David authored this article for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy back in 2010. It remains relevant for those making decisions about where, or whether, to attend college.
I made a decision early on that college was about getting a piece of paper, not an education. My goal wasn’t to become a better-rounded individual, or even to gain a greater understanding of my major area of study. Rather, it was to gain the educational credential that employers now use as a screening device for most jobs. And my experience confirmed what I had expected—that post-secondary education today has only a lackluster ability to provide real value aside from that credential.
It’s critical to understand the true value of a college degree before embarking on an expensive voyage that may or may not get you where you want to go.