Why College Education Still Matters
Different individuals have varying meanings and perceptions about the need for a college education. In the articles 3 Reasons College Still Matters by Andrew Delbanco and No, It Doesn’t Matter What You Majored In by Carlo Rotella, the authors seek to provide answers to the question, “What is college education for?” In the first article, Delbanco uses three perspectives to legitimize college degree. According to him, individuals should obtain a college degree for economic, political, and intellectual reasons. On the other hand, Carlo Rotella, in his article, seeks to underscore the value of higher education by arguing that today, a college degree is a minimum requirement that a person must meet to enter most of the careers. According to him, more and more employers tend to disregard the majors listed on applicants’ resumes. However, they do care that they are employing a graduate that worked hard for four years developing skills that make them suitable for the post-industrial job available. Employers want people that can perform tasks such as to gathering and organizing information and analyzing it for further use by other people. Therefore, the author concludes that what a person majored in doesn’t matter when looking for employment. Rather, what matters the most is the ability of a person to perform duties in the field.
Andrew Delbanco’s first argument is based on the widely-broadcasted statistics that indicate the lifetime earnings of a college graduate exceeds that of a high school graduate by more than a million dollars ( Tamborini, ChangHwan Kim, & Sakamoto, 1387). Moreover, the author introduces several other economic statistics about college students in the US, which although less conspicuous, they clearly indicate that students that come from well-off families have a higher likelihood of receiving a good quality education. He then employs a hypothetical scenario to wind up his economic argument. Delbanco compares the ongoing debate in the public sphere about smoking to the discussion among political parties about who qualifies to receive a college education. He uses this analogy to prove that the benefit of education cannot be measured in terms of social cost or gain since if done this way; it is very easy to miss the whole point. Delbanco uses this approach to explain his point of view that the economic value of college education cannot be measured just in terms of the economic benefits that accrue to society. It must be evaluated in terms of what it does for individuals while considering both “calculable and incalculable ways.”Why College Education Still Matters
Delbanco’s next perspective is centered on politics. He refers to Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote that states that “the basis of our government is the opinion of the people”. He then rephrases his interpretation of Jefferson’s statement by arguing that the most vital necessity that will help the US to flourish and endure is an educated citizenry. The author analyzes current developments in politics and markets and concludes that more than before, people are increasingly being exposed to misleading advertising and political techniques. Consequently, it is paramount to hold more dearly Jefferson’s views about educated citizens. Additionally, Delbanco suggests that colleges should incorporate a course of study that will introduce students to concepts that constitute the Western culture. By the time a person earns a college degree, they should be familiar with several constitutive ideas of this culture that include the truths contained in modern science, the economic life that relies on the markets, and principles of individual freedom. A good college education, according to him, should help an individual understand the historical process that contributed to these ideals, the cost of failing to uphold them, and alternative ideas that can serve the same purpose.
The final central idea presented by Delbanco is that college education is still relevant because it helps individuals form the right philosophy of life through which they can achieve happiness. He borrows the views of one elderly alumnus to explain that college helps to open the senses and minds of students to experiences that can only happen while on campus. Delbanco uses this view to reiterate that college helps to enrich the capacities of students to read works of literature and to understand the most important political ideas.Why College Education Still Matters
In the article No, It Doesn’t Matter What You Majored In, Carlo Rotella analyzes some of the career-related problems that students are likely to experience after coming out of college. According to him, college education has become an irreducible minimum for those seeking to enter different careers. For a person to enter the present day’s competitive job market and to eventually earn a decent salary that will automatically place him in the middle class, college education is required. Additionally, Rotella notes that this has created a scramble as more people seek to join a college. As a result, the cost of college education has gone high. Moreover, he thinks that the situation has become even difficult as a result of the prevailing economic crisis that has hit public institutions more, forcing them to raise the amount they charge for a college degree.
Moreover, Carlo Rotella argues that a college degree is necessary because it serves as the minimum requirement that a person must meet to enter any given career. He further states that contrary to the beliefs of many people that a degree in traditional liberal arts will not help students secure a job after graduating, their major will not make their employers become less impressed. He affirms that employers give more attention to facts such as the individual spent several years honing certain skills that will enable him or her function effectively in the post-industrial job market. It is the life skills that a person gained while in college employers want. He makes a rational claim that implies if a graduate is hardworking, ethical, and has sharpened his communication skills, he is unlikely to miss a job opportunity. His suggestion is that college students should focus on working hard and once they graduate, they can take advantage of the opportunities in the job market by using the skills they learned. It then follows that while in college, students are supposed to learn a broad set of skills that will help them in their career irrespective of what they have majored in.
