Rethinking Higher Education: Should Everyone Go to College

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Is college what it once was? Are college students genuinely happy because they are attending college? Does a higher education mean a bigger salary for everyone? Many might argue, therefore, that this is not technically true. One person who has witnessed, heard, and surveyed college students, professors, and administrators is the person of a woman named Caroline Bird. A traveling lecturer, as well as an author of a book entitled “The Case Against College” (1975), as well as a reading piece entitled “College Is a Waste of Time and Money” (2017), has attended many college campuses to lecture, as well as survey the administration and its colleges professors. Caroline Bird, author of “College Is a Waste of Time and Money” (2017), not only tries to persuade people into believing that college is a waste of time, hard-earned money, and even potential but also focuses on hard facts why one might perceive college as being worthless in all aspects. A deeper look into the reading by Bird analyzes, compares, and concludes reasons and hard cold data of what once was a good reason to go to college and finish what it has now become.

Shifting Perspectives on College: From Promise to Doubt

The beginning of this short reading, “College Is a Waste of Time and Money” by Bird, directly informs everyone of what was once her outlook on college, what college meant for people, and how it has changed. Bird states in paragraph 3., “The Premise-which I no longer accept-that college is the best place for all high-school graduates.” This statement shows where her opinion resides on this matter. Bird has followed this statement with factual information on what was going on in the educational system and how people felt about education during the 50s,60’s, 70’s, and so on. When looking at the numbers, it is shown that the number of those enrolled is far less than it was years ago.

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Quote, “The rate of growth of the student population has begun to decline. Bird also stated on p.6., “Many institutions have begun to use Madison-Avenue techniques or to “hard sell” to attract students. This is informing people with facts because it is a fact that is believable. Everyone knows that universities promise and or guarantee that your money won’t be wasted because they offer many unique and great programs, which is just another scheme to get more students to enroll. One might argue that this isn’t entirely true, but when asking potential students or current students, one might agree with this statement because of one’s own experience. Students are going to college for all the wrong reasons.

The Uncertainty of Job Prospects and Industry Oversaturation

As Bird states on p.12, “So we temporarily get them out of the way by sending them to college where, in fact, only a few belong.” This implies that many students, including their own parents, quote, “don’t exactly know what they must do besides send the students to college even though one might not want to be there.” Very rarely, and very few kids, attend college for the right reasons. Many kids are there because they are free and are also free to socialize. Since when was a college goal to just get kids to make friends? Never. That’s why it’s just a waste of time.

When comparing future income to that of what a graduate would earn yearly after ten years to that of any normal person not attending college, saving money as an investment, both would be living an okay lifestyle. Par.26 has stated that (by a respected financial advisor) “A college education is among the very best investments you can make in your life.” Then, Bird mentions that it isn’t that “rosy,” implying that it’s not entirely true. This is certainly not true; that’s why Bird uses this analogy and compares it logically to someone who saves money every year and compares it to a graduate’s income. Par. 30 also mentions that there is no real evidence that a graduate’s high income is because of successfully completing a college degree. The biggest problem that college students face is that of finding a suitable and fulfilling job that will not wear them out.

Statistics show that these jobs are hard to come by. Well, in all honestly, any career field has been shown to offer a lot of competition in obtaining a position. So, why would one go to college just to be stuck with no luck in finding a suitable position? Therefore, it’s not accurate that anything because of a college degree is guaranteed, as stated in paragraph 45, “But there are no guarantees in these professions either.” Par.45 also states that The Department of Labor thinks that there will be an oversupply of graduating students every year. This implies that a job isn’t going to be guaranteed to any graduate fresh out of college. So, how beneficial is that piece of paper? One would have to make their own decision and stand on and about this topic.


During the entire reading, Bird is persuading people to rethink the outcomes that will come after graduating and is also persuading potential students to not only think of college as an option to succeed in this world. College isn’t just somewhere you go for the fun of it. Bird uses many analogies throughout the entire text. College is just another institution. It’s just another piece of paper that doesn’t guarantee you anything. Overall, why not use one’s time wisely and not waste it at an institution that doesn’t guarantee a life? College isn’t technically free, so if one can’t guarantee a graduate with a fulfilling job, why would one go and waste all their money? Why would one make that mistake? Caroline Bird, the author of this piece, has only created more questions for the reader. College shouldn’t be on everyone’s plate, just for the ambitious, of course.


  1. “The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money” by Bryan Caplan
  2. “Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life” by William Deresiewicz
  3. “The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere” by Kevin Carey
  4. “Vocational Education and Training in Times of Economic Crisis: Lessons from Around the World” edited by Matthias Pilz
  5. “The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness” by Todd Rose

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Rethinking Higher Education: Should Everyone Go to College. (2023, Aug 29). Retrieved from

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