PROF JENKINS: Go to college, anyway

Look, I still cling to the old-fashioned notion that a college education is valuable for its own sake.

American higher education seems to be failing these days by almost every metric. We’ve got an enrollment crisis, a student debt crisis, a plagiarism crisis, rampant grade inflation, and the erosion of public trust.

You should probably go to college, anyway.

When I say “you,” I’m speaking primarily to Campus Reform readers—mostly, current or prospective college students who are well above average in terms of intelligence, preparation, and motivation. I’m not saying everyone should go to college, or that there aren’t other ways to lead a productive, useful life while making a good living.

[RELATED: High schoolers are losing confidence in the benefits of a college degree: study]

I’m just saying that, for you, dear readers, a four-year college degree (and maybe some graduate or professional-level training beyond that) is probably still the best option, despite the well-publicized (on this site, at least) issues with our higher education system. 

You might have wondered if that’s still true. Maybe you’ve looked at the insanity plaguing our campuses—pro-terrorist protests, cheating scandals, drag-queen performances, men invading women’s sports, blatantly racist DEI apparatchiks, proliferating “trans-identification”—and thought to yourself, “What am I doing?”

You’re not alone in questioning the value of a college degree in today’s climate. As Campus Reform reported recently, a new study from the Gates Foundation found that high school students and young adults are rapidly losing confidence in higher education.

Employers, too, seem dubious. Just in the past few months, many have dropped their degree requirements for new hires, while others plan to do so in the near future. 

There’s no question, as I wrote a few months ago, that colleges have brought this devastation upon themselves. And yet….

Look, I still cling to the old-fashioned notion that a college education is valuable for its own sake. That it teaches people how to learn, expands their horizons, provides useful life skills, and instills in them an appreciation for history, science, and the arts.

But even if I’m wrong about that, you simply can’t pursue certain careers without a degree. If you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, or an engineer, there’s no getting around the fact that you have to go to college.

The challenge is to come out unscathed—which is to say, not as some woke zombie with a worthless degree, a six-figure student debt, and a head full of absurd notions, like “men can breastfeed,” “Israel is committing genocide” and “white people are evil.”

The answer is, first of all, to choose a major that leads to a decent job. Any of the aforementioned would work, as would something in the medical field or the hard sciences. As an English professor, it pains me to say this, but you should avoid the humanities, the social sciences, and education like Don Lemon shunning the “unvaccinated.”

Second, borrow as little money as possible. Research available scholarships and apply for every one you might remotely qualify for. Keep your grades up so you do. Get a full-time job over the summer to save money for the school year. Work part-time while in school. Live as cheaply as you can. Don’t spend a lot of money going out or buying things you don’t need.

Developing such habits of hard work and frugality, besides allowing you to borrow less, will also serve you well once you graduate.

[RELATED: Polls reveal Americans are not confident in higher ed, but still think a degree is important]

If your current school or “dream school” is just too expensive, you might need to transfer or lower your sights. You should consider starting at a local community college then transferring to an in-state regional university—where, if you do well, you might be able to get your graduate school paid for, even at a marquee program.

Finally, be clear-eyed about what you’re getting into. Yes, most of your professors will be woke. So will your counselors, your fellow students, and the cafeteria ladies. That doesn’t mean YOU have to become woke. You know what’s true. Do what you must to pass your classes and get that degree, but otherwise stand your ground. (One good way to do that is by joining Campus Reform as a student correspondent.)

 By following these simple steps, you can earn a degree (or degrees) that will enable you to work in your chosen field without destroying your life.