The main central theme that emerges in both articles is that college education is important for economic reasons: it is a basic requirement that any person desiring to enter any given career must fulfill. It shows the competitiveness of a person. Based on Delbanco’s article, a college degree has now replaced high school diploma that in the years past served as the minimum qualification for those seeking to join skilled labor market. From the articles, it follows that those with a degree are likely to have more money because it becomes easier for them to find a job. Moreover, both authors have highlighted the impact of the weak economy and skyrocketing tuition fees that have made many people question the benefits of college education (Johnson et al, 1).
Both Andrew Delanco and Carlo Rotella have employed certain argumentative techniques to create an impression on their readers. Rotella, for instance, has used ethos to give the reader an insight into his view concerning college major. Moreover, his factual method of presenting information is more appealing to the reader given that it makes him understand that in the United States’ job market, employers rely on a college degree when making a decision about who to employ and who not to employ. By simply stating what exists presently and reinforcing it by using this technique of realism, his readers become more cognizant of the author’s point. Ethos is based on describing ideas that characterize a subject under study or proving its guiding principles. Rotella has employed this technique too. He described the job market and its characteristics, and the ways in which it has influenced the perceived value of college education.
Pathos and ethos have also been used in the argument presented by Andre Delbanco. The approach suits this author because he takes undertakes an analysis of the ideals that characterized the American nation, ranging from its economic status to the conditions of minority groups. I his second central point, he argues in favor of college education from a political point of view. Although Rotella does not present the same opinion, Delbanco uses it to convince the reader that college education is vital for the wellbeing of the whole nation.Why College Education Still Matters
Carlos Rotella has presented the facts just as he understands them. After reading the article, it becomes clear that it contains objective information suffuses in the author’s empirical observation. Any objective reader will, without a doubt, accept Rotella’s view as the truth and the reality. On the other hand, Andrew Delbanco employs more powerful argumentative strategies that include pathos and ethos to put across his opinions and personal sentiments as well. Moreover, he has successfully used these tools to convince the reader to accept the information he presents as the truth. Apart from citing information that is well-known to most readers, such as from Thomas Jefferson’s declaration, he has also quoted from some of his well –educated colleagues thereby helping him to earn some degree of credibility. When analyzing the debates that have been on-going, Delbanco does not fail to provide arguments from the opposing sides.
Both arguments have certain inherent shortcomings. First, Delbanco’s article lacks a thesis statement. Although the author balances this shortcoming by ensuring that his text does not become thesis-ridden, the end product is a text that seeks to persuade the reader by providing several examples that can be directly connected to college education. Although the article is supposed to display the importance of education, the author does not provide sufficient facts. This is the case too with Rotella’s No, It Doesn’t Matter What You Majored In since the author has also repressed facts as well as logic evidence.
Rotella’s perspective is more convincing than that of Delbanco. In all reality, what a person majored in while in college should not concern employees especially in the present post-industrial job market. If the job available does not require specialized skills, it is likely that employers will accept any candidates that demonstrate they can handle it. Additionally, the use of pathos and ethos, in addition to presenting easy-to-understand facts make Rotella’s argument more convincing. Although Delbanco has employed similar strategies to persuade his readers, some of his opinions are not realistic. For instance, while it is true that college education has the potential to improve the lives of many people, the claim that education should an affordable right to all American citizens and should not be based on factors such as intellectual preparedness or economic status is unattainable. Apart from refusing to pay for it using tax, America has a huge demand for cheap labor and depends on thousands of citizens without a college education. Moreover, if such a proposal is implemented, it would create millions of jobless people but with worthless college degrees.Why College Education Still Matters
Delbanco, Andrew. “3 Reasons College Still Matters .” The Boston Globe.
Johnson, Hans, et al. “Student debt and the value of a college degree.” Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, CA (2013).
Rotella, Carlo. “No, It Doesn’t Matter What You Majored in.” The Boston Globe.
Tamborini, Christopher R., ChangHwan Kim, and Arthur Sakamoto. “Education and lifetime earnings in the United States.” Demography 52.4 (2015): 1383-1407.