Should every American go to college

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This argumentative essay deals with issues relating to the pros and cons of attending college in the United States of America. In this regard, an analysis of the advantages of going to school has been conducted. In addition, opinions with respect to opposing the college education have been scrutinised. This work argues that every American should go to college for achieving personal and national development.

Thesis Statement

Every American should attend college, as this will help the personal development and national economy to grow.

The following discussion proves this contention.

Individuals become independent, mature and responsible adults after attending college. Furthermore, college education improves communication skills, decision making capacity, and analytical skills. Thus, a larger number of opportunities can be explored by attending college. Before going into the competitive and real world, it would be advisable to attend college. Significantly, college education prepares the student to deal with difficulties in life. These are the chief reasons for every American to attend college.

Education is very important for improving opportunity, developing national economy, and ensuring the leadership status of the US. Moreover, education is very important for making the people responsible citizens. The US Department of Education aims to encourage educational excellence. It also aims to help every student, irrespective of their ability, first language, gender, income level, religion or race, to have access to education (King 16).

Achievement and opportunity are closely related. However, they are quite different goals. For example, every American does not go to college. Nevertheless, every child should be provided with opportunities for going to college. This great principle developed from Horace Mann’s statement in the 19th century that schools give people equal opportunities. He also stated that education was the balance wheel of society. This ideal has not been realized. Children face a lot of opportunity gaps in school-education. This happens in all the communities. The poor and disadvantaged communities are more affected by this. Thus, children from such communities do not reach their full potential and a lot of talent is wasted (Welner and Carter 3).

In this regard, it is frequently argued that an individual should get a college degree. This makes it easier to enter the American middle class. Most of the research studies have shown the advantage of higher education. The previous US President Obama had stated that education was an economic imperative. Why is college education important? It is important because college graduates, usually, earn more money than those who have just high school education (Owen and Sawhill).

Relating to this, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the statutory basis to reduce achievement and stubborn opportunity gaps. It also deals with the continuing differences in the education system of the US. This Act has to be implemented in letter and spirit for ensuring the educational progress of the nation. Thus, a new federal-state partnership has been formed in education. It requires educators to provide every student with a rigorous and comprehensive education. Thus, it should include arts, civics, biology, computer science, world languages, social studies, reading and mathematics (King 22).

Moreover, the Census Bureau of the US has disclosed that college graduates make around $55,000, on an average. On the other hand, individuals with just a high school diploma, typically, make less than $30,0000 (Brand and Xie 273). The benefit of college education, with regard to future earnings of individuals can be assessed by referring to the earnings gap. Research studies have shown that individuals who attend college are markedly different from those who do not attend college. Several important qualities are developed among those who attend college. This makes them better and more successful than those who discontinue studies after high school. Several statistical analyses have also shown that the earnings gap is a reliable estimate of the advantages provided by a college education (Baum, Kurose and McPherson 26).

Furthermore, there has been an increase in the earnings gap in the US over time. It has been noticed that the earnings of college graduates have not been affected by inflation for the period 1990 to 2010. This has not been noticed among the other groups, whose earnings have been significantly affected by inflation. Thus, the median earnings of college graduate employees increased by 8% from 1990 to 2000 and by a further 3% from 2000 to 2010 (Baum, Kurose and McPherson 26).

Hence, it is necessary for every American to attend college. This will serve the national interests and make them ideal citizens. For instance, students between the ages of 18 and 20 have to serve in the armed forces of the US for two years. This is necessary for being exempted from college tuition fees. These two years allow the student to improve the nation and the world. Moreover, such students become mature and useful citizens. The present-day world requires the youth to attend college. Thus, every high school graduate should acquire a basic knowledge of natural and social sciences, and humanities. In addition, they should develop command over the English language (Corcos).  In addition, human capital theory, in economics, provides a strong explanation for obtaining education. It is based upon the idea that education level determines the earning potential of individuals (Brand and Xie 277).

Furthermore, every American should attend college to improve their verbal skills and knowledge. For instance, the Department of Education, in 2003, gave a National Assessment of Adult Literacy. This showed that the literacy of college students had come down over the years. This was especially true among Hispanic college students. In the year 2003, there had been 26.4 million college graduates. As many as 800,000 among them lacked basic verbal skills (Toby 61).

The reason for this is that, many students do not study thoroughly in high school. This negligence makes college education difficult. The course material becomes difficult to understand. Such students find many of the courses to be of not much interest to them. Thus, many colleges have a large number of students who discontinue their study (Toby 61). However, they do have some students who are honor students.

