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On having a dialogue

Anne Dalke's picture

Welcome!  This forum is a space for Parkway West  High School students and Bryn Mawr College students to create dialogue and explore ideas about education, social class, opportunity, and our futures.

Please use it to reflect on our shared visit:

  • what ideas or issues stood out to you from our conversation?
  • What surprised you and piqued your curiosity? 
  • What would you like to explore further? 


Jomaira's picture

College Drop-outs are the future of America?

Hi all,

Here's an article my friend sent me last night, it talks about college drop-outs and the skills they're able to obtain that they cannot obtain in a traditional educational setting. It think it has many interesting points. Let me know what you think.

lijia577's picture

Sometimes reading made me

Sometimes reading made me feel bad. For years, I tried so hard to be safe: maintaining GPA carefully, doing my homework carefully, and following teacher's instruction carefully. Now, I feel I am a coward because I am not brave enough to fail, while to fail is sometimes the necessary path to success. The claim made by the author is really challenging. Not all people need to be students who maintain their GPAs carefully without putting themselves out of the comfort zone, thus colleges as a safety net. The point is that we need to challenge ourselves and get some skills out class: "kills like sales, networking, creativity and comfort with failure." Colleges really did a good job in preventing failure: as a undergrat, we have Cr/Non-credit options, we can shop for classes, swap a class, even withdraw. As graduate students, we have supervisors, one or two advisers and mocking tests, etc. Nobody can rescue us in the job market or stock market... Now, I start to believe that to fail is necessary for us to succeed.

meggiekate's picture

After reading this article, I

After reading this article, I think I agree with his argument because if the goal of higher education is to provide people with jobs, higher education is failing at the moment. However I vehemently disagree with his assumption that the goal of education is to continue our capitalist economy and that by doing so, America will be "saved". I also disagree with his assumption that every college students' personal, main goal in life is earn a ton of money (or at least enough for a comfy lifestyle). After looking around on the author's website (Michael Ellsberg -, it seems to me that when it comes to the economy, he's just about treating the symptoms of the poor and unemployed within our current system and he's not so interested in getting to root cause of poverty. 

jrschwartz15's picture

I would definitely agree that

I would definitely agree that statements such as these perpetuate the idea that all that matters is money. While our world is very much centered around econimic conditions, it is not so for each individual. Especially in environments like Bryn Mawr, a lot of people seem to prioritize the education they're recieving over the material benefits of the degree.

Jomaira's picture

I wonder though if the

I wonder though if the example given in this article can even relate to me. All of the people that the article mention are white males. As a working-class, immigrant, woman of color, I feel like I NEED college to be legitimized. To me, college is a way of telling society that I'm worth listening to and that I'm also important, without it, I fear (know) I'd be ignored or even oppressed in America.

Sarah's picture

I love college/learning

I've seen a lot of college students describe college as a safety net, which is true, but also I would like to add to the mix that I chose to go to college because I wanted to learn and be in an environment surrounded but others who wanted to learn.  I specifically chose a liberal arts college because I wanted to learn about many disciplines/subjects.  So although I do agree that college is not necessary for everyone's success, for me personally, college is necessary but also very enjoyable and exciting.  

nbnguyen's picture

I agree with you, Sarah Goode

I agree with you, Sarah Goode

You are right to confirm that some jobs (doctors, engineer) do require specific training. It is alsolutely important that we have to go to college to be successful. However, to some other jobs, college education is not important at all. I admitted that I was the one who disagree with the statement "we need college to succeed". However, talking to you guys made me rethink my opinion. If I were you, I would have still chose to go to college. At the age of 18, most people, including me, don't know what they want to do with their lives. Hence, they don't know whether they need college degree or not. Hence, going to college in a way is considered a much safer choice and helps them to expose to many areas. Some successful people like Bill Gates or Steven Jobs dropped out of college. However, the difference between them and other street kids who don't go to college is that they have a dream and a clear goal for the future.

lijia577's picture

Reply to nbnguyen, Once I was

Reply to nbnguyen,

Once I was on your side and believed that "At the age of 18, most people, including me, don't know what they want to do with their lives. Hence, they don't know whether they need college degree or not. Hence, going to college in a way is considered a much safer choice and helps them to expose to many areas. " However, after reading this article, I start to think that sometimes, we don't know what to do is because we go to college. The truth is that some people believe that they succeed in a college if they can maintain their GPA above a certain point. In this way, they will not try some courses if they are really hard and their GPA would be spoiled. If students really cares about their performance, they might feel lost sometims because they don't know what they really feel passionate about. They might continue their professional career while the truth is the path is really tough and not for everyone.

