Key Words: College is not for everyone

There are few things in life that would cause me to even think about putting my HDTV in peril. But I must admit, there is one commercial that truly makes me want to throw things at the flatscreen.

I’m not talking about infomercials for the Snuggie or Rick Perry campaign ads. No, the vile contemptuous advertisement is for Kaplan University.

James Avery,Uncle Phil from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” (not the Christian jeweler), plays an aged professor who laments to a classroom full of college students that the university system, with its traditions and older ideas, has failed them.

After talking about how there’s talent other places than the classroom, he closes his sad tirade by stating that “it is time the university started adapting to you, rather than you adapting to it.” It is at precisely this moment when I go nuclear.

I am certain that when future generations look upon ours, they will undoubtedly regard universities shifting their focus from education to the corporate business model as one of our great failures.

Focusing on turning a profit rather than turning out educated minds, colleges have begun pitching the idea that college is for everyone. Admissions standards are lowered, classes are made easier, and with each degree issued, the value of an education becomes smaller and smaller.

College is supposed to be hard. That’s why your degree means something. If everyone can do it, it’s not that impressive. However, as we water down classes so that everyone can pass, we likewise water down the value of the degree in the business world.

Part of the reason that people are having so much trouble finding work after graduation is that the market is literally flooded with degree holders.

The bachelor’s degree has become the new high school diploma. It doesn’t mean you know anything, but that you can sit in classes for four years without totally failing out.

The only difference between having a bachelor’s now and a high school diploma a few decades ago is the cost. Public education is free for the individual student, financed by the tax dollars of the local community. When you graduate high school, you have no debt to repay for your education.

Not so with college, where even less expensive degrees can run you tens of thousands of dollars in the hole. Undergraduates today are given less education, less value in the marketplace, and somehow expected to be able to pay that huge sum back.

Just because college is not for everyone does not mean that the collegiate professions are somehow better than the vocational. In order for society to function, we need diversity of labor. I’m pretty good at coaching debate, but when there’s something wrong with my car, I’ll take it to a mechanic.

We need people who fix cars, paint houses, and prepare food just as much as we need professors, doctors, and astronauts.

If someone wants to work in a field that doesn’t require a degree, there’s no reason they should waste years of their life and thousands of dollars.

For those of us that are in college, we need to demand the most from our education.

A very wise professor of mine once remarked that college students are the only consumers who do not demand the most for our money.

Don’t spend four years here learning how to sit in class and not fail out.

Push your professors to teach you more. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it.

Your education is likely the second most expensive purchase of your life.

Get something out of it.

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