What’s The Purpose Of College?

from Forbes

Many Americans have begun to ask whether college is worth it. And who’s to blame them? With college tuition rising at astronomical levels, it’s reasonable to think prospective consumers will do a more careful “return on investment” calculation. But instead of asking whether it’s worth it, we’d be better off asking a different question: what’s the purpose of college? Without nailing this answer, it’s impossible to discern whether it will be or was worth it. Even more importantly, being clear about the purpose of college also helps us make the most of it.

The problem is that our national narrative about “college” has created a decidedly false dichotomy between the two primarily professed purposes of college. There is the camp that says college is about preparing a person for work – to help them get a good or better job. In fact, this is by far the most commonly cited reason for why Americans value higher education– to get a good job. The other camp says college is about more broadly preparing a person for success in life – to be an engaged and enlightened citizen capable of thinking critically and communicating clearly, ultimately able to thrive in their well-being. Make no mistake, many of us see the purpose of college as both a job-driven and a life-driven purpose. But our dialogue is horribly stuck in the muck of an either/or debate on these two fronts.

It’s time to end the either/or debate and embrace the reality that college’s purpose is both. College is about both preparing people for a job (and helping them advance their careers and earnings) and to thrive in their overall lives. Findings from a Gallup-Bates College study released today give us convincing evidence of the importance of both/and – as well as point us toward an improved framework for thinking about the purpose of college. What if the purpose of college is finding one’s own, individual purpose? And what if achieving this is critically linked to finding purposeful work? Here are the study highlights:

More here.

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29 Responses to What’s The Purpose Of College?

  1. Demetri Allen April 26, 2019 at 5:46 pm #

    Personally, to me, I have always had a certain stigma when it comes to college. My whole life I sort of followed the path my parents sent me in which isn’t always a bad thing. My parents are both well educated and want the best for me so I thought what better than to follow their lead. As of me writing this right now I am about to finish my first year in college and I can say that it’s been an interesting experience. However, I can 100% see why it is not for everyone. I always knew I was going to college and I always actually wanted to go. I wanted to further my education, get a great job, and have some once in a lifetime experiences along the way. I have to say that I am very blessed that my parents manage to save enough money to put me through college with as little debt as possible and I am grateful for that. Tuition for colleges is absurdly high and is raising the point where students are reluctantly leaving school with a huge burden on their shoulders. It is easy to understand why finances like this would easily deter someone from seeking higher education. Not to mention that the job market is becoming even more competitive than it has ever been, and most students aren’t even guaranteed a job once they graduate leaving them unemployed with a huge debt to pay. This makes it seem like all the time and money that went into those 4 years was all for nothing. Also, from my personal experience, most of my friends from high school were very unsure of their future. How would a bunch of developing teenagers know what career path they would want to take on for the rest of their life at such a young age? So many of my friends were hesitant in making that big step in fear of wasting time and money. Lots of them chose to work or go to a cheaper community college instead. Lastly, I always found myself as much of an introvert but I had finally come out of my shell over the course of high school and made many friends and gained a good reputation by senior year. Having to move on and leave everyone behind was very tough in the beginning, to sort of start all over from square one is not the easiest thing to do so it makes sense why some people would try and look for another alternative.

  2. Santiago Gomez April 26, 2019 at 7:36 pm #

    After reading the article I found it very helpful for those who are still in the consideration of enrolling into a 4-year university. Providing some statistics on how graduates feel satisfied with their college experience. With how they perform now, then from before. As we know it the purpose of college is to get an education and hopefully obtain a job. Not only a job but a career we aspire to be. Not going to a 4-year institution is viewed as a stigma. It looks as if it is part of the American culture. Pre-k to 8th. Graduate high school and go to college. And many questions arise from “what in the world are you doing?” to “how will you find a job?”. And I certainly feel this way. People who refuse or cannot attend a university, I feel will struggle than a person who holds a bachelor’s degree. Given the fact, the student’s loans have a knife on the necks or graduates. But generally speaking, an individual who holds a degree earns more than someone who does not. Also, it opens many opportunities for job openings. Because nowadays many jobs are now requiring college degrees. The article provides a very important aspect of what is the purpose of college. “The top two drivers of a graduate achieving purpose in their work are whether they had an applied job or internship.” I find this very important because I think this is what gives colleges a purpose. To take opportunities for what the college is offering. Because I personally know college graduates, who finished but now work in retail or something that does not in the area of study. Just because they did not get accepted into an internship program or just simply did not apply for one. The article states in its the last sentence, “helping graduates achieve purposeful work may indeed be the purpose of college.” I find it true, but I will like to add one final statement. The purpose of college is to transform an individual intellectually and personally.

  3. Doran Abdi April 26, 2019 at 8:10 pm #

    The idea of college being optional is an idea of the past and should not be put into anyone’s head who is growing up in the modern world. As a society we are raised in a way to believe that our whole lives are supposed to be linear and everything comes in an order. Me—personally—I was raised believing that I would go to elementary school then middle school then high school, college, etc. Today, the idea of my life becoming completely linear has become a little outdated and expired and I have become open to different perspectives. College used to be something that was optional for students who were looking to fulfill a job dream. If one were not to go to college, a path for a successful career was very possible. Today, with how competitive the job world has become, this is no longer an option at all. The present day job world is more competitive than it has ever been and just having a college degree may sometimes not even enough to suffice anymore. Employers are looking for years of experience and multiple realistic skills that can have already been developed by the time one is to get out of college. Additionally, the price of college and education is higher than it has ever been, and many students are now finding themselves buried in debt once they have graduated from college. With that being said, students are now having the highest anxiety and depression rates than have ever been seen in America before. This has created a massive debate within politicians regarding students who are struggling to pay for their education and are being faced with the most stress that students have ever seen. Many are advocating for there to be lower college/free tuition allowing for more underprivileged students to be able to access an incredible privilege. Additionally, the weight of what a college degree may hold has created another argument on the realistic nature on what a college degree may give to a graduating student. I feel as if the job world will reach a point where it is so competitive that there will be need to be some sort of legislative movement made to make the job world more accessible for graduating students.

