The Value of a College Education
The value of an education goes far beyond the monetary figure that it costs versus what you get out of a college education. The value is found in the career that it fosters, the knowledge gained through higher education and the preperation it gives young men and women for life after educational training. At Paper Masters, we value the education of our clients and want them to get the most for their money. We help students understand the value in receiving a quality education and educational materials that will help you succeed far beyond college. Think about the following regarding education:
- The cost of tuition is $10,000 a semester.
- The cost of books for one term is $450.
- A new computer with Internet access, printer, and software is $2,500.
- However, the value of a college education is priceless.
That is why we at Paper Masters offer research paper help to assist you with obtaining the invaluable asset of a college education. Through our custom term paper writing and research paper production, we provide a guide for you to integrate your own research into. Since term paper writing is such an important part of a college education, Paper Masters is here to help you.
It is simple to quantify the dollar amount for expenses related to obtaining a college degree. It is much more complex to determine the actual value of that degree, once it is completed, however. Is the value of the education received equal to the amount of income that can be generated from it? Or is the value of the education related to the amount of satisfaction one feels when completing the degree or putting it to use? What of those who spend tens of thousands of dollars obtaining a degree in engineering, for example, and then who never acquire either through choice or circumstances a job that actually relates to that degree?
The value of a college education can truly only be measured by the goals established by the student seeking the degree in the first place. Those goals may be related to a particular job field, they may be related to a certain income bracket, or they may correspond to a specific level of achievement within a field or company. Or, the value of the education may be the sense of accomplishment in simply learning or finishing the process of obtaining a degree.
Gaols for Academia
Some goals, such as the joy of learning, reap a benefit immediately. The value of obtaining a specific degree, of finishing the process, is easily measured and obtained within a limited number of years—assuming the student completes their degree within a reasonable amount of time. Other goals, however, such as reaching a certain title or position level, or hitting a specified income bracket, may take a lifetime to achieve. Is there value in the college education along the way, even if goals are longer term and take more time to reach? One could argue that without that college education, the goals would not be a possibility at all.
For the freshman and sophomore level student, fresh out of high school, the value of a college education can take many forms. Some students see the value of attending college as purely social, with the academic process a mere by-product of their time spent at a university. Their primary objectives range from meeting new people, to attending as many parties as possible, to finding a suitable spouse. The value for these students is in being in the atmosphere and experiencing the social education with others in their late teens and early twenties.
Some younger college students see value in the academic components of their college experience from the beginning. These students may not have a specific major in mind from the first day of their freshman year, but they sense a need to complete their degree successfully in order to have the most options for career choices once they graduate from college. These students often see value in relationship building and socializing as part of the process, but certainly not the goal in and of itself.
Other students know from before stepping foot on a campus what their career goals are and what kind of educational route must be taken in order to reach those goals. These students care little about social interaction or anything else that would distract them from meeting their educational objectives. Academics is king and there is a high value placed on doing top-quality work in class.
Older students returning to school often have a very different perspective of the value of a college education. Mature students returning to school have had the benefit of participating in the world outside the university. Their work experience may run deep and wide, thus giving them an entirely different perspective about what is valuable in a college education. These students may have not written a research paper or term paper for many years and need assistance in refreshing their memory in how to write an essay or book report. We recognize that even those students returning to school after years spent working within the home have valuable experiences from which to draw. These life experiences, whether in the work force outside the home or within the home, change the color of the meaning of value in a college education.
The Value of a College Education After College
In the workplace, success is often evaluated on many different levels. One can be evaluated on the basis of competence—an ability to master a set of skills. One can also be evaluated on the basis of credibility—being able to put those skills to work in such a way that others believe a job was done well. Another area of evaluation is that of credentials—or the “official” background and experience to accomplish a particular task. These three areas are neither mutually exclusive nor inclusive. One could possess and demonstrate a high degree in all three areas. One could have credentials without competence or credibility. One could also have competence without credibility.
For those with years in the workforce, the value in returning to school is often to add credentials to competence in the workplace. Particularly if the student has been in the workforce for many years, their ability to function successfully has already been confirmed or denied. Theoretically, competence was acquired through on the job training and experience. Typically these individuals have also obtained at least some level of credibility.
Often, however, to meet other objectives, such as a particular title or salary, credentials need to be added to that competence and credibility. These individuals typically turn to attending college to complete coursework or a degree to add those credentials to their resume. This process opens the door to an increase in levels of responsibility, titles, and salary.
