Is College More Than Job Preparation?

Michael Kaplan
While listening to a morning talk show on ESPN, the hosts were discussing how basketball phenom James Wiseman was leaving the University of Memphis following swirling controversy over potential support in violation of the NCAA to join the NBA G-League to prepare for a lucrative professional career.

The pundits were commenting on how the young star did not need college or a degree to make millions at the next level and that spending even a semester at Memphis was a waste of time. Now the opportunity to make millions as a professional athlete probably occurs to minute portion of our population, but one of the primary purposes of a post-secondary education is preparing young men and women for gainful employment and hopefully a fulfilling career. That’s what a lot of parents are hoping for as they make plans to redecorate Johnny and Suzy’s bedrooms while also navigating the soaring costs of tuition and fees. While this isn’t the time to discuss the value of a college education in return on one’s investment, there are many benefits that are difficult to measure in a four-year residential collegiate experience.

1 | Self-Sufficiency
For many it’s a time to learn many important lessons of being on one’s own, self-sufficiency and personal responsibility.

2 | Growth in Diversity
It provides an opportunity to connect, learn and grow with others from different backgrounds (sometimes good and sometimes not depending on first year roommates).

3 | Professional Network
It can provide a ready, built-in network of people who will hopefully open doors before and after a degree is earned. There are multiple benefits of a strong alumni program and a career management center. And in some cases, some co-eds find their partners for life at college. That possibility is tough to put a price tag on!

Michael Kaplan is the director of college counseling at Norfolk Collegiate, where he guides students and their families through the college process. Mr. Kaplan may be reached at

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