Why Do People Go to College?

Do young people go to college to become better people? Or to earn more money? The obvious answer, it seems, is “Yes.” A new poll from Clark University suggests that most young college graduates went to school for both economic and mind-expanding reasons.

What do you wanna do with your life?

What do you wanna do with your life?

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett and his colleagues at the storied Clark University polled 1,000 adults between the ages of 21-29. The results confirmed the argument of historian Roger Geiger, who concluded that attending college has always been about “knowledge, careers, and culture.”

Large majorities of respondents wanted a better economic future. But they also wanted to increase their “knowledge of the world.” And, of course, many of the bolder respondents admitted that they were attracted by “the potential to have fun.”

Polls like this provide yet more evidence that the death of the humanities has been greatly exaggerated. As smart people have pointed out, people still go to college for more than pecuniary reasons. Young people still want to have their minds blown. College students certainly hope their degree will help them make more money, but that’s not the only reason they go to college.

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1 Comment

  1. If you poll their parents who are footing the bill you will find the anti-humanist sentiment.


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