W.E.B Du Bois's picture

One thing in particular that

One thing in particular that caught my interest, was the open discussion on if standardized test measure the level of intelligence but there are. Over seven kind so how can a standardized test that only measures Logical-Mathematical, Linguistic.

lijia577's picture

It's a good question and I

It's a good question and I have my own interpretation on it. First, there's one thing for sure: there is no perfect test to evaluate every aspects of one person or his/her achievements. Second, our society, as well as college, does need a method to judge people. At least we need to decide who should be a doctor; who can be a teacher, etc. IN this way, standardized test are designed in order to decide: how well one student can apply the skills he/she learned in high school. It also gives them an objective way to compare with other students. Perhaps the reason why only reading, math and writing are tested is that those skills are essential for one to survive in a college. IT would be hard for one to demonstrate his/her credibility as a intelligent students without getting the ability to write and read according to a college standard. It's important to remember, however, that one's test scores are not the only thing colleges or people use to make their decisions and judgments.

Maya Angelou's picture

What surprise me was that the

What surprise me was that the students from parkway and the students from brynmawr had a lot in common. Most of what was said from the college students the younger students from parkway was saying the same thing and more. It was a lot of similars from both schools.

Serena's picture

Maya - This was also a

Maya -

This was also a surprise to me. I wasn't expecting the Parkway and Bryn Mawr students to completely agree with one another, let alone the entire classroom. I wonder if this is due to the classes involved being focused on history and education, or if it is widespread among your school (for example, would we have gotten the same result if we had polled, say, a Mathematics class?). I also wonder if people were more likely to say what they thought others would say because they were uncomfortable with strangers, though I didn't get that feeling. Overall I wish we had more time together so that we could really talk deeply about the topics.

I hope all is going well in your studies and I can't wait to see you all again later in the semester,

- Serena

Sarah Goode 's picture

I noticed that most Bryn Mawr

I noticed that most Bryn Mawr students believed that you don't have to go to college to be successful, and all of them are in college. Its one thing to go to college and better your education than to go just to say you went. There are many people who didn't go to college and are successful today, whether they're inventors, entrepreneurs, or famous but there are also many people who went to college and are more successful than others. I'm kind of in the middle of this statement because if you know you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or a nurse it would be best for you to go to college but if you want to be a rapper, actor/actress theres no need to go to college.

Chandrea's picture

In Response to Sarah Goode


I do see your point about the irony of us college students stating that one doesn't have to attend college to be successful. I suppose I chose to disagree with the statement because I was feeling pessimistic that day. My mom always told me that the higher up the educational ladder I go, the better for my future. But in today's economy we constantly hear about how college students graduate with loads of debt and end up jobless. It's a scary thought but that doesn't mean I'm going to drop out of college. I also believe that luck plays a huge role in the type of success one achieves. And success has varying definitions. My mom had to stop attending her community college because she gave birth to me. The only thing she's got is a high school diploma, and I can see that that doesn't get much for her, so I work hard to get my degree from college and I hope for the best that there'll be a job waiting for me as soon as I step off of Bryn Mawr's campus. And if there isn't one, at least I tried. Staying home and working was not the best option for me.

And sure, you could be an actor or a rapper and not get a college degree but in my opinion, you'd have to be extremely lucky to get a record or film company to notice you. And what is there to fall back on if you're an aspiring actor or rapper and you can't get a deal? I need my college degree because I have no acting or rhyming ability whatsoever...