  4. Dylan Flego April 26, 2019 at 8:34 pm #

    The purpose of college is very loosely defined because it varies from person to person. Realistically, there is no single set definition of what college is for due to the varying reasons as to why people attend it. For instance, some people may decide to attend a college to focus their education experience in a single field such as business, teaching, science, and many more. Others may feel as if the purpose of college is instead a “prerequisite” to succeeding in daily life as a post graduate. Or perhaps people believe college is a part of life where one finds out who they really are and what they are really interested in, as not everyone who applies to college knows exactly what they’ll be studying and focusing on during their time there. For me, I personally see the purpose of college in my eyes to be one that helps an individual become more independent and less reliant on others to help them out all the time. During my time in college so far, I’ve learned skills that will assist me in the future to not be as dependent on others as I have been before. In addition, college has also helped with motivating myself to be more creative and take approaches that I normally would not have considered in the first place. While a strong independence is important, it is also vital to obtain strong social skills, too. College has also helped me develop these skills through courses I am taking and simply being around other students constantly. Essentially, there is no single concrete purpose of college when everyone has different perspectives and goals in mind. In fact, one person’s own purpose of college may just as well be an obstacle to another person. Some people may not enjoy focusing on a single field to major in, while others strive to narrow down their work consistently in a sole area. All in all, the purpose of college is simply an open-ended topic that has varying answers depending on the person you ask.

  5. Deep Patel April 26, 2019 at 8:46 pm #

    The price of college has increased every year and thousands of students are in debt for years after they graduate. With more and more occupations requiring an advanced education, a college degree is critical to a student’s success in today’s workforce. College degree earns more on average than someone without one. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics workers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $464 more per week than workers with just an high school diploma. That may not seem much to some people, but it adds up as every year goes by. Also, workers with a college degree are less likely to face unemployment once you find that first job. It leads to more career stability and according to BLS data just 2.7% of workers with a bachelor’s degree are facing unemployment. Personally, college is getting very expensive but my parents did not have a chance to go to college so they worked very hard and long hours just to provide for my sister and I and just seeing that makes me motivated to get a degree so I will not have to be in the position they were at. In today’s society a high school diploma will not get you a reliable job for you to have a home, create a family, or even have time to enjoy life and see happiness.
    However, college is way too expensive for some families to afford. At the same time, a majority of college graduates say that college has been a great investment for them personally. Also, student loans as debt is a major issue with going to a university. Many students who leave college have substantial debt and most of them have a hard time paying off that debt. It makes it harder for recent graduates to pay for other bills, or buy a home, and even go on a vacation. I believe college is a benefit not only will it help you set up for the future, but it will build character. It helps acquire good work ethic and helps with communication and organizational skills. I believe there is a purpose of going to college it really helps you prepare for the adult life and helps students manage their assets. Not only will college help set you up for the future it will help generate a stable income for graduating students. I have learned so much in my three years at Seton Hall University than I have learned throughout my entire life before college. I learned new technology that will help me in the future as technology is taking over the world. Also, I have learned how to manage my finances and my communication skills have improved drastically. I learned how to present in front of people and also enjoyed connected with my peers. Therefore, I believe a college education is important as it will help set up students for the rest of there lives.

  6. Daniel Gibson April 26, 2019 at 8:54 pm #

    I never really thought much of college until junior year of highschool. I always knew I wanted to do something involving business and seton hall ended up being the choice. As we grow up, people just assume that they need to work crazy hard in high school, to get to best college possible, so that they get a guaranteed job. Employers these days don’t really care as much now about what school you come from. They care more about experience and practical skills. Sure, a college degree might indicate they your capable of great things, but doesn’t mean you’re the right fit for that job. I think college is more about growing up, learning what matters, and just enjoying yourself. After a year here, I can say some classes have actually taught me valuable skills, while some were just to get done.

    The thing is that college degrees are becoming a must in the world we live in, because of the population. It’s still possible to be successful without it, but it’s much harder. That doesn’t mean you need to get straight A’s. I think its good when people fail or make mistakes in school, because their able to learn from them. It’s all about getting yourself out there and finding what you love must. Everyone is different which is why everyone is capable of different things. Some people know what that passion is as a kid, or it might take years to come. College is set up for you to have fun and explore what you like doing. It’s about being independent in life, and learning real life situations. People need to start realizing that college doesn’t mean a guarantee good job. I think it’s crucial for high school seniors to understand the amount if money each institution is and how you will be able to finalize it. It really all comes down to look long term.

  7. Divyaa Sarin April 27, 2019 at 7:41 pm #

    The purpose of college is a very controversial issue. Many believe that college will help secure an individual’s future, by receiving a higher education. Other’s may believe that college is a waste of time and money. The opinion all matters on the individual. Personally, I believe that an individual can only form an opinion about college after attending college. I agree with the author in the article that the purpose of college is to receive a higher level of education in order to improve ourselves, for some that may be a high paying job. The diploma received at the end of four years of college, shows future employers that we can perform the work designated to our specific profession. When a person doesn’t have a college education, there is no guarantee that they will be able to perform the same level work as an individual with one.

    Often times, people argue that colleges don’t prepare individuals for the working life because there is no work experience involved. I completely disagree with this because many colleges require students to have at least a few internships in order to graduate. I believe internships are great to learn about the environment you want to work in. Of course, you don’t get paid, but you do get paid with experiences! Some people would just rather work jobs than get an education because they think that’s easier. No high-paying jobs give jobs out to people without education easily. There are a few cases of college dropouts becoming billionaires, like Mark Zuckerberg, but that’s a one in a million-life time chance. This doesn’t happen to everyone! Everyone has their own goals, which they develop once they attend college. Therefore, it is important to be secured by going to college and improving yourself for the future.

