Many college students often lament that they just need to accumulate sufficient college credits so they could earn a degree and simply move on. This ‘just-get-by’ attitude is very discouraging and disappointing, especially to educators who want to give students useful education rather than a degree.
You should be wondering by now, is there a difference between getting education and getting a degree? To begin with, college degree is just a representation. It is a certification attesting that an individual has actually studied in a variety of useful fields. It also indicates that the individual has achieved a target level of subject mastery.
In contrast, education is everything that any degree is representing and should be regarded as the more important of the two. It is education that helps individuals get on with real-life challenges in the workplace. It is education that will make anyone rise above the rest.
Traditionally, students are told that earning a college degree is the real key to success. When success is tackled, it could mean financial and personal.
There are already many studies that show how individuals with college education are able to succeed in the workplace. They’re usually the ones earning substantially higher salaries throughout their lifetime compared to those who are without degrees.
Information like these would make most parents infer that it’s the college degree that creates the difference. You can’t blame students for believing that to be able to achieve success, college degrees are essential.
But to truly make a difference, parents must realize that it is a college education that truly makes the difference, not the degree. Is there a difference between the two? There is.
It is possible that an individual attains a college degree without real education. It is also possible that an individual gets a real education without earning a degree. Sounds confusing, right? Look at it this way.
Many college students just aim to pass their subjects and get on to earning their sought-after degree. They don’t pay much attention to learning and much of the lessons they take in class are not retained.
However, they can still pass exams and earn good grades at projects. In the end, they often manage to graduate from college without much seriousness or understanding of their subject.
On the other hand, a student may take college courses where they’re adapting and applying the lessons learned to daily life situations. They could have learned lessons by rote, so retention is not a problem. However, due to circumstances, they may not be able to finish college and earn a degree (often due to financial constraints).
Which of these students is better educated, you might ask? Or which is better, attaining a degree or attaining education? Initially, you’d say, both. But a closer and deeper take on the issue would lead you to a single answer: it is education.
According to award-winning educationist, John Taylor Gatto, ‘education’ is not a commodity to be purchased but an enlargement of insight, power, understanding and self-control almost completely outside the cash economy and is almost overwhelmingly an internally generated effort.