The Value of Higher Education

With the cost of college as high as it is today, the question arises of whether or not higher education is worth it. What value is coming out of higher education that is worth this money? Many people try to answer the question of “is college worth it?” through economics. While this is a reasonable thing to do, because in the end college is meant to get you a better job, it is also not an accurate calculation of the value of higher education. It has been shown that with a college degree, you can get a career that will give you a higher salary, and a more satisfying career, than if you didn’t have a college degree. The increased salary at this career is supposed to be high enough to outweigh the cost of college, but the net economic gains do not portray the true value of higher education. There is much more to college than just a potential career.

Ideally, graduates leave college not only with a better sense of what they want to do with their lives but also with a better sense of how to think, how to be an active member of society, and how to interact with the world around them. The knowledge we gain in school is most valuable in shaping our outlooks. Colleges are meant to enhance our critical thinking skills, not just further our general knowledge. Instead of training us for one specific career, colleges teach us how to think and how to be problem solvers; colleges prepare us to succeed at a variety of careers. With the world around us changing so rapidly it is not valuable to spend so much money learning a trait or skill that may or may not be useful 10 years from now. Therefore, when looking at the value of higher education it is important to look at how well it trains you to think not how well it trains you to do a job. Higher education, especially in the form of a liberal arts education, creates well-rounded students that are engaged in their society and are aware of the world around them.

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