  8. Rayzan Alarashi April 30, 2019 at 1:36 pm #

    Is college worth it? The answer to that has been in question for the past several yeas now as college continues to get increasingly expensive. As college students, I’m sure we are all aware of the troubles that student loans can bring into our life. Currently in the U.S. there are 44 million Americans who have student loan debts equaling a total a sum of $1.56 trillion. That number alone begins to make people skeptical about whether college is really worth it if you have end up spending your whole life paying back loans. The issue has become so large that Bernie Sanders has made lowering cost of school the forefront of his presidential campaign. Bernie Sanders recently tweeted some statistics that truly put into perceptive how expensive college really is. Bernie claimed that “the boomer generation needed just 306 hours of minim wage work to pay for four years of public college, Millennial’s need 4,459”. I personally believe that anyone able to attend college should as it will put them on a better path to succeed in life. Despite that, not everyone necessary needs college as any people in the past have succeeded without it. Forbes recently published that out of the world’s 400 richest people, 63 only have a high school diploma. Chances are though that the average person isn’t Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs and don’t have the next biggest invention that will change the world so therefore college becomes a necessity. College will not only teach an individual the necessary skills to acquire job but will also teach important life skills such as being able to think critically, communicate effectively, and even find their purpose in life. As Professor Shannon always says, when in college we are surrounded by some of the world’s most intelligent people and that the time we spend in college should be used to constantly learn more skills that will prepare us for the real world. Personally, I believe the purpose of college is a mix of both learning fundamental skills for our particular fields and finding our purpose in life. College is the best time for people to find out more about themselves and what they truly want to do in life. That’s why everyone should at least give college a try even if they don’t initially feel it’s right for them.

  9. Claudia Ralph May 1, 2019 at 8:09 pm #

    Ever since I was little, going to college was in the cards for my two siblings and myself. My parents not only made sure that we were all well-educated, they made it on of their highest priorities in life. To give you an idea of how important secondary education is in my lineage, if were not to get a graduate degree, I would be breaking four generations of tradition in my Dad’s family. My Great Grandfather had his masters, my Grandfather has his doctorate, my Grandmother has her master and my Dad went to law school. It is not that simply college was expected, it was that I was bred by my parents to go to college. This is in contrast to my Mom’s family, a tight-knit group of Italian immigrants of whom my Mother was the only of her three sisters to complete college and the first one in her family to do so.
    I most certainly had a choice of going to college, but mostly it was expected that I was attending college. I looked at my family and said to myself, “I will go to college mostly for my own desire to learn more, but also to continue the excellence of my Dad’s family and to seize the opportunity that many in my Mother’s family did not have.”
    This mentality though still has me questioning if going to college is worth it for every. I never scuff at someone in my upper-middle class town for going a non-traditional route because honestly, if the job I wanted to do didn’t require a degree, I don’t think that going to school would be in the cards for me. We do need people that are in non-traditional routes to do jobs that do jobs that require trade school or another way of specialized learning. For the amount of time, effort and money that is contributed to my undergraduate education, I would not be here unless I really wanted to.
    But that doesn’t change the fact that I am surrounded by people every day who question why they are here. Are they here because someone else wants them to be? Are they here because it was just the traditional route for everyone from their high school? For the amount I watch people be unhappy and uncommitted to school, I wish that they would sit down and ask themselves, “is college really worth it for me?”

  10. Ashley Bock May 2, 2019 at 3:50 pm #

    What is the Purpose of college? Well, as a second semester freshman in college I believe there is no hard answer distinguishing the purpose from either job training or life training. I feel it is both; this because for most individuals, college is a wake-up call to four plus years of finding out what you want to pursue in life and what kind of person you want to be while pursuing that job, or life goal. It is for this reason that I agree with the article that, “achieving purposeful work may indeed be the purpose of college” (Forbes.com). This is because as I stated many young adults go to college to find their purpose or their passion and prepare for a job that they would want to pursue and enjoy for the better part of their life. This Forbes article highlights a study that gives evidence for both sides, whether college is for finding a better job or to focus on developing life skills. The Gallup Bates study said that “Eighty percent of college graduates say it’s important to derive a sense of purpose from their work. Yet, only 38% of graduates strongly agree they have discovered work that has a satisfying purpose” (Busteed). What does this mean? Well, this tells us that most people find value in the purpose of their work and bottom line all aspects of college are what allowed these graduates to have purpose in work and life. So, when one asks the question of what the purpose of college is, it is fundamentally answered with an answer that college creates a whole person; one who is capable, educated and well-rounded as well as ready to take on the challenges of life.

  11. Lillie Moran May 2, 2019 at 5:19 pm #

    I have been told all of my life that if you get straight A’s, go to a good college and graduate, you’ll get a job. And to me, there is no disputing this fact; however, I was also always told that if you concentrate with a certain major, then you are more likely to succeed. While reading this article, I found a lot of correlations to my freshman year, and no way to better reflect on what I have learned throughout this year than reading about what my purpose is now as a college student. The article hints to the major conflict but doesn’t really dive into it. Coming into college, I had no desire to be a business major, in fact, I hate the idea of wasting four years of my life as a business major, but I was told that the only way I’d become successful is if I majored in Accounting or Finance, so that’s what I did. I hated math and I hated the idea of spending years of my life in a cubicle, sorting through Excel files, but a voice in the back of my mind told me that this was the only way I was going to make money. My freshman year has just touched onto the major of Finance, but I am already starting to see the applications and process of obtaining this major, and I hate it. But, for me, there’s really no other choice.

