The New Paradigm in Education

Since the age of enlightenment, higher education has always been for those wishing to expand their understanding of the world around them and the universe they live in. It has been for those who could afford to learn. Those who lived day to day could never afford such a luxury. Since then, there has been a paradigm shift in education. It is no longer only for the super wealthy, and it no longer encompasses the sole desire to expand our understanding of the world.

Today, college has become a necessity for those wishing to find a stable career with room for growth and development. It becomes a requirement for those who wish to have higher paying careers, stable jobs, and optimistic futures. While there are students who pursue higher education for the sake of knowledge, society has muddled our perspective on higher education, making it near impossible for many to find a stable career without an advanced degree.

Most of this is my personal perspective, but is based on my personal observations and my involvement in higher education as a student at the University of Illinois. While the societal norm has changed with the times, education has not adapted to the changing atmosphere. It’s still based on a society that treats higher education as a luxury versus a necessity. As an Aerospace Engineering student, I’ve experienced the delay in education first hand. Rather than preparing us for future careers in our industry, professors give us an in depth view of the world around us. While there is nothing wrong with having a complete understanding, it does a poor job for preparing students for technical and hands-on careers outside of the university bubble. Previous graduates have spoken out about the lack of an education that prepares them for the workforce. Some have even dropped out completely for those very reasons. Even those close to me have resonated with the same message, colleges are not preparing us for our future careers.

Companies spend millions of dollars every year in educating their recent college grads in the duties they will be performing at their company. They need to reteach the specific skills and knowledge they would need to be successful in their career. Students pay thousands of dollars for an education that poorly prepares them for the real world. This has caused some colleges to attempt new forms of education, such as Olin College in Massachusetts, that has students work on over 20 projects over the course of their degree.

There must be a serious problem with education when the education we receive does not prepare us for our future.

What’s your opinion on higher education? Do you feel its worth the time and cost, and what is the real benefit of attending a higher education institution?

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