Utitofon's picture

I agree with you. Although,

I agree with you. Although, we tend to equate success with a 6 digit bank account, success can mean different things to different people. My grandmother is happily married with responsible children and progressive grandchildren. If her definition of success was to be a good homemaker and raise a close-knit family, then she has succeeded. She did not need college to help her choose a mate wisely or rear her kids properly. I also know of many people who are raking in a nice sum each month from pursuing their hobbies rather than using the paper they got from college. There's a woman in my city back at home, who bakes cakes for a living and she has to turn down several customers cause her demand exceeds her supply. She is a lawyer but her wig and gown are hanging in her closet. She represents a large and growing demographic. I stood in the middle because, I am in college and it would be very parodoxical if i were to fully disagree. College has its plusses, especially because of the nature of my future career. I can't achieve much or go places with just my high school diploma, that's why i came to college. If i knew of a shortcut i wouldnt be here, ha ha. I mean it though. My favorite rapper is a college drop out but he is successful! Or should we go computers?

lijia577's picture

I agree that the question

I agree that the question largely depends on one’s definition on “being successful”. However, if we assume that success is to excel in their careers, being entrepreneurs or maybe actors, the role of college is largely depends on one’s interest and the realistic limitations. For most students in high school, they don’t really have concrete ideas about their future. One might want to be a psychologist and he must go college; however, if one wants to be an actor, maybe college life is not necessary. In other cases, college experiences affect one’s idea or major intention and affect or even decide one’s career to some extent. I think the prerequisite of “being a successful college dropout” is to find strong support from one’s interest, making all necessary social net, storing enough social capital and human capital to make one’s dream come true. While we keep on mentioning Steve Jobs, the reality is that not everyone would get the same result even though we choose similar path. AFTER ALL. Statistically speaking, he is just an outlier of the whole population.

JHarmon's picture

Adding on to previous comments...


I completely agree with you, and I see how many of your classmates were puzzled with how so many Bryn Mawr students believed that college wasn't necessary to reach success. I, like your commenters, believe that success comes in many, many, many forms, and that it's really up to the individual to decide what is right for them. However, I think that the society we grow up in tries to tell us what success is. Many of us only might grow up thinking that success means going to an Ivy League and working at a law firm or a CEO. We might hate our jobs and feel very unfulfilled, but as long as we're making the big bucks, none of that really matters. In society's standards, we would be successful.

I think that in our class discussion, we really hit the note that success shouldn't necessarily be viewed this way. Like Utitofon said, success means different things for different people. We just need to find a way for society to accept our chosen idea of success rather than be negatively judged for it. Going back to Utitofon's example—Yes, we might be very happy as the best homemaker in the world, but even then, we will never be judged “worthy” by our peers who do more “important” things.

I would also like to note that a big reason I came to college was because of the idea I described. For me, going to college didn't mean learning for learning's sake, although that was part of it. Going to college was partly out of fear. The “middle class” in America is disappearing, and instead, there is a “rich” and a “poor” with little in between. Although I knew that I didn't NEED college to be a “have” instead of a “have not,” I believed that college was the safest bet for me in the path to what I see as success down the road.  

Utitofon's picture

I share your sentiments J. 

I share your sentiments J.  With the world's economy on a downward slide, i wanted a safety net too. I also wanted some comfort and what i can make with a college degree far exceeds what i could make without one, even if i decided to go self-employed. That degree kinda empowers one to have greater (not complete) ,control over one's earning power and as a derivative, one's disposable income. It is more dicy out there without a degree.

Arthur Ashe's picture

I found it interesting when

I found it interesting when the question was asked "Do you think the SAT measures a person's intelligence?" I believe it doesn't measure intelligence, because everyone is smart, but people maybe better with other things. The SAT test's you on things that the school district has taught, but some people are better with there hands or learn difference. It can also be the teacher that might not teach everything that is required for the SAT, or something happened that made a student perform bad.

