The Student News Site of Taipei American School




College is a scam


For many of us with the privilege of attending a private school, college is less of choice and more of a default. The majority of high school students spend years building up the perfect college application, always keeping the future in mind. Students often overlook the possibility that there are alternatives to college which lighten the burden a college education usually bring.

TAS has almost a 100% rate of matriculation to college; those who are not included in this percentage are usually doing mandatory military service prior to enrollment at a college. However, as a school, we are starting to see more interest in programs unlike the traditional four-year undergraduate route that most students take. Colleges like Northeastern, Babson, NYU, and Yale now all offer unconventional programs that offer students a different kind of college experience, whether it be more immersive and hands-on or more career-oriented.

There are several reasons why college is a scam. First, college brings a massive amount of student debt. Second, the college you end up attending may not always align with your educational needs. Finally, desirable employment is very possible without a college degree.

According to Bloomberg, in 2016, student debt in America rose  to 1.31 trillion, and  had been increasing for 18 consecutive years. On average, a student at a public college will have acquired debt worth 25,550 USD;  for private colleges, 32,300 USD.  

Mr. Neill reasons that “many students spend great amounts of money that they do not have through student loans in order to obtain an undergraduate degree that should be the launchpad to the next phase of their education; however, instead, they are mired by these loans in a way that can impede their ability to be continuous, lifelong learners. In the end, they overpay for an undergraduate degree that stifles their ability to pursue additional education, such as a master’s degree, which is essential in many areas of the economy.”

Aside from the cost, several  students who make the choice not to go to college because it is not the form of education they seek. Oliver F. (11) says that since “technology, in every respect, is moving far too quickly for education institutions to predict what career choices might be available for students after graduating,” he has seriously considered not going to college. He asserts that he would rather have real world experience in working, possibly straight out of high school, than spend his years in a traditional college, memorizing terms and writing papers.

Employment is most likely the biggest issue college graduates want to tackle, having spent the greater portion of a decade trying to build up a pretty college application and then a pretty job application. Nevertheless, some companies are beginning to recognize that what a person appears as on paper is not an accurate representation of how they would perform in jobs, and that it doesn’t matter where you went to college. Celebrated for their very unique interviewing process, Google claims that they do not necessarily consider going to an Ivy League school as an achievement, and that they have found other employees who have performed just as well as Ivy League graduates. Ernst & Young, a UK accounting firm, declared in 2015 that it would stop requiring employees to have a college degree because it found no correlation between academic success and performance. Instead, they provide job candidates with tests that sample the work they would perform if they were to be hired. Companies are all searching for job candidates that fit the description they are looking for, whether it be the ability to perform the job, personality, or fit to the job environment — all of which is not necessarily determined by a college degree.

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