Do colleges grow kids into adults?

My own experience with college was somewhat unfocused. I had almost no guidance whatsoever in preparing for, choosing, and stumbling my way through college. I picked the school I went to myself, I picked my majors, I figured out on my own how to study, and did only a fair job of completing my degrees. And I paid for almost all of it myself. The one thing that kept me even slightly focused was my belief that an education should not be primarily vocational. I knew that I wanted and needed a liberal education. Still I was rather unfocused and a poor student. As I look back on that time I know that the university I attended could have done a better job at preparing me for adulthood (and high school for college). Truth is, that university (which is also where the movie was filmed from which the picture above was taken) is terrible at creating adults, and probably has been for many decades, though I did have a handful of great professors. But is creating adults the job of colleges anyway?

In the following audio clip, Harry R. Lewis, author of Excellence Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education, was interviewed by Ken Meyers of Mars Hill Audio on how colleges and universities can help students grow into adulthood:

It seems to me that Lewis places the emphasis on being able to think for oneself as the end goal of a college education. On one hand I agree. On the other hand I think the better goal is virtue. Of course, the two go together. To think for oneself without virtue is what we already get from modern education, though it is debatable just how good that thinking is regardless of the lack of virtue. One thing seems clear, college today more often is about pursuing the postponement rather than the embracing of adulthood.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s