Value of higher education - Essay Example

“Should everyone go to college” by Sawhill and Owen

The view of education as a gateway to a successful life has led to an increase in the number of people who have joined higher learning institutions with hopes of securing their future life. The present day value of higher education has solicited different views relating to whether it is important for one to join college. The difference has fostered various arguments that are either in support or against the embracing of high education. An article such as “Should Everyone Go to College?” by Sawhill and Owen is an example of an argument that shows college education is still paramount to man. On the other hand, an article such as “Is a college degree worth it in 2016?” by Tam Pham is an example that aims to show that a college education is not that necessary. The authors of the two articles have independently managed to present arguments that possess different views and ideas relating to their perceptions of the present day value of higher learning. The authors have, however, succeeded in effectively communicate their ideas by presenting authoritative and supportive claims that relate to their different views and perception of college education thus captivating their audience. The authors through the utilization of pathos have effectively presented their personal and emotional views. Ethos have enabled them present authoritative arguments while through logos they have presented factual arguments that are backed with various research findings.

We Will Write A Custom Essay Sample On

For Only $13.90/page

order now

The authors of the two articles have utilized ethos to present authoritative claims that demonstrate their view on high education. By focusing on the rate of return obtained from higher education, Sawhill and Owen compared the returns one gets after schooling and the expenses they incur while educating themselves. The authors point out expenses such as tuition fee and opportunity cost, which is incurred by students for spending years in school instead of working as some of the major costs incurred by individuals who are in college. However, through the comparison of the future income of high school graduates and that of college graduates, the authors state that college graduates make significantly more money than high school graduates. According to Sawhill and Owen (1) research shows that in the United States College graduates averagely make $ 12000 more annually as compared to high school graduates. The two further back their argument by stating that at age 50 the average difference is even greater since college graduates make $ 46500 more as compared to high school graduates. According to them, this difference enables them to authoritatively state that in terms of earnings a college graduate would be at a more advantageous position.

Benefits of higher education

Pham on the other hand, states that for one to be educated, they do not have to go to school. Pham highlights that with the increase in ease of accessing the necessary information one can easily educate themselves. He uses the example of Scott Young who managed to be awarded unofficial computer science degree from MIT after independently educating himself through taking the required tests and courses without joining the institution. Pham further highlights that in the present time prestigious colleges such as Stanford, Yale, and Berkeley have their courses online for free enabling people to gain knowledge in different fields without joining the institutions. He also states that statistics shows that 40% of the United States citizens who are unemployed are college graduates and 46% of the college graduates who are employed have jobs that don’t require a degree (Pham 1). His findings thus enable him to state that one does not need to go to college to be educated and a college degree is not a grantee that one will be employed.

Logos rhetorical analysis has been effectively used in proving the facts relating to the arguments presented in the articles. Sawhill and Owen have used logos in various instances, for example, the two acknowledge that education enables people in the society to have an edge in dealing with the different aspects of life. The authors highlight on issues such as the possibility of one being financial stable where they argue that people who are educated have a better chance of securing an employment opportunity that would pay them more as compared to those who are not educated. They further emphasize their point by saying that the higher your level of education the higher is your possibility of securing a better job. According to Sawhill and Owen (1), individuals with a college degree also prosper more in matters beyond finances such as social and political activities due to their extensive knowledge and understanding of these issues. Pham in his article utilizes logos in presenting factual arguments, for example, he states that the investment that one make on college education like time and money would not be a grantee that they would have a prosperous future. Teenagers usually enroll into colleges without knowing what they want to be (Pham 1). They may invest close to $ 100000 and five years of their time studying with the intent of being a lawyer and end up doing something different since they were only forced to do law due to external pressures from their peers or parents.

Analysis of american college of education

The authors have also managed to effectively use pathos to support their argument by presenting their reasoning and emotions. Pham, for example, supports his argument that college education is not that necessary by stating that the format used to educate students in colleges is not that practical. According to Pham (1), students spend a lot of time learning what they should do instead of engaging in practical activities. He adds that like how people learn how to ride a bicycle they should focus on knowing how to pedal and balance themselves and not on what a pedal is and the methods of balancing. Pham has also used pathos to highlight that college graduates may fail to be recruited by many potential employers since the lack experience.

He further states that most of the businesses in the present date usually rate job applicants by their experiences. For this reason, a high school graduate may be picked over a college graduate since the college graduate is not as experienced as the high school graduate. In relation to his view, he presented Google as an example of a company that values experience over academic qualifications. Sawhill and Owen, on the other hand, used pathos to explain their emotion by highlighting that in their view individuals who possess college degrees are financially better off as compared to those with only high school degrees. The authors state that this is the case because with a degree in college an individual has been able to go an extra mile in terms of knowledge and the understanding of their environment. Before a person may decide on whether college education would be helpful to them or not they should consider asking themselves various questions that would help them know the value of education to them. Some of the questions that they should try to answer are; what would they want to be in future, how can they attain their future goals, and which path did a majority of their relative role models or mentors take to actualize their dream. Such questions would effectively set individuals on the right track since they would help them in determining the importance of college to them.

In conclusion, even though the authors hold different views relating to the value of college education to an individual’s life, the two have managed to present strong arguments that are convincing. Their effective utilization of logos, pathos, and ethos rhetorical analysis in their respective articles has facilitated an easy understanding of their arguments. The facts the that they have proved through the utilization of logos can be believable since they possess an analytical view of the actual state relating to matters such as finances in the article by Sawhill and Owen, and unemployment by Pham. The effective use of logos have enabled the author effectively proof their perception of college education. They have used pathos to provide a reasonable emotional argument supporting their cases where Sawhill and Owen focused on social and financial status while Pham emphasized on the process of teaching and the importance of experience. Pathos has also enabled the authors to answer the question why they are supporting or not supporting college education. The utilization of ethos was also well presented with persuasive authority by the writers of the two articles. Sawhill and Owen focused on social and financial status while Pham highlighted on the ways of acquiring knowledge and possible employment opportunities. Ethos has ensured that the authors through the presentation of various research findings support their arguments. The authors of the two articles have however over focused on specifics aspects. For example, Sawhill and Owen focused on financial ability to support their argument while Pham majorly focused on employment. The authors over concentration on the said issues show that they lacked enough points to support their arguments.

Work Cited

Isabel V. Sawhill and Stephanie Owen. May 8, 2013. Should Everyone Go To College? Brookings Press. Retrieved from

Tam, Pham. January 8, 2016. Is a college degree worth it in 2016? The Hustle.

Retrieved from