College as the Pathway to the American Dream

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Achieving the American Dream has been the ideal for people living in the United States for decades. People believed that the way to get there was through hard work, also known as the “Protestant work ethic”. The American Dream can vary depending on the person. Some people think that owning a house with a white picket-fence is the American Dream while others think that it is becoming a celebrity with a lot of money. For the purpose of this paper, the American Dream will be defined as the idea that you can achieve financial stability through hard work, which often means going to college. The term “college” refers to any undergraduate or graduate program at a secondary institution. This paper aims to examine the relationship between attending college and one’s ability to achieve the American Dream. Attending college is thought to be an important step in obtaining the American Dream, primarily because receiving a higher level of education tends to lead to a higher paying job and furthermore a financially stable future. However, this isn’t always the case due to an increase in the need for students to take out loans and increase their debt in order to afford college expenses. College = Career Readiness Over the past few years, people have begun to see going to college as a way to achieve the American Dream through career-readiness. People used to go to college, hoping to get a better well-rounded education. For most the well-rounded education, it usually came with the courses required for a liberal arts education. The courses would provide a level of analytical and in-depth understanding that would prepare the students for both life and whichever career path chosen. No matter the amount of money paid, parents would be willing to gi... ... middle of paper ... ...uation, however up to now there is no explanation for the relationship. Ungar, S. J. (2010). The new liberal arts. In G. Graff, C. Birkenstein, & R. Durst (Eds.). “They say, I say”: The moves that matter in academic writing with readings. (2nd ed.). (pp. 190-197). New York: W. W. Norton. This article looks to prove that liberal arts education is just as valuable as “career education” because contrary to general belief, career education doesn’t guarantee high-paying jobs after they graduate. Wilson, R. (2009). A lifetime of student debt? Not likely. In G. Graff, C. Birkenstein, & R. Durst (Eds.). “They say, I say”: The moves that matter in academic writing with readings. (2nd ed.). (pp. 256-272). New York: W. W. Norton. This article examines how much debt in loans students leave college with and if it is possible to pay it off without it causing extreme distress.
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