Utitofon's picture

more on standardised test

My roomate says that in her opinion the SAT and standadised test in general test one's ability to avoid being tricked. Why would they give you five similar answers with 3 of them correct in their own right, but you have to take note of the teenest bit of difference to choose the "best" option. I remember the ironic warning "an answer could be true but wrong".  She also said that it is as if education is different from knowledge.One could have a college degree on something without really knowing a lot about it, but rather knowing all the strategies to do it right with little effort. Think about it, college students learn the skill of "skimming" a text and yet they somehow get to write a paper about it and even contribute to class discussions  effortlessly. She also comments on the declining value of our education. I can't help but agree with her, because in my parents generation one could get a good job (not a summer job/internship) straight out of high school. Now a college degree is becoming inadequate and probably in our children's time, they won't be able to achieve anything without a PhD. Ain't that ridiculous? We are spending nearly the first quarter of our lifes getting qualified to live.

aogiarrata's picture

I agree, even though I attend

I agree, even though I attend Bryn Mawr right now I struggled a lot on the SAT's and used my ACT score to get into Bryn Mawr. A lot of the information on the SAT test I had to learn outside of the classroom, to me the SAT tries to trick you in the problems which I found difficult. As you said everyone is smart, and everyone learns different ways, the SAT is only one time of learning.

Toni Morrisson's picture

What surprised me from

What surprised me from yesterday was that a lot of college students agreed that you don't need to go to college to have a successful future. One important thing that I found very ironic from the lesson was that a lot of the students either in Parkway or Bryn Mawr had similar ideas.

"Shotgun" Mary Fields's picture

My observations

There were some things that surprised me yesterday. One major thing that stood out was how people responded to questions. In my view it was a sort of a debate. People had their opinion which convinced others to change theirs. I also noticed that the Parkway students had good ideas and so did the Brynmawr students. I believe in the future we should have a debate type of situation where high school students try to convince college students on a certain topic.

gfeliz's picture

In response to "shotgun"

I think we should definitely have some sort of a debate because I feel as though a lot of the ideas that Parkway students had were similar (and sometimes different) to what Bryn Mawr students were thinking. I think that if we had a debate it would help further convince us (Bryn Mawr students) on your ideas because I feel as though a lot of the ideas presented by the parkway students were very compelling and interesting. 

JHarmon's picture


Hey "Shotgun,"

I think that's a great idea! In many ways, I think your class did try to convince us to support your* opinions. Many of your ideas were striking and had me thinking about things in a new  way that I hadn't before. And while your ideas and opinions were striking enough on their own, I was even more impressed with the eloquence and confidence you used to express yourselves. When I was in high school, I dont know if I would have felt so comfortable sharing my ideas with such openness. 

Thinking about if we had a future class together, your idea about an actual debate sounds really cool and interesting, especially because it would allow us to bring our own cultural capital to the table to defend our ideas. 

* by "your," I mean your entire class

lijia577's picture

Subject Even though debate

Even though debate seems to be a good idea, I would say that a debate might not be very useful in terms of keeping the openness of discussion. Sometimes, people would refuse to be convinced by other ideas simply because it's a debate. People might do anything to convince others while those defenses might not be right. In this way, a “partial debate” in which we can change our standing during the discussion might be more fruitful.

George Washington  Carver's picture

Do you need college to be successful life?

I think that if you go to college, you would have a better job, and life. But what really got me was the college students, most of them disagree the statement when they are in college be successful in life.

jrschwartz15's picture

I noticed that, as well. It

I noticed that, as well. It was primarily the college students who were questioning the importance of college. I think that stems from the fact that when you get to university, you begin deciding what most interests you and have more opportunities for exploration. It's quite possible that after having the experience interning at a non-profit or working as a lab assistant, those seven hours spent studying Russian Literature suddenly are not as fulfulling. There's also the possibility that a class could persuede you to major in something most employers are not looking for so that your employment then depends on experience and connections versus your education.

This is not to say, however, that college is unnecessary. It all depends on your individual definition of success, but an undergraduate degree is becoming all but expected in most job markets. This makes college even more important than it was before, as it is now basically impossible to compete for a "better" job without a degree. Graduate school now is really how one has to establish themselves and that requires undergraduate education. Keeping your personal definition of success in mind, though, is the most important thing in considering your post-high school education.

thamid's picture

Success and College


I can see where you are coming from with your idea. It seems ironic that most of us Bryn Mawr students said that we do not need college to be successful even though we are already in college. Speaking for myself, I define part of my success to college. I see college eventually taking me to a career that (as of now) leads to economics. I need that extra learning in college to get me to my success. I cannot say that going to college will lead to a better job and a better life. It may lead to both of these things, but I am not positive that it does. A better job and a better life can hold different meanings for different people. Some people may believe that being a homemaker is a better job that being the CEO of a large corporation. A better life may not always be credited to college. There are many people that see themselves as having great lives even though they never went to college. A better job and a better life do not always deal with the financial aspect of success.