    We are told the purpose of college is to go and get a good job and this is largely due to the major; however, I don’t think this is an accurate assumption. My father, a hardworking man all of his life, went to college as a Political Science and History major. He has always told me the story of how things won’t be handed to you, you must take it upon yourself to earn what you want. Now, my father is currently the Vice President of two divisions of a local bank in North Carolina- government lending and leasing- where he makes a substantial amount of money as well as a higher-standard of living. My father is a living example of how college can prepare you in some respects, but it is really only there to prepare you to realize who you are as an individual. Going through his time as a college student, my father realized that he wasn’t meant to spend time as a politician or a professor of history, but instead, someone who loves to communicate to people and find the best solutions to situations. His story has helped me develop what I think the purpose of college is. I believe the purpose of college is to shape you into the person that you are, and to me, I am meant to be a leader. This year has taught me a lot, but it has mostly taught me that college is the real world, and in the real world, you need to know who you are. I have discovered my passion for public speaking and communicating with people, and I intend to pursue this after I graduate in 2022.

  12. Cameron Kharazmi May 2, 2019 at 8:48 pm #

    With the current economic climate that pins student loan debt as one of its most pressing issues, it is fair that many in society would doubt college as a viable option to financially secure themselves for the future. After all, a person who starts their career after high school and decides against college would save themselves from probable student loan debt for the rest of their lives, despite the low wages they would initially make. Additionally, with the college admissions atmosphere growing increasingly more competitive with many eyeing top nationally ranked schools as the path to success, pressure and fear of failure fills the hearts of potential college applicants, discouraging them of applying in the first place. What I found interesting about this article was the mention of the mixing of motives related to going to college by the author. In which I do side with the author, because I believe a lot of the criticism related to going to college involves the motives from those who do not quite understand college today. My experience in college has involved both popular motives, as I believe I have not only drawn conclusions about where I want to go in my life and career, but also believe I have gained valuable lessons and knowledge from my courses and organizations on campus that will be valuable for jobs in the future. I also believe I have come into school with a purpose, which is to enhance my network, learn marketing abilities, and learn the law in order to enter the music industry and handle music licensing and contracting. As such, I agree that those who enter college with a purpose will be more satisfied (as backed up by the statistics) and therefore consider college to be worth it. Most of the backlash I see against going to college always seems to come from those who went to college long ago, or have found some career where they did not need college. That is not the case for the current millennial and Gen Z generations, who I believe should pursue college in order to find the career that satisfies their life purpose, which I believe is the most important thing.

  13. Diamond Vasquez May 2, 2019 at 9:28 pm #

    ”What’s the Purpose of College?,” an article published by Brandon Busteed on Forbes, really shows the true purpose(s) of college. Basically, it is not a question of whether or not college is really worth it, but what the purpose of college is. It may not be for everyone, but for those that do decide to attend a university think that college could either help them gain a better job or gain a better life experience. Well, the truth is that college does both. According to this article, “College is about both preparing people for a job (and helping them advance their careers and earnings) and to thrive in their overall lives.” He also highlights some interesting facts and statistics in this article, some including the following:

    1) “Eighty percent of college graduates say it’s important to derive a sense of purpose from their work.”
    2) “For graduates with low levels of purpose in their work, only 6% are thriving in their overall well-being. But graduates with high purpose in their work are ten times more likely to be thriving in their well-being (59%).”
    3) “The two top drivers of a graduate achieving purpose in their work are whether they had an applied job or internship and someone who encouraged their goals and dreams during college.”

    From a very young age, I already knew that I wanted to go to college. I am actually the first one, out of five children, in my family that is going to graduate from college, obtaining both a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in accounting. I remember my parents telling me that going to college can help obtain a career, leading me to a better future and a better life. As I was reading this article, it made me think of what my parents have always told from a kid until now, and they are right. I definitely agreed with what Busteed argued on that it is not an either/or debate, but it is a both/and argument. Just from my first year of college, I have learned some very valuable life lessons, along with lessons that could help me when going into my future career as an accountant. I found this article very intriguing, and I would definitely recommend others to read this article, especially those who are planning on attending college or those who are indecisive on attending college.

  14. Kevin Metz May 2, 2019 at 10:54 pm #

    This article insists that instead of asking the question, “is college worth it?” we should really be asking, “what is the purpose of college?” It then goes on to explain statistics on graduates’ purpose in life and the work force and how a purposeful job in the end, makes them happier. This is where I believe the article took a wrong turn. The author had skipped the most crucial reasoning for going to college in the first place, which is getting a good job. Sure, the article explains that getting a purposeful job will make the graduate happier and over all have a more purposeful well being but the part that they missed is that you can get a job without attending college. So why do people choose to study higher education? So they can get the better job, whether “better” is interpreted as more purposeful or higher paying or something they enjoy. The fact of the matter is, it is hard to get a job covering one of the three criteria if you don’t have a college degree to put on your resume. So what is the real purpose of college? It is not to have a purposeful or happy life directly, yes that is a long term goal, but the most important reason and main purpose is to get your degree in order to get a better job opportunity then you would have gotten if you would have applied directly out of high school without any internships or a higher education.

  15. Peter Honczaryk May 3, 2019 at 10:49 am #

    I always like to ask people the same question this article poses because of the variety of answers I get which usually are just the same responses, find a job, get an education, or because they were encouraged to do so. I always say that the reason I go to college is because I would hate to have to work as a warehouse employee making little money and getting not satisfaction out of it. The job I do now is my own personal drive to want to better my life so that in the future I do not have to work as hard with my back but instead with my mind. I always have to find new and creative ways to be better than the other person because I hate to admit it but I am not the smartest person in the room, but I always look for ways to outsmart the smartest person in the room. College gives that opportunity for me to see what kind of people I will be trying to compete with to get a job. I always feel like this is a one for all where you have to outsmart everyone even if you are not the smartest person in the room. Its also interesting to talk to those people who do say that college is not for them because they would rather work with their hands. That is what everyone I work with says, that they want to get in jobs like construction but are having a hard time getting out of the warehouse. Even when they do say they like working with their hands, they will always complain how they hate the job they are doing which is simply working with your hands and when I point out that they are being hypocritical, they try to find a way to say that they don’t fully mean it and they just don’t like the way the job is run. I always tell people I hate what I do and that I don’t like working with my hands and would much prefer an office job. That is my drive to why I am in college, so that I do not have to work hard labor for little pay. Hopefully things will work out well for me and I will get what I want.

