Why do a University degree

The Thought
The idea of attending college or university after high school can be really hard to assess since more advanced coursework, adjusting with a wider fellowship and finding a way to pay for an expensive college education can be intimidating. However,  the benefits of attending college today far outweigh the initial stresses.

College or university life provides an insight into the unknown for those who are interested in discovering them.

As quoted by George Boas, the late Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University, “Higher education paves the way into learning what we didn’t know that we didn’t know.”

Higher Order of Thinking
Dr. Stuart Firestein, the chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, said: “Science is accessible to everyone because at its core, its all about ignorance and failure, and perhaps an occasional lucky accident”

Higher education skills help individuals find a lucrative career while teaching them how to deal with a variety of other real-life situations. The ability to solve problems and the ability to communicate with other people are even more important in handling personal relationships. Higher education is more than just a stepping-stone to a career. It’s about learning how to develop a better person.

Better opportunities
Founding Dean of Howard University School of Social Work , Professor Inabel Lindsay said, “One must always be alert to the strengthening and improving facilities to develop human potential”.

As technology advances, higher-paying jobs that were once available to high school graduates now require some form of higher education. Earning a college degree opens up many more avenues than high school diplomas. Whereas factories and manufacturing jobs were once at the center of our job market, the trend is shifting to jobs in other sectors that require more specific skill sets. With so many people competing for jobs in today’s job market, employers are likely to look at candidates with more training and education.

Higher Wages
The recent changes in the professional job market has created a void for individuals with higher skill sets  attained by a college education. College graduates routinely earn more than their peers with a diploma.

Late American Celebrity and Motivational Speaker, Earl Nightingale lamented, “Success is not a result of making money – making money is a result of success- and success is directly proportional to the services we provide”

Personal Growth
Late Dr. Irving Fisher, Professor of Political Economy from Yale University was famously quoted, “Any concept is as interesting and well formed as it can be , but to earn higher than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible”

Bolstering one’s thought about going to college after high school teaches you invaluable lessons outside of the classroom as well. Exposure to new colleagues, cultures and social situations provides you with the opportunity to expand your social circle and experience new things. All of these experiences allow you to grow and evolve as a person as you move from young adulthood into adulthood.

Access to Top Minds
Generally, colleges provide access to top-notch professors and experts who are constantly teaching classes, giving lectures and offering help to students in their chosen field. This type of interaction extends well beyond classroom learning and gives you opportunities that aren’t available to most high school graduates.

“I firmly believe that cultivating dynamic interactions between students is as important as one-on-one contact with faculty, and taking students into a field is a great way to achieve this”, quips Dr. Ann Pearson, Professor of Environmental Sciences; from Harvard University.”


by Jacky Xu & Kin Ng

Jacky Xu is the Co-Founder of Leadership and Management Institute. Jacky had grown up in the Singapore and received an undergraduate degree from Nanyang Technological University and a Master’s degree in the Management from Harvard. He is currently pursing his Doctorate in Eduction with University of Liverpool and is expected to graduate in AY 2018/19.

Kin Ng is the President and Founder of Radiant Owl Consultancy & Services Pte Ltd. He specialises in coaching and helping others communicate and present their way to success. He graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Economics. Besides pursuing his Masters at Harvard University, he spends his time reading, coaching and provoking critical thinking in others.



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10 Responses to “Why do a University degree”

  • Why so stupiak?:

    The question is why do a degree in Singapore? Overseas universities have a wider range of courses, greater flexibility in choosing subjects etc.

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  • Migrated:

    Do a degree for skilled migration to Australia provided that your job is relevant to your degree and your occupation is in the skilled occupation list.

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  • Ah Peng Kia:

    A few points I disagree with in this article:

    1. Thta higher education develops a better person. In the olden days, people were not highly educated, but there was much compassion, good neigbourliness and community spirit. Today, look at our heartless schloars, doyou think they are better people than our forefathers who did not have higher education?

    2. That higher education helps one get lucrative jobs. Look at the number of graduates who do not have jobs or are underemployed. The COW even said Singaporeans should not pursue a degree after all because there aren’t enough jobs for degree holders.

    3. ThathHigher education paves the way into learning what we didn’t know that we didn’t know. Experience also teach us things we didn’t know that we didn’t know. Did you learn deeply satisfying sex from school or experience (whether through magazines, friends, TV, media etc).

