college such as:
1. Explore an area or areas of interest
2. Career advancement
3. Personal development
4. Get a chance to interact with cutting-edge researchers

Because more people are going to college than necessary (or at least going to college for the wrong reasons), there are at least three negative effects I can identify:
1. Increased demand for college education causing increased costs to the taxpayer and to the student
2. Devaluation of a college degree, since everyone has one. Holding a college degree fifty years ago meant something, today it doesn't mean all that much.

A high school education is definitely enough for many careers, and in many cases, more than satisfies (or kills) the intellectual curiousity of the American student.


  1. I think you have some good points going there Nikhil. Another thing to keep in mind I think is that not all colleges deliver the same quality of education.

    Let's look at the kinds of jobs one could do with only a high school education. Jobs where only a warm body is required and I would not call them a "career". The reason I say that is because the quality of high school education in general is terrible in the US. Going to a college only means that you are at least semi-motivated to learn new things and at least slightly capable of thinking complex thoughts.

  2. All your points are valid. I would also mention that fifty years ago, higher education was considered a privilege more than a right. Now, it's the other way around.