  16. Daibelis Acevedo May 3, 2019 at 11:58 am #

    Right off the bat I can tell that this article was going to be an interesting one, especially because of the first paragraph. As someone who worries constantly about the future and money, sometimes the purpose of college does get lost in the mix. It’s hard to constantly remember why you are doing something when all you see at the moment is the investment of money and time that is being put into it. Writer Brandon Busteed does a great job at explaining how college is not just something one should accomplish for the purpose of their job but also for the purpose of their overall life. For most college kids, their parents fill their thoughts with the idea that if you want a good job you have to go to college and that’s the one and only reason why we go to college. Having that idea in your head is actually not a good thing and it’s because of the simple fact that it is not enough to motivate someone to feel like college is worth it. Like I mentioned before, it’s easy to lose the purpose in the midst of everything else. As we all know, college has become a big-time investment and it’s nowhere near what it costed years ago. Since the times have changed and people see the amount of money that it cost to receive an education and get that degree, there needs to be more than just a good job in the very far future.
    I really enjoyed reading this because personally I find myself stressing the idea of college and thinking about how important it is to be here. I know that at the end of the day, I am doing it for a good reason, and these are the years where I am supposed to learn the most and get ready for my future as an adult. An important quote that I know will stick with me is “find the most purpose in and from work” (Busteed). Having purpose is a very important element of life, it’s a sense of motivation, and of course guidance. Not a lot of people focus on their purpose or understand why they are even doing somethings and in the long run, this will not lead to progress and a purposeful life. Sometimes college is not as helpful and as productive as one wishes it could be, the article reads, “college is both preparing people for a job and to thrive in their overall lives” (Busteed). There are times when I have been placed with a professor who was extremely unmotivated and uninspired. Although college is supposed to really prepare us for a thriving, and successful life, professors like these are like a bump in the road and might even take away that purpose or motivation from the student’s mind. Thankfully this professor did not affect my work ethic or the way I think about college and I simply understood that not everyone is going to be a great person. To conclude, the entire college experience is supposed to shape a young adult into a future thriving and successful adult. Even though it is easy to forget why college is important and what it’s real purpose is, I’ll always think back to this article and how helpful it was in snapping me back to reality.

  17. Alexander Dornbierer May 3, 2019 at 2:10 pm #

    Back in the 1970s and 1980s when my parents went to school, a college degree wasn’t needed to receive a job. But in today’s world, a college education is vital in the job search. A job that would only need a high school diploma now needs a college degree. People are now starting to even think if college is worth it. With the tuition of both state and private schools growing and the growing interest rate on student loans the price for attending college is getting so extravagant people are contemplating if the investment is worth pay out. Why pay $125,000 in tuition payments to get a job that pays $60,000 a year. The article discusses the two different views that people have on college. One view is that college prepares the student for a job. Giving them the certain skills in order to succeed in their future jobs. Another group say that college prepares the individual for success in life. Homing in their communication skills, critical thinking, and being prepared to live a fulfilling life. When looking at both of these options I believe that the purpose of college is to prepare the student for success in their career. Knowledge is a gift that you tale where ever to go, and college is the prefect place to gain such knowledge. Learning how to succeed in your up and coming career is more important than learning how to succeed in life. You can learn valuable life skills in many other areas of your life. You shouldn’t dedicate college to teaching yourself life skills over career skills. While some skills may be covered in both areas, I do believe that college is worth it when thinking of the knowledge that you are getting towards your future degree. With the raise of tuition and student loans, some people aren’t even going to college. I can see how they thinks that it is reasonable. Graduating with $100,000 in debt and paying it off until your 45 years old. Who wants to do that? I am lucky enough that I won’t have to worry about debt, that is something that I can never thank my parents enough.

  18. Raymond Wilkinson IV May 3, 2019 at 6:42 pm #

    This article resonates with me as I myself seriously contemplated going to college. Initially I saw no use in higher education. I felt it was just a waste of time and money. My parents, however, gave me no choice. It was either go to college or get out of the house. I left high school wanting to go straight into work and start making money. I felt I could make a better life for myself faster by joining a union and just jumping into work. Regardless of the fight I put up with my parents they stayed firm on their stance that college was mandatory. More high school graduates are going to college than ever, recent studies show 73.4 percent of high school graduates are going to college. So obviously college is important and even with rising tuition holds the same maybe even more value than it has. I can thank my parents for forcing me into college because after recent study I have learned that by going to college on average you will earn 1 million dollars more than someone has chosen not to over a lifetime. And by choosing to not go to college you are letting an extra 17,500 dollars go every year. College will always be necessary to advance in the world as a regular person. I feel the purpose of college is to continue your education and place yourself in a better situation to make a living in life. Below is a link with information on college grads vs high school grads https://www.cornerstone.edu/blogs/lifelong-learning-matters/post/do-college-grads-really-earn-more-than-high-school-grads

