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Article Analysis: “Is College for Everyone?”

Although the article provides sufficient reasons as to why college education is not for everyone, it fails to acknowledge that part of the audience has both the desire and the capacity to pursue college education. It is titled “Is College for Everyone?” and it was written by Pharinet. It is contained in the book titled “Practical Argument: A Text and Anthology” written by Kirszner & Mandell, and published by Bedford/ST. Martin’s. The author is an educator and is thus well equipped with the knowledge on what students experience as they go through college. In fact, she incorporates personal experience with students and this gives a significant level of credibility to the article’s content. She aims to show why college education is not for everyone, but she fails to address the part of her audience that values and can afford education. Nonetheless, the topic is of importance at a time when the Obama administration has emphasized on the need for Americans to achieve college education to enable them to contribute to the growth of the economy.

The author starts by restating a common phrase that is intended to emphasize on the need for college education. Many people have at some point of their academic life been told “You won’t get anywhere without your education”. Over time, most people have gained the perception that college education is extremely important for one to live a good life. As the author notes, an increasing number of people has subsequently enrolled in post-secondary schools to gain the education that has been regarded as a key component of success in life. She disagrees with this notion arguing that whereas education is important and everyone is entitled to it, it is not necessary for all to get college education. To prove her argument, the author starts by giving statistics on the college drop-out rates in the US. According to her, about half of all those who start college education never pursue it to the point of graduating. These statistics are undoubtedly worrying and they get the reader to rethink on whether college education is indeed all that important. The author proceeds to argue that some students are not prepared for the financial and academic challenges that characterize college education, do not have the passion for the education, and as such, a different kind of education suits them better. Regarding academic and financial challenges, the author notes that college tuition is beyond the reach of many whereas there are also living expenses when one is pursuing college education. This claim is true. The National Center for Education Statistics documents that college tuition for a public institution rose from $7, 286 in 1983 to $ 15, 640 by 2013. Private institutions are even more costly rising up to $ 35, 987 by the same year. This implies that while some students would easily afford college education, an even greater number have to literally struggle to finance it. Here, the author notes that some students have had to look for full-time jobs that run concurrently with their full-time student status. Clearly, it would be hard for a student to manage such a hectic schedule if at all it is even possible. Subsequently, some students perform so poorly in class that they are evicted. It is for this reason that the author points out that “Perhaps, certain individuals should consider a different life choice”. After learning of the high cost of college education and the high rate of drop out, the reader is left convinced that indeed some people should look for other options to pursue other than the almost unaffordable college education.

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As an educator herself, when the author notes that some students who are attending college cannot read, the claim is credible. One of the arguments she makes and that relates to her experience in education is that colleges rely on high school transcripts and SAT scores instead of having an open admission policy. At this point, the reader reflects and realizes that it is actually the case; not all those who apply to a college get admitted. She adds that even those who qualify for admission, some of them were not strictly graded when graduating from high school. For others, even though they qualify for college, they only pursue this level of education to please their parents. In other cases, a student is simple not prepared for college education and the author argues that not even college prep classes are sufficient to address this problem. She particularly indicates that “..many students will fall victim to their first taste of freedom”. In all these claims, the author demonstrates her deep knowledge of the experiences and backgrounds of students who enroll in college. The reader notes that she has interacted with and observed students enough to understand the issues they have to deal with or are they exposed to.

The author also gives a statement that was pointed out by one of her students: that even “C’s” also obtain degrees. It is indeed true that even with a grade “C” in some of his courses, a student will still graduate. The result is a C degree and the author questions why such a student has to pursue the expensive college education more so if he lacked the desire to do it. More worrying is that such kind of performance may be carried over to the workforce. At this point, the reader realizes that dismal performance in college could be the cause of the similarly dismal performance at the workplace for some employees.

Even so, the article appears biased towards addressing only one part of the audience namely those who do not need college education. Despite being expensive, college education is still necessary for those who have a passion for professions that require such a level of education. The author argues that fork lift drivers, sales clerks, factory workers, and cashiers are needed in society. However, it is in the same way that lawyers, doctors, engineers, managers, and other educationally-demanding professions are required. As such, the author should have dedicated part of her article to addressing the group that desires to enter these professions. Her audience also comprises of students who are currently in college or are deciding whether to join college. She should have addressed them as well probably on how they can ensure they get the best value from college education.

In conclusion, even though the author supports her claims sufficiently, she does not balance her argument so that it addresses both sides of the view. It is true that some people are more suited to different types of education, but there are also others who have both the desire and the potential to pursue college education. Notwithstanding, the fact that the author is an educator herself adds significant credibility to her article. Additionally, she includes content that points to her experience with students and in the education system. Statistics on the rates of college drop-outs are also awakening to the reality of the situation. If only she balanced her argument to address the entire audience, her article would have been eye opening. This is especially so at a time when a lot of emphasis is being placed on college education.

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