College is a Waste of Time and Money

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In “College is a Waste of Time and Money,” written by Caroline Bird, demonstrates her beliefs on how college isn’t for everyone. The many reasons Bird lists throughout her article for the individual to understand her point of view and realize that there is more beyond getting a high school diploma and then attending college. Throughout the article, she refers herself to incoming college students who she’s trying to persuade that college isn’t the only answer for a successful path in life. The author shows the reality of what college is in her article; she tries to convince the reader to really think deeply before making a life-changing decision which deals with proceeding to college. She carries on by explaining how college really isn’t what they expect it to be. Also, it shows that today’s younger generation, today doesn’t have much of a choice whether college is right for them or not. It’s simply up to the parents to give the final say in the discussion and basically decide their future for them. Bird uses pathos combined with tone, logos combined with diction, and ethos to prove her opinion on if college is truly worth the time and money, and if college is the path everyone should take.

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In Bird’s text, she uses pathos by portraying her stance in the reading to demonstrate her feelings by the usage of words such as “shocked”, “swamped” to be able to retrieve the emotion through what college students and graduate students feel like. She conveys the feelings of confusion and depression because she realizes that in the following quote she states, “Whatever college graduates want to do, most of them are going to wind up doing what there is to do”(Bird 5). It’s Caroline Bird’s way to send a message that even if you major in a career that you are interested in, there not might be job opportunities for you; it may vary on how lucky you get. Bird makes the reader think whether students already enrolled in college are having any type of negative emotions about college. She makes the readers question themselves if it is the right path to take and if they do choose to attend college is it really going to be worth the money. Bird reminds them that if they do keep pursuing the career of their choice there won’t be a guarantee that it will provide a proper stable life. Bird uses pathos to fear her audience about the prospects for college.

Throughout the reading, the vocabulary she used expressed the majority of college students felt lonely and didn’t really see the need of continuing their education if they saw the institution as a place of confusion and if that’s the correct place where they should be at. Also, the sensation of being defeated can be because of the pressure parents put on their kids; the majority of parents nowadays force their kids to go to an institution to have a “good future”. Bird asserts that the reality is that everyone is different and you can still seek that same quality future without pursuing a college degree.

The tone Bird uses is a feeling of being let down and sort of action mocking an example would be “I am dismayed to find that professors and administrators when pressed for a candid opinion, estimate that no more than 25 percent of their students are turned on by classwork.”(Bird 1). In that phrase you can tell right away that the tone is projected by her word choice and simply how she started her own opinion, letting the audience know that she’s shocked by how such a low percentage of students enjoy being at school and being taught by a professor. The majority of parents in this generation believe that the next step for a successful future is going to college right after high school graduation. However, it’s different for many according to Bird. Many students seek different paths right after high school, such as military or a job in the workforce, depending on what the interests are for the future they are seeking for. Everyone is different. The financial status of college students also affects the path they take. Not everyone has the same opportunities as others to pursue their dream career. Bird uses tone to effectively emphasize the disappointment she is feeling.

Taking a second look at what future college students are getting into when deciding to go to college. It argues that there are other ways than just going to college. The idea of getting a student prepared for the “real world”, the author represented the idea by giving examples of the sense of logic. Bird expressed logical information to persuade the audience by providing statistics. From the article she provides the following: “interviewed 300 college students at random, and reports that 200 of them didn’t think that the education they were getting was worth the effort.”(Bird 2). Although the information that she provided was from a small portion of students and not from the whole world, the information given was accurate and real. She did provide evidence to support her claim that demonstrated that the majority of those students who were interviewed were not really convinced that the money they have spent on tuition, books, room/board, etc. has had or will have an effect on their future and isn’t worth sitting in a classroom for countless hours learning about something they won’t apply to their desired careers or future.

As well she utilized statistics about college costs and graduate expenses and how it portrays an enormous risk. As I mentioned before, the author demonstrates that the cost of college isn’t really worth the money if in the end many seek other paths. So why waste it in the first place? Along the way, she addressed and confirmed that if every college student receives the highest education possible, then everybody would be on the same education level, and there wouldn’t be differences in students and their learning abilities. Many say that college is the greatest investment one could make in their life. Although shall they question if it really is the best investment there could be? The author argues this point by giving examples of an investment that cancels out the average income of a graduate.

When looking for credibility and making sure her statements are believable, Caroline Bird used many resources from statistics, her own research, and opinion, but she also used authors such as Sylvia Porter to establish a more believable argument. Sylvia Porter graduated from Hunter College with a bachelor’s degree in 1932. During her time, Sylvia Porter received recognition from many civic and business organizations. Porter provided her own research and gave Bird credibility to establish her argument and to back up her credibility by providing her own extensive research. That states the following: “A college education is among the very best investments you can make in your entire life.” Porter has said clearly states that Bird is a credible author with statements she’s able to present evidence that is real.

Another rhetorical device she used was an anecdote, which she used as a tool of information to support her idea. She used an anecdote of a man who would be better off investing money into creating his own business rather than investing in a college education. In the end, he would have a much higher return investing in his business rather than investing in a college education. For instance, in the text, it gave an example “Princeton-bound-high school graduate of 1972 who liked fooling around with cars could have banked his $34,181, and gone to work at the local garage at close to $1,000 more per year than the average high-school graduate.”(Bird 3). Let’s say that his story was successful and he had his own business he could expect to make more than the average college graduate. He would already be making money without spending time and currency to be four years on campus. Which the way that Caroline Bird is interpreting makes the audience more intrigued because they’re out to think that if it’s easy to have your own business most likely everyone would choose to run that said business than go to school every single day for four years.

Caroline Bird’s argument made effective points that were persuasive. She persuaded many into believing that college isn’t all that it’s advertised to be. Throughout her text, she constantly reminded the reader that there are other outcomes than attending an institution and that there are other ways to be successful in life without sitting in class for hours. At the end of the day, you’re not really remembering what you learned. She provided realistic facts and examples that really created an image of what life would be like without a college education.

Overall, Caroline Bird broadly described many rhetorical devices throughout her text to really persuade the reader that college isn’t for everyone. The main argument she presents is to convince the audience to take a second to look at what they are getting into when deciding to go to college. It argues that there are other ways that just college to get students prepared for the “real world” the author represented the idea by giving examples of pathos, logos, ethos, diction, and tone to prove her opinion on if college is really worth the money and time. 

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