  19. Brandon Cassidy May 23, 2019 at 10:03 am #

    I have always thought of college as a necessity and as something that I must complete in order to start my life. I have never really put too much thought into “what’s the purpose of college”, I have always just figured that it’s something I have to complete. I think that this comes from the way that I was raised because all of my family has gone to college starting with my grandparents. If I decided not to go to college the rest of my family would look down on me causing me to feel like a failure.
    This article raises a very good point that we must be clear on the purpose of college in order to make the most of it. This is very hard for some individuals who are rushed into college right out of high school because these individuals may not have any idea of what they want to do with their lives when they enter college. This is becoming more and more prevalent in society as “recent studies show 73.4 percent of high school graduates are going to college” (Busteed). The results of being rushed into college can be disastrous because the individual being rushed may not discover what he or she is really passionate about until the end of his or her college career. Following this a situation is created where the individual is too deep into his or her current major or degree and he or she cannot change his or her major without spending more time and money on school. This is something that I think needs to be mentioned in this article because it seems to be a major trend in today’s society that needs to be addressed so that college graduates can find purposeful work.
    My biggest takeaway from this article is that “Helping graduates achieve purposeful work may indeed be the purpose of college” (Busteed). This seems to be entirely true today as those who get a chance to reflect on their experiences and partake in an internship, or work opportunity get the most out of college as stated in the article. This is most likely due to the fact that the person gets to see what type of work he or she will be doing when he or she graduates. By seeing what type of work the college student has more knowledge of the field, a valuable work experience and a professional network. All three of these concepts will help the student reflect and make a better career decision which will lead to the graduate finding purposeful work.

  20. Jessica F May 24, 2019 at 6:24 pm #

    What is the purpose of college? This Forbes article identifies two major ideas of the meaning of this, to help students find jobs and the other to help students become well rounded members of society. I agree with both of these points of view, but I think that you need one to support the other. While yes, the obvious main purpose of college is to gain the credibility and knowledge to obtain a job once you graduate, in order to be successful in that role students need to learn how to function in other capacities besides the content area they are going into. The experience of college plays into this. Having to live with a roommate, being responsible for getting up on time and cooking and managing a busy schedule. College teaches students more than business core or English, it teaches them practical skills they will use the rest of their lives. Living on campus gives students a chance to be on their own possibly for the first time in their lives, and that is a defining time for them. Students learn a lot about themselves when given all of the freedom they could possibly ask for, which molds them into who they truly are. They learn to problem solve real world problems with friends and roommates, how to handle adult situations, and more.
    Another aspect of college is learning how to become accustomed to the workplace and that future they strive for. Having an internship is a crucial part to a college career, especially to a business major. It doesn’t surprise me that the “the top two drivers of a graduate achieving purpose in their work are whether they had an applied job or internship and someone who encouraged their goals and dreams during college” because I experienced that firsthand. I had an internship this year, my first one, as well as a new mentor who was guiding me through the internship process. Without having the encouragement from my mentor, and the sense of purpose given to me from my internship and all of the benefits of it, I would not have been as driven as I was to do a good job. My purpose was not only to hopefully get a job offer out of the internship, but to live up to expectations set by myself, my mentor, and my supervisors at work. Having a purpose is a great driver, but college gives everyone such a different experience and everyone learns different things through their personal experiences and endeavors, that it is hard to determine whether its purpose is to spit out workers, or functional members of society. It all depends on how you take the experience and work with it and how the student makes it their own.

  21. Julia Collins May 24, 2019 at 10:27 pm #

    As I near the end of my college career and reflect on my experiences and memories that I’ve made thus far, I’ve started to conclude just how important a college education is. My parents did not go to college nor did they force me to attend. I wanted to go because I knew that I wanted to further my education and gain a once in a life time experience. College helps individuals find themselves and figure out their strengths and weaknesses. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I first came to college. I had to experience a little bit of everything until I knew what I was really passionate about. It wasn’t until the middle of my sophomore year that I chose marketing as my major. As referenced in the article ‘What’s the Purpose of College’, “Work is not just about a paycheck; it’s also about a purpose. Helping graduates achieve purposeful work may indeed be the purpose of college” (Busteed). I truly believe that everyone should enjoy what they’re doing because you’re going to be doing it for a while and no one should be miserable at work.
    With that being said, I agree with author Brandon Busteed that we should focus on what the purpose of college is rather than whether college was worth it or not. College is not for everyone and I personally think that not every job should require a college degree. Jobs such as an executive assistant and other jobs can be learned through on-the-job training. It is ridiculously expensive to go to school and a majority of us end up in school debt which causes a lot of stress. It’s not easy to find a job after school either, and many individuals aren’t lucky enough to get a job right away. In my opinion, jobs such as Doctors and Lawyers should still require a degree because the field calls for a level of risk that is just too high to learn on the job. Nevertheless, in today’s society everyone needs to get a degree in order to have a decent job and make a decent living because the number of college graduates is soaring. Even if school is not for you, in order to be a competitive candidate for a, we all need a degree.

    Busteed, Brandon. “What’s The Purpose Of College?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23 Apr. 2019,

