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POV: Surviving the college search

Every single year, the cost of tuition at state and private universities rises. According to the College Board, an organization every parent of high school age children is likely familiar with, the costs rise about 4.2 percent annually on average. Since 1980, tuition costs have risen by 945 percent. It makes me somewhat thankful to be a senior; however, I am absolutely terrified to hear what my little sister will pay for her education in seven years when it’s time for her to graduate. Unless something is done to fix the system, it will only be more difficult for a child to be able to afford an education. My parents, who went to school in Albania where I was born, could have never imagined this. They took their learning upon themselves since their education system was so corrupt that bribing one’s professors was a common practice. They took comfort in the dream that their children would be raised in America, without fear of being cheated by the education system like they had been.

And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening. Students are being cheated out of their money, paying thousands of dollars a year for that degree in psychology or anthropology and feeling so betrayed by the world that, to their financial dismay, cannot provide them with work anywhere. This dissatisfaction is so common, and the lack of outrage genuinely surprises me. How could loans on $55,000 tuitions even be considered for so many when they are more than likely to cripple the workforce and further the debt crisis?

The belief that one’s future depends on their college degree is too prominent to shake and fuels society’s delusions of what a college degree entails. Such delusions have been force fed to students for years. They are willing to pay $40,000 a year for their education because they view it as their sole ticket to success. It takes much more than a degree to succeed in the workplace. Students do not necessarily think of investing in themselves by maximizing their own motivation and taking it upon themselves to learn. Instead they focus on passing just to get that degree. As a result, they lose critical thinking or analytical skills that employers look for, and suddenly, that almighty degree that we put on a pedestal for our entire educational career, loses some of its value in the eye of the employer.

The only thing that will fix these extremely influential flaws is not a change in tuition costs, but a radical change on the attitude this standardized-test oriented, out-of-touch education system has taken on teaching their students what it really means to learn.

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