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Multilateral Educational Pathways

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” according to Albert Einstein, but education sporadically stops after high school. Society is so convinced that one can achieve an intellectual cultivation solely through attending an exorbitant higher-education institution that it neglects to observe the multivalent dimension of education. Luckily, self-cultivation can and should be reached through several manners, including but not limited to attending a 2-year college, graduating from a 4-year university, bringing to completion a vocational program, serving in the military, working in a standard position, and actively involving in raising and educating the future of our civilization, the children. By comparing and contrasting pursuing an educational path at a 4-year university or at a vocational school, it is obvious that just one will be my optimal alternative for a bright future in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

First, in terms of total expenditure, colleges land up being pricier than a vocational school because of tuition, protracted time periods upon completion, the frequency of course attendance, and living costs. In the United States, the tuition and auxiliary fees of attending a 4-year university cost approximately $9,970 yearly. On average, the housing and board add an extra $10,800 to the already high expenses (Trends in Higher Education). Moreover, the prolonged years required to graduate from college elongates the period of time in which a student keeps investing while not gathering any monetary resources. In general, there is a scarce chance to complete more courses online and therefore avoid the necessity of commuting. Thus, the commuting cost can be significant for a student financially strained. Unlike a 4-year university, when summing up the cost of the entire vocational education, a student may pay around $30,000, almost as much as for one year worth of college. Since the vocational schools facilitate many online courses reduces significantly the commuting frequency. Regarding the year by year cost, students attending a trade school have the advantage of bearing the costs for a shorter period of time because they graduate earlier while starting to earn money sooner. For my career option, in the short-run, attending a vocational school would save me some financial struggle while offering me some background. However, in the long-run, attending a 4-year university is worth every penny.

Second, the post-graduate substance has common grounds in terms of job demands, employer networks, and industrial variety but counterbalances the job security and wages. People must possess a higher degree to get hired on numerous jobs. Many companies do not even search for employees outside the university hubs since they do not esteem the student’s foundation built during attending college, but rather consider the certification only. In “College Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be”, Charles Murray reminds us,

But for many jobs, the economic premium for the B.A. is created by a brutal fact of life about the American job market: Employers do not even interview applicants who do not hold a B.A. Even more brutal, the advantage conferred by the B.A. often has nothing to do with the content of the education. Employers do not value what the students learned, just that the student has a degree (Murray 245).

The employer-institution connection at a college level is branched out. There are numerous programs that connect students with many potential employers from various industries and grant the opportunity to sign hiring contracts even before graduation. If one student is interested in a researching career, the university is the ticket for pursuing such careers. Ultimately, a university environment contributes to someone’s life by more than just preparing a professional path. It tests and improves people’s ability to commit to long-term tasks, it prompts the student to better manage the finances due to a tight budget and it educates someone on how to balance out the personal and professional lives. In “Colleges Prepare People for Life”, Freeman Hrabowski asserts, “Yes, colleges prepare people for jobs, but more critically, they prepare people for life” (Hrabowski 260). Correspondingly, a vocational school detains great connections with companies that deliver countless jobs with an affinity for skills that one can learn at a vocational school. In “College Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be”, Charles Murray observes, “There has never been a time in history when people with skills not taught in college have been in so much demand at such high pay as today, nor a time when the range of such jobs has been so wide” (Murray 248). Besides, it is known that there are more mediocre workers than the ones with high potential which levels the wages of college and post-secondary graduates. Therefore, a vocational graduate has increased chances to earn similar remuneration with a college graduate, whereas being one of the top workers. In “College Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be”, Charles Murray alleges, “The income for the top people in a wide variety of occupations that do not require a college degree is higher than the average income for many occupations that require a B.A” (Murray 247). Indubitably, graduating from a 4-year college would be my best choice considering my filed in which the employers are looking to hire new graduates and require obtaining the least a bachelor’s degree. A vocational school would only limit my options in terms of advancing in my career.

Third, the learning environment contrasts the universities and vocational schools the most. On the one hand, the 4-year college requires students to take courses that have nothing to do with their major to achieve a general education. The university focuses more on teaching the concepts and less on their application to real-life situations. Also, the college environment does often not fulfill people’s preference for a closer interaction and connection with the instructor and the classmates because of the bigger sized classes. According to “Trade Schools, Colleges and Universities”, “Those lecture halls are a reality at many traditional colleges and universities, and it is unlikely that your instructor is going to know you by name. Vocational schools, on the other hand, often pride themselves on their small class sizes. A classroom with more than 30 students would be uncommon. This is great if you would like to get to know your instructor and receive personal attention” (2). On the other hand, the scope of a vocational school comprises a job-specific educational approach, where the students focus on applying concepts rather than learning the mechanisms behind them. Moreover, the attendees concentrate on building their careers right from the beginning in absence of general education requirement. Additionally, the class sizes accommodate the closer instructor-student interaction. Although I would like a more practical learning environment, a trade school would not complete the set of skills that I need to learn to succeed in my career.

At last, there might be multiple ways of reaching a target, but there is only one record-breaking option. No matter what you choose to do during your lifetime, remember that there are often many paths to take, and it is in our hands to identify, analyze and select what is best primarily for us, then for our family, and society overall. Although Artificial Intelligence may seem of concern to only a small group of people, it should concern anyone who cares about the revival of humankind, perpetual improvement, and graceful innovation.

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