  22. Nicole Briones June 7, 2019 at 10:39 pm #

    For me, not going to college has never been an option. Although neither of my parents graduated from college, I could never see myself not going because I was always told that without a degree, I would not get a good job. But as much as people might push you to go to college and continue your education, they fail to mention the many, many loans that will come with your degree. For most of us, paying $40,000-$70,000 a year for four years is almost impossible, so we opt to take out loans to cover our tuition. This quick fix might seem great at the time, but what we, as 18-year-olds ready to work towards our degree aren’t told is that interest rates can almost double the amount of your loans, and you are charged interest before you even have graduate. Also, many people have trouble finding jobs after graduating and many of them do not even make enough to try and catch up with their college debt. I think the stigma around not having a college degree is extremely unfair. Many people are very quick to assume that people do not go to college because they are lazy, when in reality, the average American cannot afford these ridiculously high tuitions. There is about $1.56 trillion in student loan debt in the United States and about 44.7 million Americans make up this debt. People also consider those who have college degrees as being more superior or more intelligent than those who do not. Studies have shown that most employers will not even consider someone without a degree depending on the position.
    I do understand that college is important, because many career paths do require in depth knowledge of certain subjects such as doctors who are constantly learning new things every day, but I have also heard the phrase “once you get out of college you won’t need to know that, you will learn everything you need to know on the job.” Having this said to you and even having this in the back of your mind really makes you question if college is even necessary. Now a days, the internet can even educate you on most things. So, this really makes me question if college is even necessary and ask myself why we are not just taught the necessary things and leave out having to take general classes in college and learning things we will not need. I personally prefer hands on learning methods rather than listening to a lecture for hours. I feel like this style of teaching is a lot more effective because it allows you to be forced to focus on the task that you are completing. Some of the world’s most innovative and wealthy people were college drop outs. For example, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all did not complete college. They are some of the world’s most wealthy and successful people, and they are a prime example of learning things on the job.
    As expensive as college might be, it gives you endless opportunities that you most likely would not have gotten elsewhere. Being able to build relationships with your professors that have had years of experience in their fields is extremely beneficial. Also, colleges do make it a priority to expose you to employers and give you the opportunity to get your foot in the door which can be extremely helpful for those who are more introverted. On the other hand, for those who might not have access to these opportunities, there are social media platforms that are geared towards allowing professionals to network such as LinkedIn. Not only are there social media platforms to help you network, but also attending local conferences about specific topics you are interested in can allow you these same opportunities.
    In conclusion, as important and beneficial as college might be, I do think that there are more negatives than positives. Because we live in generation that is very technology and data driven, almost anything can be learned by simply googling it. Also, college debt can be a life- long stressor, as well as not being paid as much as you expected graduating from college, and even not being able to find a job. I think that there have been many success stories from people who did not attend college, but I also feel as if now a days it is almost necessary when finding a job because you are respected and valued more than those who do not have a degree.

  23. Brandon Medici June 11, 2019 at 6:31 pm #

    I didn’t have a choice when it came to college. Both of my parents went to college, though only one of them graduated, and the reason why they wanted me to go to college was so I would have an easier time finding a job. The purpose of college is to prepare students for the real world and help them find a career in the field they wish to study. Also, people of any age can enroll into college, as long as they graduated high school, if they want to get a degree so they can get a better job to support themselves and their family, if they have one, because someone can only go so far up in a job without putting in the extra effort to move up, so a college degree would help someone move up in a company more easily, and the result would be getting a better pay. Lastly, I agree with the author when he said that with cost of college tuition rising, people have been considering if it is worth going to college because they would be paying a lot of money for college tuition, and it would be a waste of money if they feel that college is not helping them in the slightest.
    I agree with Nicole Briones that most professions require a college degree because professions like being a doctor or a lawyer, requires an in depth understanding of the subject that the profession is in. In order to become a doctor or a lawyer, people would need a bachelor’s degree in their respected major, then they would have to go to grad school to get their masters, and they would also have to have some experience in their field from either through volunteering or through an internship. Lastly, I agree with Brandon Cassidy that the article makes a good point that we have to understand the purpose of college to make the most out of it because if college students do not know the purpose of college, then they would not have good time at school because they will end up stressing themselves out trying to get everything under control without asking for a\help or advice.

  24. Tiffany Lyn September 6, 2019 at 12:10 am #

    Parents and students both wonder whether college is worth the cost but before answering that question they must understand the purpose of college. College prepares a person for work and makes them more appealing to the job market. It also gives the person life experience which makes them deeper thinkers, better communicators and successful in their profession. My parents think differently about how necessary college is. My mom doesn’t have a high school diploma or any college experience, but she independently immigrated to two countries by the time she was 22 years old. She views college as a certification that allows a person to work the high skilled job they want. I’ve learned from her path that real job experience, traveling, speaking more than one language and having confidence in my abilities can take me far. She’s told me she doesn’t care whether I attend college or not. She would still be supportive of me if I attended trade school or enlisted in the military. Productivity and a plan for the future is important to us both. My dad has a degree in accounting and knows college teaches self-discipline ad also shows employers one is capable of showing up on time, producing good work and communicating effectively with others. With that being said, his career has no correlation to his degree, nor does it require one. He places value on the respect people who earn degrees automatically get from other people. He has both white collar and blue collar work experience and that has exposed him to many different people/lifestyles. I think college is completely optional because I don’t see the purpose in spending thousands of dollars and many years of learning toward something with little personal value. I want to be in college and earn a business degree to work a corporate job. I’ve actually found more enlightenment working real jobs rather than being in a classroom. I cannot stand my retail job but after speaking to my stores district manager I see myself working a job like that. I also baby sit for a professional football player. Sports/sports management have never been on my radar but after speaking to my employer I think working for a sports firm is an ideal job. College is only worth it to a person who values it and is willing to dedicate years to earning it.

  25. Jackson Beltrandi September 6, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

    As college degrees become less valuable, and more expensive, most intelligent consumers are re-evaluating the ROI from college. It is evident that a college education is more important than it was a few decades ago, but many new high school graduates are reconsidering signing up for at least four more years of expensive learning. Personally, during my application process and just high school in general, I was very lazy and did not care about my future that much. I listened to what my parents and guidance counselors would say and ended up at Seton Hall. I can answer one thing for sure, college gave me an extra year to figure myself out and grasp what I aspire to be for my career choice. The stigma around college is that you are paying among thousands of dollars just to get a job to pay that off. While that partially may be true, college is more than just getting a job. This article highlights that those who are more driven and passionate about their education, get ten times more out of their college experience. Brandon Busteed, the author of the article, explains that college not only serve a job-seeking purpose, but ALSO a enlightenment experience. Those who just go to class and have tunnel vision on acquiring a job out of college, do not thrive with any elements of life. The overwhelming amount of college students studied in this survey found that it is essential to find a sense of purpose from their work: “For graduates with low levels of purpose in their work, only 6% are thriving in their overall well-being. But graduates with high purpose in their work are ten times more likely to be thriving in their well-being (59%)!” This glaring statistic explains that in order to get both a job and a life-enlightening experience out of college, those who attend college must be driven to learn, and be passionate about what they are studying. Just because someone graduates college, they are not ready to be successful in life. In the essence of this article, success comes from being driven in your work and being satisfied that what you are doing is making a positive difference.

