From an early age, children are asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” This may be an innocent cultural tradition, but implicit within this question is a suggestion to the child that they might want to start thinking about their career. Throughout the education process, this theme is revisited and when picking colleges both children and parents can start to have conversations about individual majors and programs. There is certainly a practical value to pondering a vocational path. After all, most people must acquire some sort of sustainable employment so that they can afford the basic necessities of life. In addition, higher education has been shown to open many more vocational doors for those that can take advantage of certain opportunities. However, a strictly vocational focus can lessen the overall value of the college experience, which is why college is truly more than job training.
Employers want thinkers
Obviously, most college graduates go out and look for work, which is why during the collegiate experience they are often focused on a particular major. However, what some students fail to realize is that employers want to hire people, not diplomas. In other words, organizations need people who can write, speak, thinking critically, and problem solve. Major-specific classes may give people some of these intangible skills. However, there is also strong reason to believe that general education classes and extra-curricular activities may be just as valuable, if not more, in providing these abilities. Therefore, focusing on specific and short-term market-focused classes may not be the best overall avenue to success.
Solving the problems of life
As mentioned, employers want thinkers, and being able to intellectually process can be a major part of finding fulfillment in life. Again, a major is a big part of this process. However, their can be great richness in joining an academic club, taking a humanities course, or going to a lecture series on a unique scholastic topic. Sometimes, the college students should worry less about job training and concentrate more on pure intellectual development. Certain aspects of college may not feel like specific resume material, but education can still be just about learning for the sake of broadening the mind.
An educated group of citizens
There are some people that are destined to be the leaders of society, while the rest of masses will be filling the role of societal citizens. However, this does not mean that the citizens should be ignorant about their communities or the larger world around them. In a more ideal world, citizens engage their neighborhoods, making informed choices at the polls, and work towards tangible societal development. How do they do this? By applying the broad range of skills and perspectives that they acquired in their collegiate experience. Job training is an important aspect of college. That said, there is credence to the belief that higher education is about advancing society so that the world can develop through the work of people who are interested in more than just the skills needed for their entry-level job.