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Ultimately, what is the purpose of a university education?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25568 points ) December 18th, 2013

I have a daughter who is a senior in high school. She’s applying to a number of universities and has already been accepted to three. She has not been accepted to her top-tier choices. Those are more prestigious schools with more rigorous admissions standards.

I want to help her make a decision about which university to attend, and I want her to understand what it’s for.

I’ve come to understand that a university education is about maturing, learning a lot about how the world came to work the way it does, gaining knowledge in a field of expertise, and finally getting a job.

Personally, I have two degrees. I have a BA in history and a MA in liberal arts. I am a strong believer in high quality education that gives each individual a firm foundation of general knowledge as well as specialized instruction. I am also wary of the exorbitant cost of private universities in the US now. Some students are leaving their undergraduate schools with $300K in financial aid debt. It’s outrageous.

I want to sit with my daughter and tell her what a university education does. What should I tell her? and what questions will she likely ask? She’s very bright.

All participation is welcome. I would like to hear from those with university degrees, those without, those currently enrolled, and those as yet too young.

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