    4. Watch this TED talk, and you may just view success with different eyes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21j_OCNLuYg

    Don’t let others tell you how to define your life or your success. Have an easy, fun and fulfilling life, everyone!

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  • Just Because Of $8 Man:

    Dafts now need to be educated on the benefits of University education.

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  • Just Because Of $8 ConMan:

    Silly dafts need to be re-educated on the benefits of University education.

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  • LIONS:

    fRANKLY,there is nothing wrong with getting a DEGREE provided it is NOT A ‘FAKE’ DEGREE like those PAP FTs show to steal our jobs here.

    with the effort your kids put in at local varsities n the money you spent-beg,steal or borrowed-your kids can go to India or peenoiseland for a nice holiday n come back with a MASTER IN BUSINESS ADMIN OR IT??WHY BOTHER TO SLOG N STILL CANNOT GET A DECENT JOB HERE?

    BETTER STILL,get married to a FAKE DEGREE HOLDER FT n both of you are insured of some income as if your LOCAL KID caanot get a job,your FT-KID-IN-LAW can with his/her fake degrees???

    this PAP GOVT has gone bonkers.
    calling them as idiots is still too kind.

    they are MORONS!

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  • kids:

    so which of these are your syntheses?
    both of you are so full of yourselves…grow up and wake up
    education involves being involved in constant learning, doing and thinking
    college is just an avenue to formalize the an aspect of competence
    however, i disagree with the PAP and MOE for discouraging Singaporeans to pursue university education
    they are hypocrites
    70% and their future are daft enough to be happy subjects of social engineering – no pity for them
    seen it been there and done that. bsch1 phd prof.retired

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  • Anon:

    GEORGE BOAS is indeed right to say that: “Higher education paves the way into learning what we didn’t know that we didn’t know.” and it is indeed correct to say that going to university is about “learning how to develop (into) a better person”

    But these ideas and ideals have been systematically eroded by the gradual instrumentalization of University Education: away from the search for understanding REGARDLESS of the utility of such understanding AND the refinement and preparation of the individual for a good and productive life, to a UTILITARIAN emphasis on better (Job)Opportunities and better Wages. As a consequences, Universities have become no different from Professional Training Institutions. Many have lost their raison d’etre. That is why they often produce “unrefined” graduates who are not genuine thinkers sensitive to the dilemmas and predicaments of modern society.

    To return to the original idea of University Education, it is necessary to go back to the ideals forged and refined over 800 years in Britain and Europe in the ancient universities and even before them to the academies in ancient Greece.

    Here is a flavour of the kind of thinking about university education in a bygone era.

    Wilheim Von Humbolt: concept of Allgemeine Bildung—or well-rounded education—was not a utilitarian enterprise to prepare students for earning a living; rather, it was a lifelong process, distinct from vocational or professional training. Through Bildung, each person learns to seek to realize his/her potentialities.

    John Henry Newman: ‘…a University training…aims at raising the intellectual tone of society…at purifying the national taste…at giving enlargement and sobriety to the ideas of the age’ (The Idea of a University.

    Alfred North Whitehead: ‘The learned and imaginative life is a way of living, and is not an article of commerce’

    ‘The proper function of a university is the imaginative acquisition of knowledge’

    ‘What education has to impart is an intimate sense for the power of ideas…and an aesthetic sense…for the direct attainment of a foreseen end, simply and without waste’

    Preoccupation with the overly-instrumentalized idea of ‘Getting a University Degree to get a better job’ and encouraging this view is the first step in a downward spiral towards an uncreative populace nd eventual oblivion.

    Paradoxically Sustainable Success in any Endeavour often comes on the REBOUND. It is best achieved not through any form of external incentivization but through the singular and relentless pursuit of understanding for its own sake.

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  • People are people:

    Higher education does not necessary make students better characters. In fact, they become more competitive and guarded. At school, the people in the A class or better streams are often very nasty characters. Our system pits people against one another and we learn to regard people as foes rather than friends. That’s why a certain CEO still hangs out with his primary school friends but do not keep in touch with his uni classmates.

    This quest for higher qualifications also fits in with our desire for more material wealth. And it breeds snobbery and elitism. Why do employers find it hard to fill low level positions? Apply for an executive post and you go through rounds of interviews. Apply for retail assistants/clerks and you start immediately.

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  • SOF:

    Article written by a bunch of privileged natural aristocrats who have the money and connections to go to Harvard never be affected by the realities of the Singapore workplace.

    The Educational Racket – A Rant:

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