Nevertheless, attending college by students is affected by several factors, such as, high school qualifications, increasing costs of college education, and the reducing real value of financial aid. However, access to college education requires high school education to provide students with the necessary academic skills, coursework and qualifications. Simply stated, high school students who have higher test scores, better grades and who have undergone more rigorous coursework tend to join and complete four-year college (Roderick, Nagaoka and Coca 188).

In addition, these areas of high school qualifications show considerable race, ethnicity and income gaps. The 1988 National Education Longitudinal Study had shown that 62% of African Americans and 63% of Latinos who joined college had to undergo remedial college courses. On the other hand, just 36% of the whites had to take remedial courses. Moreover, 63% of students from the lowest socioeconomic quartile had to take remedial courses in college. However, just 25% of the students from the highest quartile were required to take such courses (Roderick, Nagaoka and Coca 188). This shows the necessity for high school education to make its graduates ready for college education.

Finally, every American should go to college for getting better job opportunities. This is true, because for the previous half-century, job opportunities have been much better for individuals who had attended college. In fact, these people, in general, had better jobs than the individuals with less education. During the 1970s, it had become common to regard some people as being over-educated. Thus, Freeman, in 1976, had argued that there had been a marked reduction in return to college education. He was of the opinion that college education had lost its importance, which had created doubts among the people regarding the value of such education (Baum, Kurose and McPherson 25).

This notion proved to be wrong, and by 1980, the medial earning of college graduates proved to be 41% more than those who had not attended college. This gap has been increasing over the years. By the year 1990, this gap increased to 65%, 73% in 2000, and a massive 83% by 2010. There has been tremendous growth in technology and this has increased the value of college education enormously (Baum, Kurose and McPherson 25). The above discussion proves that college education is very beneficial in this age of technology.

Moreover, the benefits of college education tend to trickle down the generations. Thus, children inherit the privileges of their fathers and not just their sins. This makes it essential to employ all resources and the collective intelligence to make colleges and universities attractive for the American public. The focus should be upon the underprivileged sections, as their development will ensure the development of a major section of society (Kirszner and Mandell 675).

In addition, any reality of the job market has to finally affect the assessment of college education. For example, the top of American society has experienced spread of wealth. This has generated tremendous increase in demand for craftsmen. It is quite easy to find a good doctor or lawyer. However, it is not so easy to locate a skillful carpenter, electrician, painter or other craftsman. Thus, the journeyman craftsmen earn amounts that are at the top of income distribution, and master craftsmen earn in six figures. The state of the economy does not affect their income. Their jobs are such that they cannot be outsourced to the developing world (Kirszner and Mandell 678). The above discussion reveals that there is lack of skillful people in various fields and the top persons in these areas are not inferior to an educated person, vis-à-vis their earnings. Thus, college education is not greater than such skills, according to the authors.

Moreover, Owen and Sawhill argue that, just a college education does not guarantee success in life. There are many colleges and universities in the US. These have different standards and value. Hence, all college degrees do not have the same value. Some are very good, others not so good, and there are some that are poor, in quality. Moreover, the subject of graduation is also important. In addition, for certain occupations, colleges, subjects, and individuals, college education could be a waste of time and money (Owen and Sawhill). Thus, according to the author, it would be bad advice to ask all the people to go to college.

In addition, the commercialization of higher education in the US has been accelerating. This has increased the number of students who attend college with the sole aim of acquiring a pre-professional credential. The college experience of the past had been a period when students could test ideas and discover their interests. That process had been helped by their teachers and peers. However, this has changed to some extent at present. Contemporary college education has to face several challenges. These include, the curriculum to be taught and the textbooks to be prescribed. There is also lack of agreement about the knowledge to be acquired by students (Vaughan 90).

In his analytical review, Vaughan highlighted the opinion of the author Andrew Delbanco, stating that times have changed. Such change has reduced the quality of college education. In the past, students had the opportunity of identifying their specific skills and interests. Teachers were also cooperating with them in their endeavors. At present, there is disagreement between the interests of students and the knowledge to be acquired by students. This situation has made students static and non-innovative in their studies.

Furthermore, in a report, Pharinet had highlighted the importance of education. However, he had warned against forcing individuals to attend college. He had also stated that attending college was determined by several factors that varied from the personal to the professional. According to him, college education could provide a well-paying job and help people to realize their full potential (Pharinet).

The above argumentative research work supports the argument that every American should go to college for personal development. This will also strengthen the economy of the nation, and the US. Thus, college education provides students with greater skills, which leads to much better job opportunities, as well as several opportunities to help and serve the nation. Thus, it can be concluded that Americans should go to college for the development of their personality and to strengthen the national economy, as well as the nation.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Baum, Sandy, Charles Kurose and Michael McPherson. “An Overview of American Higher Education.” The Future of Children 23.1 (2013): 17-39. Print.