I am not discouraging any student with the hopes to attend college in the near future, but I am also not avoiding that idea that success does not always mean going to college. There are many levels of success and many levels of education to attain the different successes. In the end it only matters that you deem successful .


Chuck Berry 's picture

Success Without College

I think that it is possible to be successful without college, but it would be easier to be successful with college. Most good paying jobs require a college degree, especially if you wanted to have a career.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee's picture

I believe that you can do

I believe that you can do good without going to college but you could and will be able to do a whole lot better if you had a collge degree. The reason why I say that is because you dont want to have to work a type of job where you are just doing the bare minium and you start to think that you could do alot better than what you are doing now. I think that you should go to college so that way you wont have to look back and start thinking that you should go back to collloge now so that you can make the type of money and have the type of living you want.

Diane Nash's picture

One thing that stood out to

One thing that stood out to me was everyone debating about if standardized testing show our intelligence or not. Mostly everyone felt as though standardized tests do not show our intelligence because everyone has there different ways of learning so tests cannot really determine that.

MVW1993's picture

I really agree with you that

I really agree with you that standardized testing cannot show our intelligence - rather I think that it shows how well we are able to take the test, operate under time constraints, and utilize testing strategies. When most colleges consider admitting students today, it seems that more and more frequently standardized test results such as the ACTs and the SATs bear significantly less weight in determining if the student will be admitted, especially compared to that student's personal essay and extra curricular activities. Yet these tests are still required for applications. Do you think that there is another type of test (it can exist or it can be a made-up idea) that would be better suited for a college application? Is there any test that can really show our intelligence?

phu's picture

I kind of agree with you

I kind of agree with you about this. SAT only tests on vocabulary, grammar, reading skills, math, and writing. Although those are the basic skills for college, but they cant represent one's intelligence comprehensively. Some people have intelligence on handwork, some others have intelligence on music, still others have intelligence on sport. That are all called intelligence right? Through my experience, I found SAT is more like a stragetic test. There are many strategies you can use. What score you got on SAT also depends on how many times you have taken the test. For me, I got better grades every time than the previous one. So that kind of show the fact that all you need to improve your test score is practicing and that's not related to intelligence.

Marvin Gaye's picture

Why is it mandatory to be Certified?

To be able to have some type of success in life you must be certified in a profession or to have proof of some type of Degree,:ex: Doctorate, Professor, etc.

But if a person was knowledgable enough to achieve that profession would you still need to be Certified or go to school to become certified.
Why must you pay to get a role in Society?

Utitofon's picture

That is the question? You see

That is the question? You see its the way our society is structured that makes it appear that you are at mercy's end without a college degree. There are many 'successful' people who are very unhappy. Why do you think they turn to drugs or commit suicide? But with headlines like the 100 most successful men/women and the way advertisements are designed, our minds have been conditioned to define success in terms of a degree/career/lots of money.  I often wonder about this pressure to add a string of titles infront of ones' name. Must i have a PhD? If i get a Bachelor's aint that enough? College does not even guarantee success, otherwise college graduates should not be unemployed. This issue eats at the very hem of societal structures. Like you said, without a piece of paper that says you can do something, you dont get a job, even though you are good at it. I think that's unfair. That is what sent me to college. I was tired of being underated and poorly paid because i was doing what i loved but was not 'certified' in it.

Michaela's picture

This is a really interesting

This is a really interesting point of contention--why do we have to pay so dearly now to get to a well-paying job in the future? Shouldn't the playing field be more leveled by the possibility of anyone demonstrating intelligence,despite possession of (or lack of) enough money to go to school?

