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 give their children the best education possible so they would invest in a liberal arts education.
With the current economic troubles that the country is facing, people are beginning to only pay for courses that pertain to their future career. “Misconception No.1: A liberal arts education is a luxury that most families can no longer afford. ‘Career-education’ is what we must now focus on.” (Ungar, 2010, pp.191) As Ungar has claimed, there is a recent misconception that a liberal arts education is no longer a necessity but luxury because it doesn’t provide an instant career launching education. With so many people having to a need to spend as little money as possible, they are determined to only spend money on preparation for their future career. For this reason they go to college only to take courses that are necessary for their future. “She is in college to take vocational training. She wants to write computer code. Start a business. Get a job in television. She uses college to take vocational courses that pertain to her career interest.” (Murray, 2008, pp.228) Murray explained the story of a girl who is in college solely for preparation for her career. Because of this, she isn’t interested in a liberal arts education. If...