To Matriculate or Not to Matriculate…

Unlike Charles Murray, who has argued that college is too hard for most Americans and only 10% of high school graduates should go on to a university, Andrew Hacker believes that college helps everyone–and not just in a future-earnings way.

“Things happen at college, whether you major in medieval philosophy or fashion merchandising. Since attendance is voluntary (and should remain that way), passing tests and turning in assignments show a willingness to do things you may not like, as an investment in your future,” he writes.

two students on stage at graduation

courtesy of scot2342 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sjungling/5640846/sizes/z/in/photostream/

I like that. Plenty of students start college, but very few make it all the way across that commencement stage, to commence their Bachelor degreed future. It takes determination and a lot of hard choices to get through a degree–drop out or take out that private loan? get up for a MWF 8am class, after working a 6-11pm shift, or be a semester behind on the degree plan? start all over in a new major or stick with the current one that isn’t your true calling?

Some people might say, “well, she graduated…with a 2.1. What good is that degree?” A 2.0 isn’t academic honors, but it is a “C” average, which is academically satisfactory; a 2.1 on a degree is far better than a 2.1 in the one semester of college someone completed five years ago.

Besides, what employer doesn’t want to see “a willingness to do things you may not like” in his or her future employees?

Hacker, a college professor, goes on to point out that some problems in higher education may have more to do with the focus: “what occurs in most college classrooms now centers on the interests of professors rather than stimulating the minds of undergraduates.”

Do you think this is true? Is your mind being stimulated by your professors? Do you feel like you are taking classes just so your department or college can fill seats, or do you genuinely need the skills outlined in the course descriptions? Do we let you pursue your interests, or do we insist that you focus on the topics of our most recent articles? Can a class be about a professor’s interests while still stimulating undergraduate thinking?

Word count = 368

Works Cited

Hacker, Andrew. “Everyone Should Go to College.” The Daily Beast. Newsweek.com, 28 Aug. 2011. Web. 1 Sep. 2011. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/28/college-rankings-2011-everyone-should-go-to-college.html>.

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