College Education - Professional Preparation or Social Integration?

Essay by MartellettiCollege, Undergraduate January 2004

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Before I begin tearing apart the educational system of an entire nation, I should first clarify that the term "college education" is very broad. A college education can range from a variety of different colleges, both public and private, small and large, from major cities or small towns. The types of majors also vary impressively. Majoring in medicine is not the same at all as majoring in social communication. But some similarities can be established. I can understand that certain professions require the student to learn acquire specific knowledge concerning the treatment of problems that may occur in the field. This could be the case for doctors or lawyers, who need to memorize books of material that may or may not be useful in the future. On the other hand, engineers sometimes have to learn complicated formulas which will later be futile when performing ordinary tasks during a day at work.

Some careers include required classes which most of the time seem useless when it comes to the labor that the person later will engage in. In this essay I will analyze the general factors of an education, trying to oversee criteria specific of a certain field of study.

The purpose of school is to prepare students for college, but not in the intellectual sense: most college graduates lack fundamental knowledge in areas of math or writing (this is most clear by analyzing ACT results around the country). Schools prepare kids and young adults for the responsibilities inherent in college. It gets students used to interacting with fellow classmates and professors, and provides them with basic social skills. The main purpose of grade school is to teach students that they are in charge of building their future, and in doing so the students are forced to...