The High Education System is Failing Students in the United States Today - Essay Sample

Published: 2024-01-03
The High Education System is Failing Students in the United States Today - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Education United States Students
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1075 words
9 min read

According to Tom Nichols, in higher education learning institutions, students should learn that everyone is not as wise as everyone else. They should understand that wisdom varies from person to person. Most higher education students believe that they are just as intelligent as everyone else, which is not valid. Higher education in America consists of post-high school institutions, which are colleges and Universities (‘Chapter’, 20). These institutions are currently flocked in by students compared to the olden days, where only a few could get the chance to be admitted. According to Tom Nichols, higher education is not as it used to be. Therefore, the higher education system is failing students in the United States today.

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First, higher education systems are treating students as clients. The institutions are more concerned with the fees that the students pay and not the knowledge they acquire. Higher education learning institutions are supposed to be strict, thus providing an uncomfortable experience to the students. The students are expected to be always yearning for knowledge by researching their respective specialization areas. The current system has provided a relaxing environment for the students as they have all the freedom to do whatever pleases them. This is so because the students are viewed as clients hence the consumer is always right, and also for attracting more clients, there has to be leniency in the system. Students are half-baked as they are equipped with less knowledge that is not suitable for the job market (Nichols, 100). Also, students view the modern-day higher education system as a place where they pass the time as they wait to enter the job market and not as a place to acquire more knowledge and skills.

In addition, every student has to go to a higher education facility after high school, as it is like a passage. Students thus go to colleges not because they are eager to learn but because they know they must go through it. The number of graduates nowadays is even uncountable compared to the olden days when just a few will have joined colleges and universities. Due to the large numbers, the lecturers do not give much attention to the students hence they do not care whether every student is on par with their studies.

Thirdly, most colleges and universities are driven by the motive of making money and not teaching students. Due to this, many colleges are rebranding themselves into universities to attract more cash streams and make the students feel that indeed they are paying more money because of the quality of the knowledge they are receiving. The colleges offer various degree courses to the students, yet they do not have the right resources and personnel. The institutions make their money while the students go home with degrees, whereas the knowledge they have acquired does not match the awarded degrees. This situation also poses the problem of sorting the degrees from legit universities and those from the rebranded colleges. In the job market, recruiters face a significant challenge as they have to train the graduates for the job, yet this has to be done in higher education institutions. The colleges also rebrand to compete with their counterparts. Although the colleges do not have the resources and the personnel of their peers, they start offering the same courses to get more funding and be as privileged as their counterparts.

Moreover, the universities fear failing the students even though their classwork is deteriorating. In order to make the students' bodies happy, the students are just graded leniently. This gives the students a false impression of their academic work, and they even relax more as they think that they are just doing fine with their academics (Barber, 10). The current higher education systems have empowered the students more than they should. This makes the students feel like they are more privileged to be in school, and instead of focusing on their studies, they divert their attention to other things.

Fifthly, in the current higher education system, there are more non-academic programs in the school curriculum, which diverts the students' attention. For instance, each summer, there are school parties held, and in these parties, the students engage in all manners of misbehavior. A university should be a place where adolescence is inflicted on the students by being subjected to tough and strict rules. Currently, this is not the case as the universities are the ones encouraging adolescent behaviors by holding student parties and functions which are unnecessary. These parties and functions do not add any value to the student's knowledge but instead, they spoil the students as others start habits such as smoking and drinking in these parties.

Another point is that universities are failing students by allowing them to rate their lecturers. Mostly at the end of the semester, the students are asked to rate their lecturers' performance based on their content delivery. This should not be the case because lecturers are not peers with students thus, there is no way a mere student can start rating his professor (‘Introduction’ 12). The students took this chance to low-rate the strict lecturers as obviously, they were not comfortable with the strictness. On the other hand, lenient lecturers are highly rated. Some lecturers ease their strict rules that keep the students on track, and they adopt lenient terms.

Finally, the current universities and colleges are surrendering their intellectual authority to activists who are criticizing the institution’s operations. Most American universities have been converted into political correctness avenues by activists. Due to this, the academic freedom of these institutions is affected hence there is no maximum knowledge delivery to the students.


In conclusion, it is evident that the higher education system is failing students in the United States today. The reasons for the failure include the institutions' money-oriented motive, surrendering intellectual authority to activists, treating students as clients, rebranding colleges into universities without proper planning, and finally making it a rule that all students must go through University.

Works Cited

“Chapter One. The American System of Higher Education.” Higher Education in America, 2015, pp. 9–27., doi:10.1515/9781400866120-005.

“Introduction: Can Poor Students Be Privileged?” The Privileged Poor, 2019, pp. 1–24., doi:10.4159/9780674239647-002.

Barber, James P. “Integration of Learning Model: How College Students Integrate Learning.” New Directions for Higher Education, vol. 2014, no. 165, 2014, pp. 7–17., doi:10.1002/he.20079.

Nichols T. The death of expertise. The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and why it Matters, 2017, pp. 70-105

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