September 4, 2017

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a University Education

Everybody needs to go to college.
At least, that’s what some people would like you to believe. More and more people are attending universities today than ever before, but is this really the best case scenario? There are a couple things that you should consider before you fork over a fortune to a big name university.

The Pros

Going to a university does have real, concrete benefits. Aside from just giving you a better chance at getting jobs for which you’re already qualified, a university education will also give you access to a broader range of jobs to which you didn’t have access before. Especially if you graduate from a bigger university, you will have a better chance at finding a good job. However, even if you graduate from a smaller community or technical college, you will still have an edge in the job market.

Such an education can also go beyond just beefing up your resume. People get hired for jobs that are outside the scope of what they specialized in at college, simply because employers recognize the diligence and level of responsibility that is often present in college graduates. Surely such education goes beyond the resume, at least to the point of developing character.

The Cons

Let me be the first to say that, despite what people say, college is not all it’s cracked up to be. First and foremost, you do not need to pay copious amounts of money to get someone else to educate you. Let me be honest. College professors do not have exclusive access to magical “knowledge” juice to inject you with when you go to their classes. Also we know how much time those teachers actually spend upon us, most of the time they are busy with their own research or custom thesis works. In fact, there really isn’t very much that you can learn at a university that you can’t learn on your own. You probably have access to libraries, the internet, all kinds of technology, and intelligent people. This alone is enough to learn almost anything that you could learn in college.

So why go to college, you ask? Our society values labels. I don’t know why, but, for some reason, people value titles and pieces of paper called “degrees” over actual skills. How hard would it be for society to implement some system of skill evaluation so that people didn’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on obtaining these degrees? I don’t know, but the fact that the university education system is still thriving after all this time tells me that our society is at least a little unwilling to implement such change.

Therefore, for the time being, at least, a college education may be necessary to get certain jobs. Even if you succeed in educating yourself outside of the university system, employers will still consider you “unqualified” for many occupations. Is this monopoly on “knowledge” fair? Probably not. But that’s why you must exercise prudence and caution when deciding to proceed down the avenue of university education.

My purpose in all of this has not been to paint a negative picture of universities, but to show that universities, like all societal institutions, are not without their failings. If and when you do decide to attend a university, for any reason, I urge you to carefully consider your decision.