i Making College Worth The Price | College Writing: Debate(s) In Higher Education

Morgan Tollard

The price attached to higher education made me question my choice of whether or not to pursue the road of attending a four-year or two-year university/college. On the incline for the past couple of decades, student loan debt in America has been becoming a controversial issue, opposed to other countries that are finding solutions. Other countries, like Sweden and Australia, have a different student loan system. These alternative loan systems, as shared in the article “America Can Fix Its Student Loan Crisis. Just Ask Australia.” by Susan Dynarski, essentially make student loan debt consistently lower and paid over longer spans of time. Unlike the United States, Australia has an extension and income base on their student loans allowing students to not only make payments over longer periods of time, but are flat-rate payments based on the income of the student’s previous year. These adjustments allow for students to get on their feet and make other important payments while still paying off their loans, unlike the United States. In the United States students pay the same amount no matter what your economic stance is, making it hard for low-income students to pay off their debt.

By attending a liberal arts college, I can make my college experience worth it. Liberal arts education is a learning experience that serves to expose you to countless qualities and morals in order to grow individuality upon entering the workforce. Through a liberal arts education, students are able to focus on their unique niche to develop important intellectual and social skills. Though many colleges and universities provide an in-depth experience in a particular area, as stated in the article “The Value of Liberal Arts Education in Today’s Global Marketplace” by Edward J Ray, most employers are looking for communication skills and the ability to problem solve. By choosing to attend St. Norbert, a liberal arts college, I will be able to adapt and learn many quality techniques to use in whichever path I may choose for my future. By developing valuable communication skills and problem-solving techniques, students of a liberal arts college will be able to stand-out from other future candidates for a potential job. This unique ability to adapt and present ideas creates a better chance of being successful in the workforce.

Finding my path in my career post college and feeling confident in my choice plays into the role of feeling as the college experience is worth it. All throughout high school teachers, relatives, and friends ask the same question, “what are you going to college for?” There is so much pressure tied to receiving a higher education that students feel as though they have to have their entire life planned out. Being the organized person that I am, I like to have my life outlined, and the fact that I had no idea what career path I wanted to take scared me, but it shouldn’t. College is an experience that allows areas of growth and individuality. Students are making substantial choices in their lives and although there is assistance along the way, the worry of what career path to choose shouldn’t be the utmost concern. Eventually, choosing the career path that I am interested in pursuing is going to make my college experience worth it, and will allow my studies and courses taken to have a purpose to better myself in the work field.

I knew the financial aspect of receiving a higher education would become mostly my responsibility. After applying for financial aid and every scholarship I could get my hands on and coming up empty handed, I found it frustrating how hard it was to receive financial aid. St. Norbert has many more financial opportunities and assistance than any other school I applied to.

Not only did I receive many scholarships and financial aid through St. Norbert, but I accepted a job on campus as an ALIVE member. ALIVE is a student-run group on campus that builds community throughout the residence halls by running weekly programs for students. The programs range from crafts to discussion and allow students to converse topics with their fellow peers. The topics of discussion can range from light conversation to controversial issues to help build up a secure place for students to examine other perspectives.

Through my job, not only do I get paid, but I am able to make many connections with fellow comrades and continue to strengthen my Christian faith. Although ALIVE’s main focus is to build community in the halls, the discussion is centered around many different topics, including faith on campus. In these faith discussions students are able to share their faith journey and talk in a safe place. These discussions allow me to be able to be more open and connect to my root in faith in ways that I wouldn’t be able to before. These qualities add to the college experience and make time spent away from home more enjoyable.

I want to not only make connections through my job, but by joining other clubs and groups on campus. Many opportunities are available at St. Norbert, and it is imperative to try and become as involved as possible. Throughout my high school career, I was involved in a few activities here and there, but looking back on my four years spent there, I could’ve become involved in so many more things. It is a huge regret of mine. Time goes by so quickly, and I want to become as involved as possible to make the most of time spent on campus. Making connections and new friendships always makes a place seem more at home, and allows formation of individual ideas and morals in your independence.

Keeping up with school work and succeeding in college courses will also make my college experience worth it, after all, I am paying for it. All the hard work put in throughout high school in order to get college acceptance and receive scholarship, it would be a shame to allow it go to waste because of a lack of striving. College Students are paying for their education, and students have the choice to do with it what they will. There is no one to hold students hands and force them to go to class or type their paper. Students are in charge of their own academic career. Therefore, to make my college experience worth it, I want to succeed in all of my classes, and strive to be the best I can. It would be a huge regret, to not succeed in college and have nothing to show for at the end of my four years on campus.

Through becoming involved in clubs and organizations on campus and striving for academic excellence, I will be able to make the high dollar price of higher education worth it. I will become a better person because of a Liberal Arts Education and I will be able to succeed after my diploma, upon entering the real word.

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