The matter of educational costs in the United States is widely discussed in modern media, and there are many materials and sources criticizing the ever-increasing student loan debt in the country. The article “Rich, Entitled People in College Scandal Aren’t Only Ones Mired in Access Mania” by Michelle Singletary published in The Washington Post in 2019 is one of them. The piece provides the author’s original perspective on the abovementioned issues, claiming that parents and their children are currently under immense pressure to enroll in top-ranked but pricey colleges. The main points made by Singletary in her text will be summarized in the present paper and a reader’s personal response to the article’s content will be described as well.
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Almost every high school graduate, regardless of their social-economic and cultural background, aspires to become accepted in a college of their dreams, which frequently means that they want to enroll in a prestigious institution. As Singletary (2019) argues in her article, this type of aspiration creates multiple problems for students and their families, putting them in a state of severe economic constraint. The author considers that parents and children are misled by the idea that admission to a branded school will surely provide the latter with more opportunities to succeed in life. For this reason, individuals and families often risk their financial welfare by taking large loans from banks and becoming indebted for years and even decades.
It is worth noting that the link between the pricey education in a prestigious school and better chances for professional achievement is questionable. According to the New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, whom Singletary (2019) cites in her text, only 9% of graduates from top-ranked colleges consider that their school networks are beneficial in terms of career opportunities. It is clear that this number of positive responses is insignificant and probably does not worth all the risks and restraints that a family faces when sending a child to a premier school. Describing what actually matters in terms of students’ future professional success, Singletary (2019) again refers to Bruni who believes that it is hard work, skill development, and internship that really makes a difference. Based on this, there is no good reason for children and parents to be obsessed with admission to branded universities and colleges. Regardless of whether a person studies in the best school or simply a good one, the things that determine their success are attitude and motivation to invest time and effort in own education and development.
I consider that the points discussed by Singletary in her article are fresh and valid. Moreover, she writes her arguments in a very logical manner, with the use of many facts and numbers, which make the text very persuasive and thought-provoking. Indeed, a lot of people tend to think that education in a prestigious institution is a way to attain high social status and wealth. This idea is deeply rooted in individuals’ minds and is regarded as truth in today’s society. Therefore, many persons began to crave to be accepted to one of those remarkable, highly rigorous, and extremely pricey schools. It is possible to presume that a diploma from a top university may impress employers and help a job candidate to gain a few extra scores during the hiring process. However, a degree is merely a formality and does not mean anything without the well-developed knowledge and professional skills of the one who possesses it. Thus, I completely agree with Singletary that success in life is to a larger degree defined by the overall quality of a person’s educational and learning experiences than by the name of a college.
When it comes to professional attainment, many researchers also consider that a person’s progress is primarily determined by his or her attitudes and aptitudes. The major determinants of career success listed in the study by Poon, Briscoe, Abdul-Ghani, and Jones (2015) are cognitive abilities, proactive behaviors, social capital, networking behaviors, motivation, and commitment to the job. These research findings indicate that individual factors significantly contribute to one’s advancement in professional development. At the same time, Poon et al. (2015) note that circumstances can also play a role in a person’s progress at the workplace. For example, the quality of relationships with a supervisor is linked to promotability and salary rise, whereas employer support may be associated with overall employee excellence (Poon et al., 2015). Overall, it is important to acknowledge the possible influence of situational factors on the course of life. However, I am still convinced that personal qualities and skills impact the outcomes in any sphere of performance to a greater extent. With a good set of abilities and the right mindset, an individual can always alter those external conditions that prevent them from advancing further.
The main message of the discussed article by Michelle Singletary is that the name of a school that one attends does not contribute to his or her progress in life to a substantial degree. In fact, the type of college may not play a role at all because the main factors of success are a person’s attitude and skills. Thus, high school graduates should be relieved of all the stress associated with the undertaking of immense efforts aimed to get into a prestigious and expensive higher education institution. Instead, they should focus on the improvement of the quality of their learning experiences and the development of self-determination to become better while attending a cheaper college or university.
Poon, J. M., Briscoe, J. P., Abdul-Ghani, R., & Jones, E. A. (2015). Meaning and determinants of career success: A Malaysian perspective. Revista de Psicología del Trabajo y de las Organizaciones, 31(1), 21-29.
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Singletary, M. (2019, March 24). Rich, entitled people in college scandal aren’t only ones mired in access mania. The Washington Post, p. G4.