Monday, June 20, 2011

United States vs. Europe: Higher Education

By Sean Scarpiello

The American education system is constantly getting a bad reputation when it is compared to the rest of the world’s education system. Although there are some flaws in parts of America’s education system, the United States definitely has the best higher education system, especially when compared to the systems in many European countries. In Europe, schooling is very cheap or even free, yet college professors teach large numbers of students and remain relatively detached from their classes. Classes are typically held in buildings scattered all around cities and there is no real campus where students coagulate like in American Universities. How exactly does America have the upper hand when it comes to higher education?

First and foremost, the United States is home to most of the world’s best universities. These universities graduate the best leaders, business people, lawyers, doctors, and more. Also, a large percentage of Nobel Prize winners work at these universities. So overall, the United States has universities with solid professors and a quality education. Even though America has strong professors, the way the system is set up also gives the United States an edge when it comes to higher education.

European universities do not typically have main campuses. Along with this lack of a common area for students, European universities have fewer clubs, sports teams, and other social gatherings. Plus, professors at European universities do not really interact with their students. They usually give there lecture and hand out exams. There is no guidance or help given to students by professors in Europe. Even in some of the largest American Universities, there is still some sort of interaction whether it be a question and answer session or office hours. The point is that education is more than memorizing facts and grasping concepts. Education is a growing process that must be built from sources other than a lecture. Clubs and social interaction among students helps to build education. Students can learn just as much from each other than from a professor and this decreased amount of social interaction in Europe. Even the lack of feedback from professors in Europe is a problem. Students will know what they get wrong, but nobody tells them how to fix their mistakes.

One last way European universities fall short in higher education is how they are cheap or free. At first, little to no cost education sounds great; however, there are some flaws hidden within this system. Many students finish up their education and prepare to enter the workforce and discover that it was great being a student. This leads to many students staying in school because it is easy being a student and it allows people to put off working in the real world. This causes many problems with the government, employment, and the education system itself. In the United States, large college tuitions limit the amount of time students stay in college and give them reasons to hurry up and graduate. Once students do graduate, they can begin to pay off college loans by entering the workforce. For some students, the pricy tuitions motivate them to graduate in less time than previously thought.

Although America is weak in some areas of its education system, it is easy to see that higher education is unparalleled. Even though the education is not free or very efficient, in the long run it proves to be the best. People from all around the world get college educations in America because it is more than just an education. Higher education in America is an experience worth having.


maddy said...

It's known that the level of education in Europe is generally higher, the problem is that after the studies in USA there are better chanches to do research and practice..

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