上大学让你更牛还是更差劲?

王军力 转载自 译言网 | 2011-02-01 12:37 | 收藏 | 投票

 上大学让你更厉害还是更差劲?

 

With top-tier colleges charging as much as $50,000 per year, the idea that students may spend their first two years learning next-to-nothing is enough to make parents pause. How can you make that investment worthwhile? And does going to college really make you smarter?

随着一类大学的收费高达每年$50,000,学生在入学的前两年几乎什么也学不到这个观点,就足以令父母踌躇不前。怎么才能让该投资有所值?上大学真的能让更牛吗?

It depends on what you study—and whether you study enough.

这取决于你学的什么、学的是否够好。

A "Room for Debate" discussion at the New York Times earlier this week tackled the issue, with several academics weighing in on whether college is worthwhile, and whether schools are dumbing down their curricula to appeal to more people. In their new book, "Academically Adrift," sociologists Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia found that 32 percent of the students they followed did not take "any courses with more than 40 pages of reading per week" in a typical semester, and half of the students didn't take any course in which they had to write more than 20 pages for the class." Using these criteria, they determined that 45 percent of college students make little academic progress during the first two years of a four-year degree.

在本周早些时候,纽约时报“辩论空间”有一番针对这个问题讨论,有几所学院参与了上大学值不值得、以及大学是否正将课程简单化以利于吸收更多学生的讨论。社会学家、纽约大学的理查德.爱瑞母和维吉利亚大学的约瑟伯.拉可森,在合著的新书《学术飘泊》里,他们发现所跟踪调查的32%的大学生,在一个典型学期内,没有参加“任何一门每周阅读任务超过40页的课程”,一半学生没有参加一门在课堂上必须书写超过20页纸的课程。基于这个评估标准,他们断定45%的大学生在四年制学位的前两年几乎没有在学业上取得进步。

Their research raises a few red flags. On the one hand: Is it any surprise that a public school system forced to "teach to the test" churns out students who are averse (or flat-out unable) to thinking analytically, learn on their own, or write a research paper? On the other: Does the number of pages read + the number of pages written = an accurate assessment of academic progress? A literature or history major, for instance, would have far more reading to do than a math major, but the math workload isn't lighter lifting just because it involves reading fewer pages per week.

该研究给出了一些危险信号。一方面:被迫“应试教育”的公立学校制造出不愿意(或者干脆不会)分析思维、自学、写研究报告的学生有什么可奇怪的吗?另一方面:阅读的页数+书写的页数=学业进步程度的准确评估吗?举例来说,文学或历史专业的学生,就会比数学专业生要做的阅读多出许多,但是数学专业工作量不会仅仅因为其每周阅读的页数较少而成为较轻松的活。

And yet, the case for students learning less is a compelling one: A March 2010 report by two University of California researchers found that the amount of time students spend studying has dropped drastically over the past 40 years, from 40 hours a week in 1961 to 27 hours a week in 2003. One possible reason? Colleges are spending less of their budgets on instruction and more of it on recreation and student services, according to a July 2010 report by the Delta Cost Project. Most colleges are businesses after all, and the pressure to attract new students (and more money) is intense.

然而,学生获取的知识变少了确实是个引人关注的问题:两名加州学者20103月的一份报告发现,在过去40年,学生花在学习上的时间显著下降了,从1961年的每周40小时到2003年的每周27小时。一个可能的原因?根据三角洲经费计划20107月的一份报告,各大学花费在教育上的财政预算越来越少,在娱乐和公用设施方面的预算开支越来越多。毕竟,大部分大学还是商业机构,吸收新生(以及更多钱)的压力很大。

So, if colleges are focusing on building spa-like rec centers and luxury dorms instead of improving their academics, is a college education even worth the money anymore? Many academics and experts still think it is.

所以,如果大学将重点放到建造SPA式的娱乐中心以及豪华宿舍而不是提升学术方面,大学教育还值不值那个钱?许多学者和专家还在考虑这个问题。

"Yes, college is worth the money—if you choose ?your classes wisely, take advantage of campus activities that teach you? hands-on, transferable skills, and attend a school that gives you the? strength and courage to focus on what you enjoy doing," says Steven Roy Goodman, an educational consultant and admissions strategist at Topcolleges.com.