  26. Emily Rodger September 6, 2019 at 1:36 pm #

    What is the purpose of college? The answer to this question varies from person to person. In previous generations, college was not a necessary means to get a well paying job. In today’s day and age, it seems to be almost impossible to get a decent job without some sort of degree in hand. For me, college seemed to have always been apart of the plan. I think that college is a beneficial experience and will definitely be worth my time, but I also know that it is not for everyone. Especially today, college can be very costly, and not everyone in society can afford to go. There have been many cases of people who have not gone to college, and still are well off in life even without the degree. Experiences like these make me question whether college is truly worth it. Why am I spending thousands of dollars to gain an education just for a piece of paper? If someone were to ask me what I thought the purpose of college was, I do not think I could give a true answer. Honestly, I do not know which side of the debate I believe more in. College is good for both gaining an education and for life experiences, but I am not 100 percent certain if it is really a necessity to becoming successful. Especially since the rise of social media, many people also known as “influencers” have become successful and well off in life without the need of a college degree. Overall, the purpose of college is what the individual makes of it. Some people value it fully and believe it is the way to living a successful life. Others believe there is no purpose to college at all and choose to find a way to be successful without it. In the end, the purpose of college is different for every single person within society.

  27. Mia Ferrante September 6, 2019 at 2:30 pm #

    The price of attending a college or university continues to rise every year and many students are left paying for their student loans years after they graduate. With more and more occupations requiring a degree, attending college is crucial to a student’s success in today’s workforce. Finding a well-rounded job that pays well and has good benefits for the rest of your life is nearly impossible to find without a college degree nowadays. Although it does seem like many students are going to college to find a well-paying job that will ultimately pay off their student loans, but it might not be a job that they genuinely enjoy. College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, and I know for me that I don’t want to spend four-plus years studying to get a degree that I will not use in the future, which I feel is becoming more and more common. Students choose a topic of study without knowing what their future job truly entails, and they find themselves unhappy in the career they are pursuing. This often leads to them finding a different job in which their degree is not needed, which doesn’t necessarily mean four years of college was a waste, but they put in all the time, effort, and money for something they could’ve gone without. So to answer the question, “what is the purpose of college” I do not believe there is a direct answer. One’s purpose of college differs from person to person. Some are just in it for the fun, and others are going to college to pursue their dream job. Personally, college is something that has always been an option for me. Neither of my parents went to college, and they managed to be successful, yet they strongly urged me to go to college to further my education because it’s something they wish they had done. I come from a large family, but I am the only one who is on track to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. I am also the youngest in my family and I know that 10, or even 20 years ago college was an option, but many people did not find it necessary to find a job that made them successful that pays for their cost of living. I am grateful to have the opportunity to go to school 400 miles away from home and get the support I have from my family and friends because I know some kids dream of that. In just my second year at Seton Hall, I have learned so many things about myself that I did not learn in my prior 18 years of life, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to be here.

  28. Zachary Crockett September 13, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

    The age-old question, is college worth it? Throughout generations, society’s stigma has only grown with the importance of college. The 21st student has been affected by it the most. College no longer feels as an option, but as a necessity. The verbatim is lodged into our skulls throughout elementary, middle school, high school and even college of achieving higher education. It is to believe and not question that the higher the education, the higher the job security. Statistics will prove this to be true, but does college reveal who we truly are? Does college, at the end all, allow us to be happy with our career choice? As a sophomore in college, and very well more educated than I was before entering this institution, how insane must it be to ask a teenage boy or girl to decide their future for the rest of their life? College represents a car with no brakes. As long as you are lucky to know your desired path and passion, you will be fine, but what if you are a junior, 75 credits in, and you decide that finance is not for you and medical is. Well, how can you possibly afford to redirect your decision? Colleges make it impossible to venture off into different ideas. With those 75 credits, most likely none of which, or if you are lucky a few transfer over, there is a low profitable or realistic chance of turning that car around and starting over. College, correctly, is about enhancing your work and social skills, but colleges seem to forget the purpose in allowing students to discover themselves. How could one possibly know their interest in medical when their only required course was a essentially a high school level physics course that they dreaded sitting in every drawn-out lecture by a professor who does not even know them, while cramming useless information into their brain. All in all, colleges do their due diligence by allowing students to perfect their life and work skills but fail to give them the oppurtunity to discover what truly and sincerely makes their existence worth living.

  29. Mikaela Battaglia September 13, 2019 at 4:27 pm #

    It is no secret that the price of attending college has become heavily inflated in the last few decades. There are many reasons for this, some being the innovation of new technology, government funding, and jobs who are seeking educated workers. However, the inflation price of college has become somewhat tacky. To get a good job nowadays, one must earn a degree from an esteemed college and in many cases, also a master’s degree in their specified field of study. Because employers are only looking for educated, well spoken, and hard-working individuals, college has become a necessity in most American’s lives to get a job.
    Although many see college as a great learning experience and one’s first step into independence, in many cases it does not prepare students properly for actual work in the real world. Many people have found that they were denied a promotion or job because of lack of knowledge that one believes they should learn in college. Also, many students who go to work right out of college find that they need to learn a lot more about what their job entails from their employers or just gaining more experience in general. They have to rely on their employers to teach them how to do the job they went to college four years to learn how to do. This is unacceptable, considering college is so highly esteemed nowadays.
    This article discusses the importance of graduates to have a feeling of purpose from their work which does indeed help when arguing the “purpose of college”. However, how much does college help students prepare for their real-world jobs? Unless a student interns at a firm or volunteers at a hospital, they will have no real exposure to the actual field that they are pursuing for their career. This is more so up to the student to seek out, rather than the college itself requiring certain hours spent observing and participating in their field of study.
    In general, the purpose of college is simple – to get a good job to be able to support oneself and any future endeavors. College has become the ticket into the real world, and without it one will not be taken seriously when applying for a job.

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