This article namely, ‘An Overview of American Higher Education.” The Future of Children’ by Baum et al. revealed crucial information regarding the differences between the qualities of students,  who attend college and of those who had discontinued studies after highschool. This work helped me in substantiating my thesis.

  1. Brand, Jennie E and Yu Xie. “Who Benefits Most from College? Evidence for Negative Selection in Heterogeneous Economic Returns to Higher Education.” American Sociological Review 75.2 (2010): 273-302. Print.

This article namely, “Who Benefits Most from College? Evidence for Negative Selection in Heterogeneous Economic Returns to Higher Education” byBrand et al.  revealed the pay gaps between college graduates and just high scool qualified students. This article also highlighted the economic theory in favor of attaining eduction for potential earnings. This article is in support  of my thesis.

  1. Corcos, Alain F. Affirmative Action for All Our Children: And Why College Education Should Be Free. Tucson, Arizona, USA: Wheatmark, Inc, 2016. Print.

In his famous article, “Affirmative Action for All Our Children: And Why College Education Should Be Free” the author Corcos, opined that college students have the opportunity of serving the nation during their  study periods. This would make them good citizens in future. This article is helpful in proving my thesis, that every American should go to college for the sake of self development and the nation’s growth.

  1. King, John B. “Giving Every Student a Fair Shot.” The Education Digest 82.7 (2017): 16-25. Print.

In his famous article, namely, “Giving Every Student a Fair Shot”, author, John King has highlighted the importance of education for American citizens. He stressed the need of policy implementation by the government to address the inequalities in the American education system. This article helped me in supporting my thesis that every American should go to college.

  1. Kirszner, Laurie G and Stephen R Mandell. The Practical Argument. Macmillan Higher Education, 2013. Print.

In their renowned article namely, “The Practical Argument.” Kirszner and Mandell opined that lack of skilled people will become a problem for the society and a master craftsman earns more than a colege graduate, and that his job is always secured, as the work done by him is not outsourced. This article is in opposition to my, thesis.

  1. Owen, Stephanie and Isabel V Sawhill. Should Everyone Go To College? 8 May 2013. Web. 9 August 2017. <>.

In their famous article,” Should Everyone Go To College”, authors Owen and Sawhill, highlighted the importance of higher education in the American context. They quote the statement of previous US President Obama, regarding the importance of college education to support his claim. However, they categorically express that it is not good advice to ask everyone to go to college in all situations. This article supports my thesis.

  1. Pharinet. “Is College For Everyone?” Practical Argument: A Text and Anthology. 2010. Web. 9 August 2017. <>.

In his well-known article namely, “Is College For Everyone?” Practical Argument: A Text and Anthology.” Pharinet highlighted the importance of college education, by stating that college education help people in realising their full potential. Nevertheless, he was not in favor of forcing people to undergo college education. This article supports my thesis statement that every American should go to college.

  1. Roderick, Melissa, Jenny Nagaoka and Vanessa Coca. “College Readiness for All: The Challenge for Urban High Schools.” The Future of Children 19.1 (2009): 185-210. Print.

In his renowned article, namely,’ The Challenge for Urban High Schools.” The Future of Children’  Roderick expressed that without proper high school education, students cannot adjust themselves to college studies. Lack of basic skills makes them discontinue their studies in college. This work is opposing my thesis, that every American should go to college.

  1. Toby, Jackson. The Lowering of Higher Education in America: Why Student Loans Should Be Based on Credit Worthiness. New Brunswick, NJ, USA: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Print.

In his article namely, “The Lowering of Higher Education in America: Why Student Loans Should Be Based on Credit Worthiness” Toby revealed that the literacy levels of students had decreased over the years. He opined that the reason was that they had failed to acquire basic verbal skills in high school education. This article opposes my thesis, by stating that without basic literacy skills, students cannot continue their studies in college.

  1. Vaughan, Geoffrey M. “Book Review: Andrew Delbanco, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be.” Society 50.1 (2013): 89-91. Print.

In his famous article, “Book Review: Andrew Delbanco, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be”, Geoffrey M Vaughan has  highlighted that the contemporary education system is not in agreement with the interests and skills of the students. This article is in opposition to my thesis.

  1. Welner, Kevin G and Prudence L Carter. “Achievement Gaps Arise from Opportunity Gaps.” Carter, Prudence L and Kevin G Welner. Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance. Oxon, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 1-10. Print.

This article namely, “Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance”, by Welner et al. emphasizes the importance of education for children from poor communities. The author opined that these under privilaged children should be given fair opportunity to attend college. He restated the fact that gaps in opportunities affect the future of these children. Hence, their talents might be wasted. This work helped me in supporting my thesis, that every American should go to college.

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