I do, however, think that it is necessary for doctors, lawyers, professors, etc. to go through some formal training in their field, so that it can be guaranteed that they will have the skills necessary to perform their jobs well. But how can we integrate that with the inequality issue? Perhaps by creating a nationwide scholarship opportunity for knowledgeable students to go to school to get certified?

What is the best way to rectify the issue of needing both equality of opportunity and competent, skilled members of society?

Aretha Franklin's picture

An issue that stood out to me

An issue that stood out to me from our conversation is when were talking how standardize test, tests a person's intelligence and some people agreed with that. I thought that was crazy because some people don't test well and some many other factors to affect the way the test, so that really stood out to me.

Zora Neale Hurston's picture

I disagree with the idea that

I disagree with the idea that standardized tests show someones intelligence. Two people can know the exact same information but one might not do well due to the fact that its a test. Just because one score better on the test, that don't mean that one person is smarter then the other person. Everyone learn and test differently, so you can't just test someone to measure their intelligence. Its just not right to me...

Louse Armstrong's picture

Is college need to be successful

College is in some cases to be successful. I believe that it's 50/50 you can be successful without attending college or by attending. For example Mark Zuckerberg created (Facebook) and has made millions of dollars and he is a college dropout. But there are thousands of people that have attended college at this day of times they can no get jobs.

lijia577's picture

Yes, diploma is not everything

I want to connect this with Marvin Gaye’s “Why is it mandatory to be Certified?” A diploma is one kind of certification that can prove one has specific knowledge in one area and he/she has the ability to apply them. But in some cases, even though people have the ability to do a job, he/she simply doesn’t want to do it. At least my brother stays at home without a job because he said there is no well-paid, decent job for him currently. Even though one may not have one diploma, it does not imply that he/she doesn’t have the ability to do something. What if there’s something valuable but cannot be measured, say one’s creativity? So, it true that college is not always needed, only if one knows exactly what he/she wants to do and has the ability to finish his/her path.

Utitofon's picture

absolutely, well said

absolutely, well said

Rosa Parks's picture

Ideas and Issues That Stood Out To Me

An idea that stood out to me was a topic that had something to do with standardized tests. I completely agreed that the tests do not measure someone's intelligence. For example, science is not my best subject. If i get a low test score in science, does that mean I am not smart? No.

LittleItaly's picture

Were we asked if

Were we asked if standardrized tests are MEANT to test our intelligence and we're all disagreeing because it's not touching all types of intelligence or were we asked if we BELIEVE the ACT is actually testing our intelligence and we're disargreeing because we don't think the test is really testing our intelligence. I think personally I need that clarification because I see many people answering this question like the ACT is suppose to be an intelligence test but it's not doing its job whille I actually think the ACT is even trying to be an intelligence test. Well I would like to first point out that the science subject of the ACT doesn't test one's knowledge in the sciences. It tests one's reasoning skills. Then the english tests one's knowledge of vocab, one's context skills, and one's grammar. The math tests one's knowledge of math. The writing tests one's knowledge of vocab, one's skills for framing an argument, and how one can structure an essay. Overall the ACT tests on how fast you can apply these skills and at what level of efficiency. The real purpose for using this test I believe is for colleges to somewhat 'level the playing field.' An ivy-league school doesn't want a third of the freshman class needing to learn precalc while the rest are taking 2nd level calculus.  Someone with a 35 on the math section probably knows more math than someone with an 8 on the math section EVEN if someone is a really bad test taker...unless they didn't fill out the math section at all. So why would a school that has a student body at a 35 level pick the kid with an 8? The kid with an 8 will most likely not like the college's atmosphere anyways if they have to play catch up right at day one. There some exceptions because college don't just look ACT scores. They look at GPA's which are not all based on test taking skills, and they look at one's essay and one's after school activities.  So based off of those other areas the college may decide that the student is a right fit they might just be bad test takers. But I also believe schools look at the test to identify class. If some has an 18 or below then may not be from an upper class background. People of upper class usually go to the top high schools have the opportunity to get a tutor and because the the ACT is not based on intelligence it's based on how prepared you are to take the test then any one wiht the means to get better prepared are going to get a high test score. I'm actually confused by the question itself. 

