People don’t tend to sit on the fence when it comes to their opinions about going to College or University after high school. Ironically, most people believe that finishing high school is a good idea. A college grad is the modern equivalent to a high school grad thirty years (or so) ago.
If you are unsure of reasons why people (you, your kids, or grandkids) should not go to post secondary school, let me outline them for you.
And then I’ll offer a brief rebuttal list.
Here are a list of reasons most people give against post secondary school (and a few of my own).
- It does not get you or even set up you for a job.
- It is too expensive.
- The world has changed and much of University is outdated, existing in a universe of its own creation.
- It does not train you for contemporary success because it only shows you how things were done in the past.
- It is not flexible for you in terms of modern life, time, locations, or even based on what you want to learn.
- Universities and Colleges change their content at a snail’s pace; they are five to ten years outdated.
- Professors live in ivory towers and do not have to keep up with current trends, practices, and techniques.
- You can learn what you want to do by just doing it. Experience is more important than classroom learning.
- The information is already out there online and free.
- University and College is a lot of work for little benefit because you will forget most of what you were supposed to learn in class. (Do you think you will actually retain what you crammed for an exam?)
- University isn’t real life.
- University is big business that feeds on itself through grants, foundations, and professors publish to libraries that are obliged to buy books that nobody will ever read.
Any of those resonate with you?
Many of these points are hard to argue against. And I say this as someone with a PhD who has administered and taught in Universities for the better part of my professional career.
However, if this is your view of university, I think you are missing a big part of the picture.
Here is a list in support of post secondary school. It requires you to think of schooling as a life experience rather than a means to an end.
- Most people see University/College as a vehicle to teach you how to do something. This is wrong thinking. If you want to learn to do something, go to a trade school.
- University/College teaches you to think for yourself and expands your mind to see opportunities. If a school teaches you ‘what to think’, this is a problem.
- Universities are the best and safest place to fail. Most teachers want you succeed and will give you a second chance. If not, retake the class.
- This is the time and place to ‘learn how to learn.’ If Universities teach you how to do anything, it is how to do the research so that you can learn for yourself.
- School is the place where you mature emotionally, relationally, and intellectually. It is where you become and adult, making decisions for yourself, become responsible, feed yourself, stay up too late and suffer the consequences, etc. These life lessons are not easily purchased anywhere else. It is worth the money.
- School is where you will make your lifelong friends.
- They are the best years of your life. Ask anyone who went to University.
Most of the objections to University/College in the ‘con’ list refer to people going to business school by business people. While I wish I had taken business classes in University, I can easily learn accounting on YouTube.
I could never have got what I did without attending University and putting in the effort to participate while I was there.
So what should you take away from these lists?
Clearly you need to be selective and critical. There are bad schools and good schools, bad programs and good programs, etc.
One thing if for sure; investing in your education will (almost) always be a worthwhile investment.