“如果你明智地选择课程,利用那些传授实战性、可转换性技能的校园活动,上一所能给你专注于自己喜欢的事情的力量和勇气的大学,那么上大学是值得的”,Topcolleges.com的教育顾问和入学(录取招收新生)策略师斯蒂芬.罗伊.古德曼说。

"Going to college brings other important benefits, such as more developed analytical, numerical and communication skills, that will help you perform in the workplace and progress up the career ladder," agrees Danny Byrne, an undergraduate specialist and content manager for TopUniversities.com "College will introduce you to intelligent people from a huge range of backgrounds, and as your career progresses the value of this network of contacts may prove to be immeasurable."

“上大学也带来其他重大好处,如,更加成熟的分析、数字和交流技能,这有助你在工作场所的表现,职场阶梯上的爬升”,TopUniversities.com的大学生专家和内容经理丹尼.拜恩同意说,“大学会将你介绍给来自形形色色背景的有学识的人群,随着事业进步,这个熟人网的价值可能无法估量。

Those types of things are difficult to assess in a survey or on a test, though. Which may be why so many educators and students take issue with the idea that college freshmen and sophomores are slacking off instead of studying.

可是,通过某项调查或测试很难对这方面作出评估。这就是为什么这很多学者和学生不同意大学新生和大二学生比较懒散而不好好学习这种想法。

"Even if a student enters college with no career goals, college is the best place to discover those goals," points out Robert Neuman, former Associate Dean for Academic Development in the College of Arts and Sciences at Milwaukee's Marquette University and the author of "Are You Really Ready for College: A College Dean’s 12 Secrets for Success." "The more education anyone has, the more advantages he or she will have in the job market."

“即使学生进入大学时没有职业目标,大学也是发现这些目标最好的场所”,密尔沃基的马凯特大学的科学和艺术院系的前(学术发展)副院长,《你真的作好上大学的准备了吗:一个大学院长的12个成功秘诀》一书的作者罗伯特.纽曼指出, “一个人受的教育越多,在职场上优势就越多”。

Some point out that the skills you gain matter more than the degree you earn.

一些人指出,获得的技能,比获得的学位更重要。

"For me, college is about a life experience," says Jim Joseph, president of independent marketing firm Lippe Taylor. "Is it vital to getting ahead? Not sure anymore. With entrepreneurialism at an new high, you just need a good idea and some determination to make a name for yourself. Or if you have a specific skill set, there are many ways to build and exploit that."

“对我来说,大学关乎人生经历”,自营市场销售公司Lippe Taylor的董事长吉姆.约瑟夫说,“领先是至关重要吗?不一定了。随着企业主义步入新的高度,你需要的只是一个好点子和想要一举成名的决心。或者,如果你有某种特殊技能,就有许多发展利用它的方式。

University of Florida graduate Candy Keane now runs a business (Three Muses, a clothing store) that has nothing to do with her degree (in magazine journalism). But still, "I could not have done all that I have without what I learned from college," she says. "I learned graphic design, layout, photography, Photoshop, PR, writing, web design—all the things that I was able to use and build on to start my business myself."

佛罗里达大学毕业生肯迪.科因现在做着跟自己学业(杂志新闻专业)没有关系的生意(Three Muses,一家服装店)。但是,“如果没有大学学到的知识,我不可能做到目前所成就的这一切”,她说,“我学了平面设计、制版、摄影、Photoshop、公关、写作,网页设计,这都是我能运用于自主创业的知识。

So what courses should a college-bound kid take in order to make the most of his or her (or your) time and money? The experts and students we talked to suggested that all students take these types of classes, regardless of their majors or grad-school plans:

准备要上大学的年轻人应该选择什么样的课程,才能最大程度地利用时间和金钱呢?我们的访谈过的专家和学生建议,不管自己专业或者毕业学校课程计划怎样,可以选修以下种类课程。

Public speaking or acting

·演讲和表演

Sales

·销售

Marketing

·市场销售

Public relations

·公共关系

Entrepreneurship

·企业活动

Computer programming, especially HTML

·计算机编程,尤其是HTML

Introduction to psychology

·心理学导论

Introduction to economics

·经济学导论

Communication/Writing

·通讯/写作

Internships that offer hands-on experience in a field

·提供某一领域实战经验的实习

"Yes, college is certainly worth the money!" says David Reynaldo, co-founder of College Zoom. "Had I not gone to college, I never would have found the network, inspiration, or know how to make my dream come true."

 

“没错,上大学当然是值得的”,College Zoom网的创办人之一,大卫.莱奥尔多说,“如果我没有上过大学,我绝不会创办这个网络,(也不会有)让我梦想成真的灵感或技能。”

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