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A Teen's View

The value of a college education

Danielle Ryan

(6/2012) With the ever seemingly rising prices of attending college, sometimes I have to ask myself, "is college really worth the cost?" In today's society, my generation is expected to attend college and receive at least a bachelor's degree. Most employers nowadays even look for their potential employees to have a master's degree. Not only is a college degree expected, but many businesses expect their future employees to have some working experience in the practice that they are applying for. This all seems well and fair, but I, as well as many other college students all over, am asking myself if this expectation really is fair.

Many colleges and universities across the United States are raising the price of tuition every year. You must also realize that this price fluctuation is not the only one out there for college students. Gas prices are continuously rising, which in itself causes an increase in more basic needs such as groceries. When the price of gas rises, many items bought at a grocery store must also rise because they require transportation to the grocery store which of course requires the use of gas.

Just the price of living is also rising. Renting an apartment or house seems to be costing more every year as well. Landlords must raise their rent prices because prices all across the board are rising also, so they need to be able to maintain their own costs as well.

With all of these expenses rising every year, it is no wonder why some of us are questioning our education. I know that I have questioned my education many times, but it has always led me to understand the value of the education that I am receiving. With these rising costs, it seems that it is even more important to take a college education more seriously and hold it to a higher value.

Some would think that if this was the chosen path for a student that said student would take it serious and understand the value that the education holds. Unfortunately this is not always the case. When I began going to college, I expected there to be a very large amount of students that had to pay for their own education. After just a little while, I found that there was a large group of students that were not paying for their education, but had parents or other family members who were paying the bills.

I do not want to speak for every person who has parents that are paying for their education, but I will say that from my observations, it seems that there is a lesser value put on a college education that arises from these students. I have noticed that some of the students that are not paying for their own education generally care less about their own success while in college. Their grades become less important and they hold their social activities to a higher standard than their education. I have seen many students that I know are not paying for their own education become careless with their class attendance and tend to push bad grades aside as if they did not exist.

If anyone has ever had a class with an adult student, you may have noticed how dedicated that adult is to their education. Adult students are taking their education very seriously, and seem to end up doing better than non-adult students sometimes. Even with a family and a job, these adult learners always seem to manage to take their education seriously because they value the education. I think that a large reason for this is that they are personally responsible for the payment of this education. Adult students are not reliant on parents to provide them with the education.

As I mentioned earlier, work experience seems to be another quality that employers are looking for. The good thing is that most colleges offer their students experience opportunities such as internships, on campus jobs and even classroom-oriented experience. When I say classroom experience, I mean that many students receive some amount of practice while they are involved in a class. Most all schools offer science laboratories for their students that allow them experience in more hands-on, practical experiences. When science is involved, there is almost always a guarantee that some lab work will be required, which serves as some experience. I also know that agriculture related, or medical-related degrees perform hands on experience with people, animals or plants. For instance medical students must complete a certain number of hours in clinicals, where they are out in the field working in an environment similar to that which they will be experiencing when they are employed.

I definitely think that it is important for college students to take their education seriously. Some may not see the value that it holds at the moment, but in the future they will be grateful for the education that they have received.

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