Can Two Be Greater Than Four? Does college really matter? Has college lost its rite to passage appeal? Can one still go to college and be successful in the pursuit of self-discovery? These are the types of questions that Liz Addison challenges in her short essay “Two Years Are Better Than Four”. By taking into account my own experience as a current community college student and advocate, in this response to Addison’s essay I choose to elaborate on her views of community college being better than a four year university in the sense of offering a better college experience.
Liz Addison’s essay, “Two Years Better Than Four,” was first published in the New York Times Magazine back in September of 2007. Addison went to two community colleges and majored in biology; earning her degree in 2008. In her essay, she is responding to Rick Perlstein's article “What’s the Matter with College?” in which he claims, “College as America used to understand it is coming to an end” (211). Addison refutes Perlstein’s claims by saying, “My guess, reading between the lines, is that Mr. Perlstein has never set foot in an American community college” (212).
In the United States a community college is defined as a nonresidential junior college offering courses to people living in a particular area. They are post secondary schools and are also referred to as junior colleges, vocational or technical schools because generally the course of study is for two years. The student can earn an associates degree or certification and/or continue their education by transfering to a four year college to complete their educational pursuits and earn a Bachelor 's degree. Community colleges started in the late 1800’s and have grown and evolved over the years. Today many four year colleges and universities have become so expensive to attend that many prospective students are opting for the more affordable alternative of a community college for their first two years of study where they can save money by living at home and taking classes that will transfer to a four year institution, however, there are students that cannot afford the lower cost of community colleges.
It has taken many years for people in society to break out of the norms and expectations of how to grow up and live in the world. A huge factor in this “revolution”: attending college. Whether it is taking a gap year to discover the world and the waiting opportunities, or simply running with it all after high school to work, attending college isn’t considered a given anymore. Now not all cases are the same for every person, therefore they can only decide what is the best path for them after high school. Still, the benefits of a being a college graduate will never be diminished.
Throughout the essay, Charles Murray stresses the idea that college is the wonderland of finding oneself and to find the career that one would want to follow for the rest of their lives. “College is seen as the open sesame to a good job and a desirable way for adolescents to transition to adulthood. Neither reason is as persuasive as it first appears.” Murray, C (2008) Practically spoken, this is not normally the case. College is a fair amount of work, much more work than one would normally acquire through any course of a high school or secondary school setting.
Going to college for many students is just a normal part of life. It is what will enable them to get an education that eventually will lead to get a well-paid job and the resources and the status to live a comfortable life. But for college professor, Andrew Delbanco, the American college has a higher purpose. In the article “College at Risk”, Delbanco states that colleges should be promoting critical thinking among students, through knowledge of the past and the interaction with each other; as well as, help them discover their talents and passions and figure out what they want to do in life. This type of education is called liberal arts and for Delbanco, it represents the ideal education.
Liz Addison, who graduated from Piedmont Virginia Community College and Southern Maine Community College agreed that community college was better than a university. Addison believed that a four-year college was for the “privileged class”. Addison viewed universities as the “privileged class” due to students applying at their curriculum vitae. In addition, Liz Addison tells the importance of community college. Addison then goes on to tell how high school graduates have a hard time getting into universities; the odds of entering would be low.
However, it is still an issue for students to cough up that money. The idea of making community college free to any student in America has been a dream for low income students for a while. President Obama’s desire to make the tuition of community college to everyone in the nation would only make it difficult for students to get a free education, limit them to essential resources, and discourage students from applying to four year universities. Granting free community college tuition to incoming freshmen will draw “more students to already crowded community colleges”. Along with the overcrowded campuses, a very long waiting list will soon form making it just as competitive to get into a four year university.
Is College Really Worth It? Paula Scarborough Brenau University EH101 Professor Whelan March 18, 2017 A thorough evaluation of the higher education evidently reveals that there are diverse factors that need to re-evaluate as suggested by Charles Murray. Although the facts are based upon a misinterpretation of what colleges entails in the essence that they are not substantially equipping graduates with the necessary life skills hacks. Instead of cultivating capable individuals in the society, college’s distinct purpose has been to equip skillful graduates into diverse careers they wish pursue.
Recently, many have begun to attack and degrade higher education in the United States. In the book How College Works, authors Daniel Chambliss and Christopher Takacs claim, “As state support has eroded, and as more students attend college in an increasingly desperate attempt to find viable jobs, the price to students of attending an institution of higher education has gone up, especially at more selective institutions” (172). So is college even worth it? Caroline Bird’s excerpt from her book Case Against College “Where College Fails Us” is an adequately written article that agrees with those who question whether college is a good investment. Bird argues that although some students would benefit from college and succeed, many fall short, wasting
“3 Reasons College Still Matters” by Andrew Delbanco 3) “Surely, every American college ought to defend this waning possibility, whatever we call it. And an American college is only true to itself when it opens its doors to all - the rich, the middle, and the poor - who have the capacity to embrace the precious chance to think and reflect before life engulfs them. If we are all serious about democracy, that means everyone.” 4) In this part of the writing Andrew Delbanco tries to persuade his audience by using the pattern of logic that agrees with the overall argument but also considers another striking point of view to strengthen the argument (While these arguments are convincing, they must also consider…).
The idea of community colleges to me is a place to get a good education and explore different options, and meet some great people. On the web site of the American Association of Community Colleges it says, “The mission of the community college is to provide education for individuals, many of whom are adults, in its service region”. This means that
In his article, “Are Too Many People Going to College?” Charles Murray argues that too many people are going to college universities when they should be focusing on other lifestyle options. In his opinion, whether or not to attend college is a personal decision that should be thoroughly thought through. When weighed with the unrealistic prerequisites, the financial expenses, and the time needed to obtain a degree, many people will find that attending college will not be beneficial to them. Speaking of this Murray attests, “The question here is not whether the traditional four-year residential college is fun or valuable as a place to grow up, but when it makes sense as a place to learn how to make a living.
As a college student who is currently spending thousands of dollars to further my education and achieve a career goal, it was, at first, disheartening to read Caroline Bird ’s essay “College is a Waste of Time and Money”. However, after thoroughly examining her points, I now see that her essay is illogical. In her piece “College is a Waste of Time and Money”, Caroline Bird argues against the idea that “college is the best place for all high-school graduates” (1); in other words, college isn’t for everyone. Throughout her writing, Bird supplies her readers with evidence that explains how, for some individuals, college is a waste of not only time and money, but of intellectual effort, as well.
Who wouldn’t want an extra two-years to reconsider life and reevaluate their goals? Community colleges near home give plenty of opportunities to exceed life. Preparing every college student to manage the real world, and be able to take care of their responsibilities. Time doesn’t stop for anybody, so by having an extra two years is like saying you’re living a blessing. Life is not easy, but community colleges are there to assist in overcoming the first couple years of the adult