College Education

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In the United States, most Americans are fortunate to be able to obtain a high school education. After high school, many of these students go on to pursue a college degree. In places such as my hometown, going to college is the norm, not the exception. However, this education comes at a cost. Some people would argue that the outcomes of college are worth the expense, while others would say that in today’s day and age college is a waste of time and money.
Many higher education enthusiasts would argue that college is economically worth the financial investment. Philip Trostel (n.d.) claims that students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree make, on average, $32,000 more a year, and $625,000 more in a lifetime (even considering the four
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Huber and Kuncel (2016) also note the non-economic advantages of obtaining a college degree. Their study on critical thinking found that the typical college student experiences a significant increase in their ability to think critically from the time they are freshman until the time they graduate. Another finding in Huber and Kuncel’s work was that even though critical thinking skills are greater for college graduates than those who chose not to attend college, this difference of critical thinking ability has declined in recent years. However, this is not to say that they believe that colleges are no longer adequately teaching students to think critically. Instead, they explain that the level of critical thinking skills developed in college has begun to decrease because students are entering college with more critical thinking skills in the first place. In other words, it is not that students are no longer achieving the same standard, it is that the students are not achieving the same level of growth because they had more critical thinking skills to begin with.
Others contend that pursuing a Bachelor’s degree actually puts young adults at an economic disadvantage. Joe Weisenthal (2012) reported that from 2000-2010 the average cost of tuition and fees for a public, four-year college increased by 72%. Not only are the costs of college increasing at incredible rates, but earnings for graduates with a Bachelor’s degree actually decreased over
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