The News media and blogosphere filled with talk of the fallout of a college admission cheating scandal breaking last week in which wealthy parents are accused of paying bribes to make sure their kids get into an elite college such as Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, University of Texas, University of Southern California, and UCLA. This alludes to a bigger problem other than the fact that it is becoming an increasing belief that the only way to ensure the success of one’s kids it to not just get them into a college but one of the so-called elite colleges.
The belief that nothing less will do and if one’s kids do not get in then they are doomed to failure. While there are several things wrong with this view other than the fact that it is false, the scandal as I said alludes to something else.
That something else is the too much importance we as a society place on the going to and attaining a college degree in the first place to achieve financial and career success in life. For decades now our society from top to bottom has put a considerable emphasis on the importance of attaining a college degree to get a good paying job and have a successful career and life.
There is just one little problem with placing so much importance on achieving a college degree to meet any real success in life. The truth is that college is not for everyone nor does everyone need to get a college degree to find success in their life. Yes, a college education is important it is not the be all end all that we as a society have put it up as for so long.
Skills are also important, besides the option of “higher education” to get ahead in life there is also the option of trade schools or even on the job training for some professions. A lot of businesses will indeed higher promising candidates that don’t then have the required skills or knowledge necessary for the job required and will train them for the job.
If we as a society did not put so much importance on the “need” to have “higher education” in the first place to get ahead in life, then the chances of there being a cheating scandal where parents feel the need to cheat and bribe to make sure their kids end up in a good college in the first place. There is only a perceived need to have one’s kids attend an elite college because of the perceived certainty that college is the only way to success and a good, well-paying career in life. Going to college is a great experience to have along with the education that doing so represents but it is not always what is best for everyone.