Most organizations have established job descriptions for positions within the organizations. Those job descriptions typically contain information such as the duties to be performed by the employee, as well as experience required to fill a certain position. Job descriptions also contain information regarding educational requirements—such as a high school diploma, college degree, or graduate work.
While some organizations with particular positions are able to add “or commensurate experience” to those educational requirements, other larger or less flexible organizations are not able to make such accommodations. In those cases, in order for an employee to achieve a promotion to a higher position, the minimum education requirement must be completed.
For these employees, there is significant value to obtaining a college education from a professional and financial perspective. The value can be measured in the additional role and responsibility gained. It can also be measured by the satisfaction of the individual in learning up-to-date skills that can beimmediately applied to their workday.
Many older students returning to college have typically determined a realistic plan for the completion of their professional careers. “Finishing well” becomes an important motivator which adds value to obtaining a college education. Possibly there is one more promotion that an individual wants to achieve. Obtaining a college degree might fulfill the requirements and open that door. There may also be a desire tosimply continue learning as a way of maintaining competence and credibility in the work place. A college education would offer that opportunity.
Many fields, particularly the technology fields, are changing more rapidly than the average person can keep up with. Consider someone who has been in the information technology field for just ten years. Think of the changes that have occurred in personal computing alone. Ten years ago, the Pentium chip was not even available for personal computing.
Consider ten years ago, the small number of computers used in office settings and the issues with servers that took up huge amounts of space. Today, there is a Pentium four chip readily available and servers that take up a bookshelf. Though someone working in the information technology field for these ten years would be expected to remain up-to-date as they work, what would be the value added by attending college courses in this area to increase the knowledge base and perhaps offer even solutions to daily issues faced at work? This person may recognize the need to continue learning, to continue developing skills, in order to finish their career well rather than being viewed as an out-of-touch dinosaur.
Other individuals, well into their career, may simply want to attend college as a way to continue to stretch the breadth and depth of their knowledge base. There may not be a particular degree goal in mind. There may simply be great value for an individual to attend courses for the mere joy of learning and personal fulfillment. Can this be quantified? Of course not. Is it valuable? Most likely there is great value. The amount of value is dependent upon the individual.
As an individual returning to school after quite some time, I believe there is great value for me in obtaining a college education. I believe there is value because I have particular goals that I want to accomplish before I finish my career. I have plans to retire in about twelve years. Within that time, I am interested in a promotion from my company. It is important to me to finish well, on top in my career, rather than be in a declining, stagnant mode. Obtaining a college education will open doors for me in my company to pursue that promotion. Those doors had been previously closed.
I also believe that there is value in a college education because there is a significant amount of personal fulfillment from learning. It is my desire to broaden my set of skills as wide as possible. I believe that a college education affords me the opportunity to do just that. It is important to me to continue learning to strengthen my competence abilities in the work place. A college degree is valuable because it adds the credentials to my competence and credibility. While there is some potentially quantifiable value in my obtaining a college degree, it is really the components that are difficult to quantify—the personal fulfillment of learning and acquiring new skills—that are the most significant to me.
The value of a college education is a subjective value. Some choose to look at it from a profit/loss perspective, comparing how much was spent in time and money compared to how much financial gain was realized in a particular time frame. But this is not the only view of value.
One must consider the other factors mentioned in this essay. The factors of finishing a process through obtaining a degree, the fulfillment of learning new skills and the personal satisfaction of working toward a tangible goal must also be considered.
Students choose to attend or return to the college setting for a variety of reasons. The value of the education can only be discovered within those reasons and compared with the outcome of the educational experience. If the student’s goal is to learn skills for the sake of learning, the value of the education will always match with the expense. If the student’s goal is to achieve a particular title or salary range, only time can determine if the value of the outlay for the education was worth the results. In the eyes of most reasonable people, the value of a college education is significant regardless of the career path chosen by the individual. There are lessons to be learned from completing a long term goal and process—often over a four or five year period of time. There is also value in the time spent learning a set of skills that can be applied in the work environment. Value is added through the social relationships that are developed along the way.
For the young student it is a time not just for academics, but also of discovery. Who will they become and how will they apply all that they learn? What is the value of that discovery process? For the adult learner returning to school, it is an opportunity to bring together several components that can add up to a successful career—competence, credibility, and credentials.
The value of a college education is priceless.