Lucy Terry's picture

Dont need college to be successful??

I personally don't think that you really need college to be successful, but having a college degree is better than having just an high school diploma. You can get a well paid job out in the work world but when you go for an interview, if there is someone else trying to get that same job and they have a college degree then they would have a better chance of getting the job.

meggiekate's picture

         That is very true,

That is very true, especially with the current state of the economy. I think that this points out the fact that businesses and people in general equate more education with more experience and qualification for a job. Of course, depending on the type of job a college or even professional degree might be needed (eg - jobs in the medical field). However, for other types of jobs, I disagree with the idea that those with more education have more experience. It reminds me of when I was younger and I was watching Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" TV show when they formed two teams - one of 'book-smart' people (essentially people with business degrees but necessarily experience in business) and one of ‘street-smart’ people (basically people without degrees, but a lot of personal experience in business). I can’t remember if the individual who won was from the ‘book-smart’ or ‘street-smart’ group, but I do recall all of the tensions between the two groups. The ‘book-smart’ people were extraordinarily elitist and believed they were so much better and smarter than those without higher education; whereas, the ‘street-smart’ people took one look at the ‘book-smart’ group and laughed because they “knew” they would be able to do so much more than those with degrees since they already had so much experience in their field. Honestly, even at a young age, I was disgusted by their rejection of another group’s form of education. They all had the same basic knowledge, it was just their mode of obtaining that education that differed.

Getting back to the idea of not needing college to be successful, I think that it implies a couple things about people and society.

1)  Again, what success means is very individualized and college may not help one be successful by their own definition.

2)  Even if one does not go to college, one is still getting an education and is learning – it’s simply different. However, our society seems to devalue this type of education and I think that’s embedded in some very classed ways of thinking and viewing the world.

I think that one of the ways our society could move forward from this way of thinking (education=experience and qualification) would be for businesses to recognize more the value of education outside of the classroom.

Phillis Wheatly's picture

Does Standardized testing depict your intelligence?

One of the things I did not get to say about this subject is key to my argument. I feel, as a generation, we are tested more to predict our "intelligence." These test help you go on to college and such, but what about the simple fact that it still does not determine what other intelligence a person needs to succeed? Not everyone is book smart, but if you are going on to be a real estate agent a person must have business intelligence. The point I am basically trying to make there is more types of intelligence it does not calculate, especially because it is not able to be put to a written test or multiple choice test.

HSBurke's picture

Hey Phillis! Thanks for

Hey Phillis! Thanks for posting. I completely agree with what you have asserted. Stadardized testing (I am thinking of mostly the SAT and ACT) is very limited in the subjects that it tests students on. However, students feel pressured to do well in these areas because colleges accept or deny us based on these scores. Do you think that this system exposes a flaw in the education system, or perhaps a bias in society's view of education? The way the college acceptance process is now values book smarts over street smarts. There is no area on the application that judges how well you can change the oil on a car or calm a fussy baby. This issue provides insight into what skillsets the higher education system values and what our society values. However, who's to say that being book wise is more important than being street smart? Aren't both necessary to feel well-rounded in your education? 

Angela Davis's picture

Needing College to be Successful?

I personally believe that no one really needs college to be successful. Based on two things it depends how you measure success, whether its through good deeds or money. Even if you measure success through both ways you don't really need college, I mean college wouldn't hurt but there are many people who didn't attend college and are very successful. Then there are other alternatives to college such as trade school, and you can still be successful.

lissiem's picture

I completely agree with your

I completely agree with your statement that people don't need college to be successful.  It’s true, someone can go to trade school and still consider themselves successful in life if they are doing what they love (which is what I consider success to be).  However, I think the reason that many people believe that college is necessary for success is because a lot of people don’t know how they want to find the success in their lives.  People who choose to go to trade school know exactly what they want to do, there is a clear path and they follow it.  Even those to drop out of college like Mark Zuckerberg had a vision of what they wanted.  College (and especially a liberal arts college) helps people to find how they will be successful which is one reason so many people find it necessary to attend.